“Abraham trusted God, and it made him right with God.” (Romans 4:3)
Of course, the Jews have always thought of Abraham as the father of their nation and the recipient of the covenant promise of God. God would make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the sand on the shoreline and the stars in the sky.
But Abraham’s story has an unexpected twist.
The Book of Genesis narrates the life of Abraham. He lived to be 175 years old, yet we have very few stories and very little information about the man. We do know that twice he was willing to give his wife Sarah to other men, to protect himself. Not terribly noble.
The stories about Abraham do not describe his prayer life. He made an altar or two, but he had no Scripture to read; no church or synagogue to attend. We don’t know if he embraced philanthropy, other than one moment of generosity with Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20). We do know that he jumped ahead of God at least once, sleeping with his wife’s maidservant who bore him a son (Ishmael; Genesis 16).
However, his story had three highlights; three occasions when the Lord said “Do this” and Abraham trusted God and stepped straight out. First, when he was told to pack up everything and just start traveling until God told him to stop (Genesis 12). Second, when the Lord called him (and all the men in his household) to be circumcised (Genesis 17). Third, when God told Abraham to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him on a hill in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22).
Three great moments of obedience in 175 years of life.
That’s what makes Abraham the father of faith; not that he modeled faith in profound and generally unattainable ways for the rest of us. Rather, that he reflects a very typical person; with fear as well as faith, with selfishness as well as obedience, with impatience as well as responsiveness.
He could be any of us.
For most of us, the journey of faith is filled with missteps, failures, sin, complacency, fear, and selfishness. We might wish it were otherwise. But it’s the ordinary Abraham not the extraordinary Paul who stands as our mentor.
Today, let’s look to Christ and say “Yes” to Him a little more than yesterday. And we might be surprised by the story He graciously writes with our lives, too.