Abraham is one of the most popular characters in The Bible and an entire book can be written about his life and the lessons we can learn from it. In this article, I’ll share 5.
Summary of The Story of Abraham
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Abraham or need a refresher, here’s a brief summary. His story begins in Genesis chapter 12. At the age of 75, Abraham left his country because God told him to do so.
God also promised to make him into a nation that He would bless other nations through. Time passes, Abraham becomes wealthy, separates from his nephew Lot who he took with him, and God continually reminds him of His promises.
Abraham’s wife Sarah was barren, and although both of them were old, God promised him a son. More time passed, Abraham has more conversations with God and God changes his name from Abram to Abraham and his wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah.
Seeing that they weren’t getting any younger, Sarah persuades Abraham to sleep with her servant in order to have a child through her. Abraham takes her advice, but in the end, it resulted in conflict between Hagar and Sarah.
Later on, when it seemed most unlikely, God came through, and Sarah and Abraham had a son named Isaac. God later tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham proved his respect for God by following through, but right when he was about to kill Isaac God stopped him.
So what 5 life lessons can we learn from the story of Abraham?
- Start Moving In Faith When The Way Isn’t Clear
- You Can Be Godly and Wealthy
- Be Careful Who You Take Advice From
- The Impossible Isn’t Always Impossible
- Sometimes It’s Better To Separate
Let’s look at each of these lessons in detail.
1. Start Moving In Faith When The Way Isn’t Clear
One of the things that stand out about Abraham is his following of God’s instructions even when they weren’t specific. Take the first instructions The Bible states that God gave Abraham. It’s found at the start of Genesis 12.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.Genesis 12:1 NIV
God didn’t tell Abraham to leave his country and go to the land of the Canaanites. Nor did God tell him to go north, west, east or south. God told Abraham to go to a land he would show him. Despite the directions not being specific, Genesis 12:4 states that he went “as the LORD had told him” (NIV).
Something similar occurred when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”Genesis 22:2 NIV
In this instance, not only did God tell Abraham to go to a mountain he would later show him, but God also told him to do something that seemed crazy; sacrifice Isaac! Yet, in the next verse, it states that “early the next morning Abraham got up” and took Isaac to the place.
Without detailed instructions, Abraham acted when God spoke to him. He didn’t question God, nor did he procrastinate. In the end, God directed him just as God said he would. Like Abraham, when we are called to do something in life, we should trust God and start moving in faith.
It seems as though God never gives anyone he calls all the details in advance, rather he guides them each step of the way. So when God leads you to do something, don’t get distracted by everything you will eventually need nor the challenges that might come. As you move, God will tell you what to do along the way.
2. You Can Be Godly and Wealthy
One of the things believers may struggle with is the idea of becoming wealthy in this life. This is usually because lots of money is often associated with evil. While “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV) and “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24 NIV), having a lot of money in and of itself is not a problem. Thinking it is, can keep us back from being a greater blessing to others.
Abraham is one of a few biblical characters whose lives teach us that we can be both godly and wealthy. When Abraham left Egypt, Genesis 13:2 states that he “had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (NIV). In fact, the reason Abraham and Lot had to part ways is that “their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together” (Genesis 6:6 NIV).
Despite Abraham being wealthy, after God promised him that his offspring would be like the stars in the sky, The Bible states that Abraham “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 NIV).
Additionally, after proving to God that he would sacrifice Isaac, the son he loved, because God told him to, the angel of the LORD said “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12 NIV). From these examples, Abraham was clearly a godly person, and because he had lots of wealth proves that it’s possible for believers to be both godly and wealthy as well.
Be Generous With Your Wealth
As godly people with wealth, we should have a generous spirit and our hearts should always be in a place where we would give it all up for God if He told us to. This is what we see in Abraham’s life. When he and Lot had to separate, he showed generosity by giving Lot first preference to the land (Genesis 13:9 NIV).
After Melchizedek, king of Salem blessed him, Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. By not withholding Isaac, his son from God shows that Abraham would have easily given up all his wealth if God asked him to.
As believers, let’s not avoid building wealth because we may have incorrectly been taught that money is evil. If you desire, build wealth, but keep God first. The more we have, the more we can give.
