Articles – Abraham

“ABRAHAM: The Friend of God” #1

Three times in the Bible, Abraham is called the friend of God (study 2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23).  What a great comment about the life of any man!  It is good to be recognized as the friend of God, rather than an enemy of the Creator of all.  What did Abraham do that made him God’s friend?  How did Abraham live his life that would place him in good standing before the Lord?  Can we, by closely observing the life of Abraham, become the friends of God?  Can we emerge as great heroes of faith like Abraham?

There were times in Abraham’s life when his friendship with God didn’t come easy.  Repeatedly, God had to remind Abraham about the need for this friendship.  The Lord cared for and manifested concern for Abraham, and finally, Abraham arrived at the point in his life when with absolute assurance he could say; “The Lord will provide.” Can we have that same kind of faith?

Genesis 11:27-32 records the travels of Terah, the father of Abraham, and his family to Haran.  This was a highly advanced civilization, as well as being an idolatrous society.  The people were largely polytheistic.  Terah in the Hebrew language is related to the word “moon” which suggests the possible involvement with idolatry.  Joshua 24:2 hints at the possibility of Terah being an idolater.  Abraham (Abram at this point) prospered in Haran (Genesis 12:5).

After Terah’s death, God told Abraham that it was time to move. Take the time to read Genesis 12:1-3. Mark these passages in your Bible.  They are important, as they contain the initial command and promise to Abraham that would ultimately find fulfillment in God’s Son coming to this earth as man’s Savior.  God made a three-fold promise to Abraham that included {1} a land promise, {2} a nation promise, and {3} a seed promise.  The land promise was fulfilled when the nation of Israel occupied the land of Canaan.  God did exactly what He said He would do regarding the land of promise (Josh. 23:14).  The nation promise is realized as the descendants of Abraham grow into a great nation.  The seed promise looks forward to the coming of Christ (read Galatians 3).  These promises are emphasized several times in the book of Genesis (chapters 15,17, 22).

Hebrews 11:8 tells us: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out not knowing whether he went.” What an adventure!  Can you imagine leaving the familiar surroundings of home, family, friends, security, etc?  Abraham didn’t argue with the Lord and say: “I don’t really want to leave.  I would rather stay here.” Abraham never owned an acre of land in Canaan except the burial place for his wife, Sarah (Genesis 23:4).  It is clear that Abraham’s faith was linked to his obedience.  The faith that justified Abraham and thus justifies all men, is the faith that obeys (read James 2:14ff).

Shortly after Abraham and family left Haran, the patriarch built an alter and led his family in worship to God (Genesis 12:8).  People of faith do that.  People of faith want to worship God.  People of faith want to call upon the name of God.  That’s why they are called God’s friend.  Do you have the faith of Abraham?  Are you the friend of God?     ~     by Randy Harshbarger

” ABRAHAM: The Friend of God ” #2

Because of a famine in the land, Abraham and family sojourned in Eqypt for a period of time (Gen. 12:10).  It was here that Abraham concocted a story (a lie) about Sarah being his sister instead of his wife, for Sarah was a very beautiful woman.  Evidently, this was more for Abraham’s protection than Sarah’s.  Abraham was treated royally because of Sarah, but trouble came to the household of Pharaoh.  Abraham is called the friend of God.  This obviously didn’t mean that he could not tell a lie; it means that he didn’t tell a lie most of the time.  Saving faith doesn’t preclude the possibility of ever sinning in God’s sight, but people of faith are willing to make correction in their lives when they sin.

Abraham and family in tow, left Egypt and traveled to the region of Bethel.  Because the grazing land wasn’t able to support the numerous flocks, a struggle took place between the herdsmen of Abraham, and the herdsmen of Lot, Abraham’s nephew.  Abraham’s magnanimous attitude about the need for land is expressed in the following words: “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren” (Gen. 13:8 ASV).  Is it stretching the point too much to make an application of this statement to brethren today?  If Christians who make up local congregations would only have the same attitude of concern and desire for getting along, what great things could be accomplished for the Lord!  Bickering, feuding, fussing, etc., all defeat the very purpose of Christians being called together as one.  Instead of demanding our rights, we need to put others before ourselves.  Why?  Because we are brethren in Christ and together we are to serve and honor the Lord!  Think of the happiness that would be realized in every home, if a spirit of love and cooperation prevailed!  Abraham the benefactor, was willing for Lot to have the first choice of land.

After Lot left, the Lord told Abrahm to get up and look in every direction (Gen. 13:14-18).  The Lord promised to give Abraham all the land that he could see.  The Lord renewed the nation promise;  the ancestors of Abraham would be as the dust of the earth.  God told Abraham to get up and walk through the land of promise.  Look at it.  Realize the possibilities of being the father of such a great nation.  Abraham moves his tent, pitching it by the oaks of Mamre, in Hebron.  Then he built an alter and worshiped God.

