(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The picture above is of the patriarch Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham). I chose for the featured Scripture depicting this man two verses from Genesis – chapter 12, verse 4; and chapter 25, verse 7:
So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot [Abram’s nephew] went with him. And Abram was seventy- five years old when he departed from Haran....This is the sum of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years.
These two verses bracket Abraham’s life, from age 75 to age 175 – 100 years! And those 100 years are crammed into 14 chapters in the book of Genesis! A lot happened in those 100 years:
- At an undisclosed age of the patriarch…
...the LORD God had said to Abram, “Get you our of your country, from your kindred and your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
It is called the Abrahamic Covenant, one of the greatest covenants pro-claimed in the Bible! In it God promises to…
✡ ...give him a land in which he will father a great nation!... ✡ ...give the patriarch a great name! ✡ ...make Abram a great blessing, even to all the fam- ilies of the earth! ✡ ...bless those who bless him! ✡ ...curse those who curse him!
- At age 75, and after his father Terah had died, Abram left the city of Haran where his father had settled with his family (see Genesis 11:31), and taking Lot with him, he traveled to the land God had promised him – Canaan! (See Genesis 12:5).
- After a brief stay in Egypt (see Genesis 12:10-13:1), he, Lot, and their families, came back into Canaan where they then separated, having too many livestock to support their herds if they stayed in one place together (see Genesis 13:6-12).
- Genesis 14 is the record of Abram’s rescue of Lot and his family, and all the other inhabitants of Sodom who were taken as war prisoners by four area kings.
- After God promised the patriarch a son and heir in chapter 15, he and his wife Sarai went about to self-fulfill what the LORD had said. Their efforts produced Ishmael, from Sarai’s maid Hagar (see Genesis chapter 16). By the way, Ishmael fathered the Arab nations, the Muslims, who have harassed and tried to exterminate the Israelites, fathered by Isaac, God’s promised and miracle-born son!
- In Genesis 17 there was a double name change! (See verses 1-15).
✡ Verse 5 – God changed the patriarch’s name from Abram (meaning exalted father) to Abraham (mean- ing father of a mulitude). ✡ Verse 15 – Sarai (meaning my princess, dominative) would now be known as Sarah (meaning princess, no- ble woman). According to the Website, https://www. abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sarai.html#.X7MJT shKgdU, we are told, “Possibly, the name-change indicates a step from local to global, or specific to general.”
- Also in Genesis 17:10 through 14, circumcision was made the covenant sign for God’s Old Testament people.
- In Genesis 21:1 through 5, God made Isaac, that miracle-born son appear! How was he miracle-born? Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 at Isaac’s birth!
- Chapter 22 of Genesis is the story of Abraham’s great trial, when God told him to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt offering! It was a test of Abraham’s loyalty. And the father would have gone through with it had not an angel stopped him at the last moment!
- Chapter 23 records the death and burial of Sarah, who died at the age of 127.
- In chapter 24, Abraham sent his servant Eleazar (see Genesis 15:2) to procure a bride for his son Isaac. The servant, led by God, succeeded, and brought back Rebekah, a great-niece of Abraham.
- Chapter 25 I find very interesting! It records Abraham’s death and burial in verses 7 through 10. But in the first four verses, it tells of the patriarch’s second marriage, to Katurah, when Abraham was well past 137 years old! Not only that, but he fathered by her six more sons! (See verse 2). I guess when God rejuvenates a man to father a child born when he was 100 years old (see Genesis 21:5), the LORD does such a great work that six more sons are born to him around age 140!
Why have I gone over the highlights of Abraham’s life? Because, while it only takes maybe an hour to read 14 chapters in Genesis, we often miss the fact that these 14 chapters span 100 years!
Years ago when I pastored my first church, we were having a Bible study at friends’ house. Their youngest son, in his early 20’s, had just begun his Christian experience, having recently opened his heart to Jesus as his Savior. Around the dining room table we, who had been in the Christian faith for awhile, were sharing some of the highlights we had experienced. After listening to the sharing for awhile, the son spoke up: “How come I haven’t had all these great Christian experiences? It sounds like everyone but me has something wonderful to tell! What’s wrong with me? ”
I pondered his remarks for a bit, and then it hit me. I said, “We have been Christians for awhile now, and we are sharing our mountain top experiences. But there are some long and deep valleys between these mountain tops.”
I then brought up the example of Abraham. “How many times did God speak to this man when he actually heard the voice of God or His angel? ” In the 14 chapters that record Abraham’s life, I counted nine times that the patriarch received supernatural instruction from heaven! And how many years did that cover? One hundred years! So I explained to the young man, “Although it sounds like Abraham was in almost constant communication with God, if these nine times occurred at regular intervals, eleven years of silence persisted between each one! ”
So be careful, you who have been Christians for awhile! Be careful when you share your mountain top highlights of your walk with the LORD, making them sound like an everyday occurrence. Sometimes the valleys between the mountains take a long time to traverse!