Father Abraham - As Seen On Sunday
When I think about Father’s day at church, I typically think about cheap screwdrivers and a sermon about how to be a good man.
And since I do not have a wife or kids, I decided to take a look at a specific father figure within the Bible, “Father Abraham. You know the one with the song:
“Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord”
So lets look at the father of a nation.
We start in Genesis 12:1-4
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him.
And so during their journey they go to Egypt because of a famine (of course everyone always ends up going to Egypt when they need food) but he is afraid that he would be killed over how beautiful his wife was so he had her lie about being his sister. But since Pharaoh took his wife thinking she was his sister, God put plagues on them, so Pharaoh sent them away.
They ended up so rich and prosperous that Lot and Abraham decided to spread out peaceably since it was starting to cause trouble between their servants. I have heard people say that Abraham, by allowing Lot to choose where to settle, was endangering the promise and how God still worked it all out, but I see it as a kindness. He wanted them to work things out and remain as friends (and family) so he allowed Lot to take his choice rather than have something else to fight over. They could have easily went to war over the good land, especially if tensions were already mounting, Abraham defused it. If anything this stays true to character to avoid conflict.
This note is interesting because when Lot was captured, Abraham did go out and retrieve Lot.
And so we fast forward. Abraham has received many promises from God by this point, including that he would have an heir from his own body as opposed to adopting one. Yet, they still have not had a child. So Sarah tells Abraham to have a child with her servant. So, of course, he did it and she got pregnant but Sarah gets mad and wanted to get rid of them. You know since having a kid with someone else typically causes drama.
So 13 years go by. I’m sure everyone assumes that Ishmael is the heir, but God tells Abraham that Sarah will be the one who gives him a child which a nation will come out of.
But Isaac isn't born before Abraham tries to save Sodom and lies about Sarah being his sister yet again.
So now finally at age 100, Abraham gets his promised child, Isaac.
And this brings us to the well-known story where Abraham took Isaac up the mountain in order to offer him as a burnt-offering to God but God provides a ram instead.
There's a little more to Abrahams life like him sending a servant to find Isaac a wife, and that Abraham himself takes another wife after Sarah dies and has 6 more sons (like the song).
But this is our father figure, right?
The three Ls of being a man:
First, lie to protect yourself
Okay, those are a joke.
But really Abraham did many things that would not be “father of the year” character traits. This is why we cannot make humans within the Bible out to be gods. We often preach moralistic sermons about people in the Bible, but Abraham reminds us that they are imperfect like we are. We should not be saying “I follow Abraham, Paul, or John” But “I follow Jesus.” “
We just happen to get to read many people’s faith journeys.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
It comes down to faith.
If this is to be a Father’s day sermon, then my challenge to fathers and to everyone else, is that we be people of faith.
Our God is a living God but most of us do not go when God says go and most of us do not wait as long as Abraham did to receive his promised son. Most of us are like Abraham and Sarah in that we try to force the promise. After that we usually give up entirely, but “[Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
And to end on a good note: Abraham never saw the full promise fulfilled, yet he acted out of faith.