Abraham and Sarah – God’s Seed

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Prayer:  Father, we choose to follow You all the days of our life.  We find great assurance as we’re reminded that we will not be engulfed by the surrounding evil but instead Your light will guide us to eternal blessing.  Help us to walk by faith and not by sight holding onto Your promises as we continue to build a solid foundation through Your Holy Word.  It is in the Name of Jesus that we pray to You today.[1] In Jesus precious and holy name, we pray.  Amen.

Main Scripture: Read Hebrews 11:13 -19

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."  Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

Associated Scriptures:

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him" (Genesis 18:18-19).

Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'  To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Acts 3:24-26).

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:26-29) .

Correlative Quotes:

The strength of his faith was seen in the fact that there was a positive promise of God to himself which would seem to be frustrated by what he was about to do. God had expressly promised to him a numerous posterity, and had said that it was to be through this son. How could this be if he was put to death as a sacrifice? And how could God command such a thing when his promise was thus positive? Yet Abraham did not hesitate. It was not for him to reconcile these things; it was his to obey. He did not doubt that somehow all that God had said would prove to be true; and as he saw but one way in which it could be done - by his being immediately restored to life - he concluded that that was to be the way. So when God utters his will to us, it is ours simply to obey. It is not to inquire in what way his commands or revealed truth can be reconciled with other things. He will himself take care of that. It is ours at once to yield to what he commands, and to believe that somehow all that he has required and said will be consistent with everything else which he has uttered.[2] – Albert Barnes

The ram's substitution represented Christ's vicarious death: it was then that Abraham saw Christ's day and was glad (John 8:56). The scene was Moriah (i.e. chosen by Jehovah); others suppose Moreh, three days' journey from Beersheba. His faith was rewarded by the original promises being now confirmed by Jehovah's oath by Himself (Hebrews 6:13,17); and his believing reply to his son, "God will provide Himself a lamb," received its lasting commemoration in the name of that place, Jehovah Jireh, "the Lord will provide." His giving up his only and well beloved son (by Sarah) typifies the Father's not sparing the Only Begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, in order that He might spare us.[3] – Fausset

Apart from Jesus Christ, Abraham is probably the most important person in the Bible. Abraham is a giant in Scripture — his stature is far greater than that of Moses, David, or Paul. These latter three were great men, and God used them in great ways, even giving portions of the Scriptures to us through them. But each of them would have agreed without qualification that Abraham was his father in faith.  In the early chapters of Genesis, we read of God's promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). This was fulfilled physically and spiritually. On the physical side, Abraham became the father of the Jewish people, through whom the Messiah was born; he became the father of the many Arab tribes through his son Ishmael. On the spiritual side, Abraham has become the father of a great host of believers whose numbers are now swelled by Christians of countless tongues and nations.  No one can understand the Old Testament without understanding Abraham, for in many ways the story of redemption begins with God's call to this patriarch. Abraham was the first man chosen by God for a role in the plan of redemption.[4] – James M. Boice

Study:

Old Testament saints were saved by believing in and accepting the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus which would come at some future time.  The evidence for this belief is overwhelming (Romans 4:2-3; Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6-9).[5]

The faith of Abraham and Sarah was a key issue.  It allowed God to direct them to fulfill His plan and purposes for the future.  In this same way, God can use us today. 

We who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior are aliens.  We are not of this world.  The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV), “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We are not to fall in love with the things of this world or become attached to them.  Our time on earth is limited and we will take nothing with us when we go.  1 John 2:15-17 describes this in detail when it says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

We are not to become attached to the desires of the flesh or to accept the fame that comes with them.  All things belong to God (Psalm 24:1).  All that we do or accomplish here on earth is of God and He deserves all the honor and all the glory (Colossians 3:17).  Like Abraham and Sarah, we are foreigners, citizens of Heaven awaiting the new Heaven and new earth that Jesus is preparing for us (Revelation 21:1).  This is only a temporary home and a temporary assignment.  Our duty while we are here, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our lives and our words (Mark 16:15). 

