Abraham came from a well to do family. He himself was a rich man, too. Together with his nephew they owned a lot of flocks, herds and tents, making it difficult to dwell together. They then decided to part from each other to avoid strife between them. Abraham gave Lot the choice land, but Abraham dwelt in the land of Canaan. After that the Lord said to him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever (Gen.13). Abram, as he was called, had no children to inherit his wealth, but a servant called Eliezer from Damascus. The Lord God however, assured him that he was not the heir, but the one that would come from his own body. To confirm His promise to Abram, God had him to look toward the heavens and count the stars. So said the Lord, shall your descendants be impossible to be counted. Meanwhile, he remained steadfast to the Lord and He counted it to him as righteousness. To seal God’s covenant with Abram, He led Abram to a sleep when God showed him what was going to happen to his descendants before they were to possess the land God was giving to them. It was going to be a hard time while they were temporary residents in a land not of their own; they were to become slaves in that land, but the Lord God was going to free them after 400 years. That was to be in their fourth generation when they would return to Canaan (Gen. 15). Abram was seventy-five years old when God called him out of his country and family to Canaan. He was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to him again. It had been 24 years since the covenant made with him, and now the Lord returns to confirm it. He said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect and I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly. Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of many nations (Gen. 17) . Although Abram laughed and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a son? (vs.17) He laughed, but he did not doubt God. He probably thought it to be hilarious. In spite of it, his faith remained strong in the promise of God, as Paul confirmed the words from Genesis 15:6: for what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in God and it was credited to his account as righteousness (Rom. 4:3).
For a fourth of his life, Abraham waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled. He was tested by the length of time in which God took to fulfill His promise to him; he was tested through the age barrier of having children; he was tested after been given a son when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son unto Him. But Abraham continued in faith and faithful to God in all the tests. This last test confirmed the promise when God told him: I have sworn by Myself, says the Lord, that since you have done this and have not withheld [from me] or begrudged your son, your only son, in blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed will possess the gate of His enemies, and in your Seed [YAHSHUA] SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED AND [BY Him] bless themselves, because you have heard and obeyed My voice (Gen. 22). Here it is the summary of Abraham’s life style of faith and obedience and blessings upon blessings bestowed upon him. God was not going to give him such promise, one which connected him to the Son of God, had he failed to believe and trust in God. Abraham had to walk and live before God and he had to be perfect before Him. These were the conditions for Abraham to receive the promise given him (Gen. 17:1).He was chosen for a divine purpose, one that no man had ever been promised to. When Israel failed in their faithfulness to God, it was for the sake of Abraham that He did not destroy them. So Moses pleaded with God: remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever (Exo. 32:13). And God heeded to Moses plea.
Abraham outlived his wife Sarah, but he married another woman, called Keturah, who gave him six children. He had eight totals. However only Isaac was the son of promise, as God told him, For in Isaac shall your posterity be called (Gen.21:12b), so he sent the other sons to the east country, which is a general name for Arabia. Abraham again did according to the word of the Lord and Isaac was honored with the privilege of being the one chosen for God’s plan. Paul said, … And they are not all the children of Abraham because they are by blood his descendants. No, [the promise was] Your descendants will be called and counted through the line of Isaac (Rom. 9:7).
So it happened that in the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to the Law to purchase the freedom of those who were subject to the Law that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us (Gal. 4: 4-5). Abraham did not see the fulfillment of the promise, but he believed God’s words. Fourteen generations from Abraham to YAHSHUA, about 2021 – two thousand and twenty-one years, God did what He promised him. It was through Abraham’s faith that things happened in God’s calendar. He was the physical demonstration God used to solidify His promise. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews wrote about him: [Urged on] faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go…. So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of the heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore, these people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth (Hebrews 11:8,12-13).
It is by faith that all believers in YAHSHUA are united to Abraham as spiritual sons and daughters. He is the father of many nations- spiritual and physical, as God promised him he would be. God considered him to be His friend and confined to him what He was about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. God asked, Shall I hide from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through him and shall bless themselves by him? For I have known him, so that he may teach and command his children and the sons of the house after him to keep the way of the Lord and to do what is just and righteous, so that the Lord may bring Abraham what He has promised him (Gen. 18:17-19).
Many years later, the incarnate God in the person of YAHSHUA stood among Abraham’s posterity and showed them how they could be His friends. He said, You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do (John 15:14), just as their forefather Abraham walked in obedience and was considered God’s friend. This command is extended to all today’s believers.
Love + obedience = friendship.