God does the same thing for us today.  The Lord says to each of us:  “Don’t you realize the great potential you have for spiritual growth and maturity?  Don’t you see the need to pray and study and worship?  Lift your eyes, and by faith see the great possibilities of a life of service in the kingdom of God!”  It takes faith to be friend of God.  It takes faith to serve God acceptably.  It takes faith to persevere.  It takes faith to draw closer to God.  Do you have faith?  Are you god’s friend?       ~   Randy Harshbarger

“ABRAHAM: The Friend of God” # 3

Abraham was to be the father of a great nation, but he had no son. Time was passing swiftly by. Abraham was 75 years old (Gen. 12:4), and Sarah was ten years younger, being 65 years of age (Gen. 17: 17). Yet, the Lord tells Abraham not to fear; the Lord would be his shield or protector (Psa. 3:3). Abraham asked the Lord if the promise would be fulfilled through Eliezer of Damascus. Archaeological evidence tells us that if a man had no heir, he could purchase a servant and that man would then carry on the family ancestry. If however, a fleshly son was born later, he would take the place of the purchased servant. Supposition suggests that the servant of Genesis 24:2 is Eliezer; it is difficult to know this for sure. The greater lesson is that God told Abraham that he would have a son, a legal heir, one that would come from ” … thine own bowels shall be thine heir” (Gen. 15:4). What was Abraham’s response to this reaffirmation of the initial promise recorded in Genesis 12: 1-3? ”And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.”

How did Abraham come to be recognized before God as a righteous man? Can men today be righteous and upon what basis? Calvinism teaches that man cannot be righteous before God through his own righteousness. They frequently cite Isaiah 64:6 as proof of their doctrine. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as, a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” The idea is that there is no good thing that comes from man; everything is tainted by sin (Total Hereditary Depravity). Isaiah actually teaches that the Jews had rebelled before God and THEIR righteousness was like an old rag ­NOT ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR ALL TIME!

Abraham believed God and his faith was imputed to him. Abraham’s faith was “put down to his account.” “It” refers to Abraham’s faith. His faith was put down to his account before the covenant of circumcision was enacted as recorded in Genesis chapter 17. The Calvinist says that when God looks at my life the only thing He sees is the perfect life of Christ (“perfect doing and dying of Christ”). God doesn’t see my sin or my efforts to obey. If God only sees the perfect life of Christ and that is put down to my account, then I will always be saved. I can never be lost (Once Saved Always Saved) because God never sees my sin; He always sees Christ. Paul’s argues that the Gentiles have as much right to salvation as the Jews. Since Abraham was justified before circumcision the Gentiles could be as well (Rom. 2:25-29).

Consider too, that Genesis 15 is not the first time Abraham believed in God. He has been believing in God since the beginning of the divine record in Genesis 12. Genesis 15 doesn’t mark a point in Abraham’s justification. It marks a life of justification! “The just shall live by faith!” Do you have the kind of faith that Abraham had? You can have that same kind of faith and be recognized before God as one of His righteous children.  ~  Randy Harshbarger


Abraham was to be the father of a great nation, but he had no son. On more than one occasion, God re-emphasized to Abraham that the promises would be carried out. Abraham believed God and his faith was recognized by Jehovah. A fundamental of faith is that you have confidence in the one who made the promise. Abraham believed that God could do whatever needed doing in order for the promises to be realities.

Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was unable to bear children. This was considered to be a great tragedy by folks in that time, and is still perceived that way by many today. Sarah tried to help this situation by giving her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham. In time Hagar conceived by Abraham and a son was born. His name was Ishmael. Sarah is an interesting person to study about. Like most people, she had good points and some not so good. She admitted her error in giving Hagar to Abraham, but later she laughed in disbelief at the idea that she could bear a son. Later, she denied that she had laughed about the matter (cf. Genesis 18). To her eternal credit, her unbelief turned to belief; she is listed in Hebrews chapter eleven as one of the great heroines of faith.

The child of promise finally arrives just as God had said. His name was Isaac. How proud Abraham and Sarah must have been! In time, the commandment from God came forth: “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2). With no delay, Abraham and Isaac traveled to the appointed destination. We can only wonder about the thoughts that ran through Abraham’s mind. After waiting and wondering for so long, now the Lord says: You must be put to the test! Abraham passed the test!

Twice in scripture it is said of Abraham, that he acted by faith in offering up his son, Isaac (read Heb. 11:17; James 2:21-22). This is just one example among many that helps us understand that we must have an obedient faith. Faith without works is dead! Consider too, that Abraham’s faith was an exact faith i.e., he did exactly what God told him to do. Abraham went to the right place with the right offering. That principle is not any different than God telling Noah to build the ark out of gopher wood. However unreasonable (from an earthly standpoint) God’s command must have seemed to Abraham, there is no indication that he wavered in his obedience.

Paul expresses it like this ill Romans 4: 19-21: “And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform”. No wonder Abraham is called the friend of God! Are you God’s friend? Do you have the faith of Abraham? You can have that same kind of faith if you want to. The question is, do you want to?   ~  Randy Harshbarger