There were three great tests for Abraham and Sarah each one based on the three promises that were made to them as God laid out His plan for their lives.  The three promises in God’s plan were the presentation of God’s land, Israel, the proliferation and of God’s people, and then the final promise of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Propitiate; the Messiah.  The three tests they would experience, were the move, the inability to have a child, and promise of a great nation.  In this lesson, we will discuss the third test the promise of a great nation contingent on the coming of the Messiah and the redemption of His people by the shedding of blood. 

Test Number 3: God’s timing is perfect.  The ultimate sacrifice, the shedding of blood.

Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.  Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."  "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"  "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"   At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:54-59, NASB).

Galatians 3:8 says that Jesus is the one who fulfills God’s promises to Abraham. His three promises to Abram, his name at the time, predict three truths about God’s people; the land, the people (Israel), and the son (Isaac). 

The third promise is actually the core component of the gospel message. These are not secondary issues; they are central issues to faith and the faithful. This is the reason the apostle Paul says the Jewish people will ultimately be saved, like Abraham was promised, through salvation provide by the Messiah, Jesus. But where do the Gentiles get their promise of salvation?  It was from the salvation coming from the Jewish people.  God committed to the three promises, but He also interwove them, so that none of the promises were fulfilled independently of the other one.  All three of God’s promises mesh to form one salvation, free, by grace through faith alone, and eternal in scope and purpose.

Faith is the key issue.  It was fundamental to Abraham’s salvation and his family and it is the same today for us as believers.

  1. Faith in future promises: Hebrews 11:13 says, “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” Even though Abraham and Sarah never saw the predictions of God realized in their lifetimes, they believed that God would fulfill all His promises.
  2. Faith in a home unknown: Hebrews 11:14-16a says, “People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country, they had left; they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.”  All believers hope for Heaven.  That is the purpose of the Christian’s salvation and continuing sanctification through obedience, to attain eternal life.  Philippians 2:12 commands that we, “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” 

Abraham never saw God’s future promises.  in his faith, Abraham was satisfied that, with God in charge, He would bring about the outcomes that He promised.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.  Then the Lord  said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.  You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.  In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure" (Genesis 15:12-16).

Abraham was satisfied with what God had given him.  His faith led Abraham to the full acceptance of God’s promise. 

  1. Faith in an understanding of holiness: Genesis 19:29 (NASB) tells us, “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain (Sodom and Gomorrah), He remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.”

Abraham had asked God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33).  However, at the same time, Abraham understood the holiness of God.  He respected God’s words about and ultimate actions toward the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their inhabitants.

  1. Faith in a people of God: Hebrews 11:16b (NASB) explains, “Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Abraham believed that God was a God of truth. In his faith, Abraham knew that God would build a great city; Jerusalem.  A city that would withstand the tests and struggles of time.  He was right, Jerusalem still stands as a testimony of Abraham’s faith and a God who is faithful to His word. 

The name Jerusalem means “City of Peace.”  This city of God has never seen extended peace.  God was describing an eternal city.  Abraham understood and accepted as truth that there would be an eternal city of God, a true “City of Peace” that would come in the aftermath of the final battle against sin and unrighteousness.

  1. Faith in the coming Messiah: In Genesis 18:17 (NASB) God says, “Then the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” The answer was no; an emphatic no. God did not hold back information from Abraham. He was direct with Abraham concerning what He would accomplish.  God would make Abraham into a great nation and out of that nation would arise the savior of the world; Messiah.
  2. Faith Tested: In Hebrews 11:17-19 (NASB) we see the ultimate test of Abraham’s faith. “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”

Summary Statement:

Abraham had the gift of faith.  We all have faith to a certain level.  His faith went beyond ordinary faith indicating that it was a spiritual gift from God.  We all have been given spiritual gifts if we are all part of the body of Christ.  We have been given these gifts to edify (uplift, educate, or enlighten) the body (1 Corinthians 14:12).

[1]Stephen & Brooksyne Weber, Walking in the Light, adailyprayer.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/walking-in-the-light/

[2] Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 11:19". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". "//www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-11.html. 1870.

[3] Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.

[4] Dr. James Montgomery Boice, Why in the World would God want to Use Me, oneplace.com/ministries/the-bible-study-hour/read/articles/why-in-the-world-would-god-want-to-use-me-12019.html

[5] Hank Hanegraaff, How are Old Testament Saints Saved, christianity.com/theology/how-were-old-testament-saints-saved-11555477.html.