Abraham is a central figure in three world religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity. As patriarch of Israel he received covenant promises from God; his story can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Genesis 12 recounts Abram’s response to God’s call from above for him to leave his homeland and embark upon a new life with many descendants in Canaan, where his blessing lies.
Table of Contents
He was seventy-five years old
Abraham is one of the central figures in the Bible, serving as an inspiration to believers today. His faith led him to leave his family and travel across a foreign land for an everlasting covenant from God; throughout his life he faithfully served Him and enjoyed an abundantly blessed existence. Genesis 12:4 gives us our first indication of Abraham’s age: it says that he was 75 years old at his first call from Him.
Abraham’s story begins in Ur of the Chaldeans, where his father Terah worshiped idols made of wood, stone and silver that attracted people for sacrifices as well as purchases; temples were constructed around these idols to house them as part of an increasingly profitable business venture.
Abram was 75 when God told him it was time for him to move from his homeland into a land He promised him. In return, God promised Abram would become the father of a great nation and give him His blessing. Abram trusted these promises and obeyed Him completely.
Abraham had to face many difficulties when leaving his homeland of Egypt behind him, including having to say goodbye to his parents, home, and relatives; as well as adapting and making a new life with Sarah in mind. Yet his faith did not waver; rather it increased.
God was faithful in fulfilling his promise of a great nation through Abraham’s descendants; these later came to take on the name Israel – which means “strugglers with God”. Henceforth, all Jewish people today can trace their origin back to this first great nation.
The Eastern Orthodox Church honors Abraham as a Righteous Forefather with two feast days in its liturgical calendar: first on 9 October for those using the Julian Calendar; and then during Sunday of Forefathers (two weeks before Christmas). Here, Abraham is honored along with Lot and other ancestors of Christ.
He was ninety-five years old
Abraham was an influential Hebrew patriarch who is revered as the founder of all three major monotheistic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Known for his faith in God and His promises, he taught his family how to worship him as well as passing this faith down through generations.
God instructed Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 to leave Haran and travel toward a destination He would show him, promising blessings that would outstrip those in Haran. Even though Abraham didn’t know exactly where this destination lay, he trusted in God to fulfill what He promised him.
He obeyed and left his home without knowing where he was going; this act of obedience marked an essential step on his journey. Though it wasn’t easy, trust in God was greater than anything he could accomplish by himself.
As promised by God, though Sarah was barren, Abraham still believed He would provide him an heir. This promise required great faith on Abraham’s part given he was already old and Sarah had gone through menopause; nevertheless he understood that having children would bring blessings beyond any imagination.
God promised Abraham not only a future with many descendants, but also land that would remain his forever as an act of thanksgiving for his obedience and faith in Him. Though Abraham didn’t know where exactly this promised land lay, he trusted in Him that He would lead him there.
Abraham lived his entire life following God’s will and faithfully serving Him, loving and fearing Him while believing He was Lord over all creation. Abraham served as an example of faith and trust that is foundational to Christian beliefs.
Abraham gave birth to Isaac at approximately 100 years old. Shortly afterwards, Abraham became extremely wealthy and established himself as a successful businessman; later on though his health began deteriorating and ultimately led him down into poverty and sickness at 175 years old.
He was eighty-six years old
God invited Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 to leave his home and family behind and follow Him wherever He led. Abraham’s call marked a pivotal point in human history; his obedience changed its course forever and gave birth to the Jewish people, whom today all peoples from different backgrounds look up to for guidance in faith and obedience. Christians, Jews and Muslims look up to Abraham as an exemplary model.
At the time of Abraham’s call, idolatry was widespread. According to Scripture, his father Terah served as an intermediary between idol worshipers and traders by selling idols made from wood, stone, silver and gold for sacrifice offerings to be offered before selling them back for profit. Many people came offering sacrifices before worshipping these statues of worshipers.
Abraham left his father’s home without knowing exactly where he would end up, having left behind his country, relatives, and father’s home he knew so well. Starting anew without knowledge of culture or religion in a country he knew little about – all he knew for sure was that “God would show him a land.”
Abram was moved by God’s promise and accepted His command to go out from Haran with Sarai and Lot. God made Him an incredible promise: that He would make of Abram a great nation and grant them Canaan as their home country, promising blessings on those who blessed and cursing those who cursed them along the way.
At eighty-six, Sarah had gone through menopause, making it unlikely that she could bear any more children with Abraham. Yet Sarah still trusted in God to keep His promise; also showing this strength of faith was Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah at age ninety-nine!
Abraham provides us with much insight into his character by way of his example of faith. But this wasn’t a blind faith – his actions validated it! According to James 2:14-18, true faith results in actions which demonstrate its reality, so Abraham’s action proved his faith in the promises of God – this led Him to consider him righteous before Him.
He was ninety-nine years old
Abram, the father of Judaism, was called by God to leave his home country and family in order to follow His will and follow Him wherever it would lead him. Though uncertain where this journey would lead, Abram obeyed and God promised that Abram would become famous throughout history as the father of a great nation that would carry his name forward for centuries to come.
Abram left Ur with his wife Sarai and nephew Lot, and traveled to Canaan. There they spent some time; during which the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarah into Sarah – promising Sarah would bear him a son.
Sarah found Sarah’s promise difficult to accept; at ninety-nine she had long passed her childbearing years and already given birth once, to Ishmael, with Hagar as her maidservant. Sarah knew it would likely never happen again that she could give birth – or indeed even get pregnant herself.
At ninety-nine, Mary trusted in God’s promise and was rewarded for it by Him with the birth of a son at ninety-nine. As Hebrews observes, this promise from Him was neither small nor inconsequential; rather it was one which transformed lives profoundly, only being fulfilled in such a manner by the Almighty Himself.
Abram was taking a considerable risk in obeying God’s call when it arrived; leaving home, family and possessions behind to follow His will required leaving everything behind without even knowing where it would lead him – this is why the writer of Hebrews states, “By faith Abraham obeyed Him and set out, not knowing where or why”.
But this act of obedience embodies Christian discipleship to its fullest. It shows that we should risk our lives to obey Him, knowing He will reward us for our efforts. This should never be forgotten: though not always easy, taking a risk-taking stance for God can pay dividends!