3. Be Careful Who You Take Advice From
The first time God promised Abraham a son, God didn’t tell him exactly how he was going to have that son. God only said, “a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir” (Genesis 15:4 NIV). Abraham believed it, and in the beginning, everything was fine.
But one day, Sarah told him that “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her” (Genesis 16:2 NIV). The request seemed reasonable to Abraham as The Bible states that he agreed with Sarah. But although it appeared reasonable, later we learn that it was not what God intended.
Abraham taking Sarah’s advice without consulting God led to conflict. Referring to Hagar, Sarah’s slave who Abraham slept with, Genesis 16:4 states that “When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress” (NIV).
And although it was Sarah’s advice, Sarah told Abraham “you are responsible for the wrong I am suffering” (Genesis 16:5 NIV). This leads to the next life lesson to learn from the story of Abraham: be careful who you take advice from.
When people’s advice seems reasonable to us, it doesn’t mean we should accept it right away. What might be good advice isn’t necessarily good advice for us and if we take it without further counsel, it could lead to problems. At a minimum, it’s best to get a second opinion and as believers, we should always check with God.
If Abraham would have checked in with God before taking Sarah’s advice, God may have told him what he eventually told him later, that is, he would give him a son through Sarah (Genesis 17:16).
Seek His Will In Everything You Do
This lesson from Abraham goes hand in hand with what Proverbs 3:6 tells believers to do. It states “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). The proverb didn’t say seek his will in some of the things we do, but rather all that we do.
No matter how small a matter may appear or how good someone’s advice may sound, be careful and seek God’s will about it.
4. The Impossible Isn’t Always Impossible
One of the challenges we know Abraham faced most of his life was having a child with Sarah. When God first called him to leave his country, The Bible states that he “was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran” (Genesis 12:4 NIV). By the time God called him, he probably concluded that it was unlikely that Sarah would ever have a child.
Sarah Having A Child Seemed Impossible
When Abraham and Sarah got old, the impossibility of them having a child together was set in their minds. When God told Abraham that he would give him a son through Sarah, Genesis 17:17 states that “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?
Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” (NIV). In the next chapter, The Bible states that Sarah was already past the age of childbearing, and after hearing the LORD tell Abraham she’d have a child, she laughed to herself and thought “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12 NIV).
As you probably know, despite what appeared impossible, what God said would happen, did happen. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac when Abraham was about 100 years old! What Abraham thought was impossible happened which teaches us that the impossible isn’t always impossible.
Many Things Were Thought Impossible
At one point people thought it was impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes, but Roger Bannister came along and did it. Mountains climbed, space travel, and so much more were once thought impossible until it happened. Ask yourself, like God asked Abraham “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14 NIV).
There may be a promise God made to you that seems impossible to you, learning from Abraham, get ready for God to amaze you! There may be something you want to do in life that people may think is impossible for you too. Don’t let their limited beliefs keep you back. With God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26).
5. Sometimes It’s Better To Separate
In life, as great as it can be to stick together, for the sake of peace it’s sometimes better to separate. In the story of Abraham, he was faced with this challenge twice. The first time Abraham had this challenge was with Lot. Since both of them had many possessions, The Bible states that the land couldn’t support both of them and Abraham’s and Lot’s herders started to quarrel. So for each other’s sake, they separated.
The second time Abraham had to face this challenge was when Sarah didn’t want Hagar and Ishmael around because she didn’t want Ishmael to get a part of Isaac’s inheritance.
As indicated earlier in this article, there was tension between Sarah and Hagar and so she told Abraham to send them away. Given that Ishmael was also his son, “the matter distressed Abraham greatly” (Genesis 21:11 NIV). But this time around, God himself said it was ok for Abraham to listen to Sarah (Genesis 21:12).
In each case, it was the beginning of tension that made separation necessary. In the first case, Lot and Abraham did not become enemies as we see him rescuing Lot when he was captured during a war (Genesis 14). In the second case, God said it was ok, so we can’t argue with that.
Learning from this, we should do our best to work with others but know that for the sake of peace, sometimes it’s better to separate. Doing so sooner rather than later allows the separation to be done in love as forcing cooperation can lead to resentment and make matters worst.
Romans 12:8 states “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (NIV). Proverbs 27:12 states that “the prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (NIV). As a believer, be wise and recognize when tension is growing in your relationships and do your best to keep the peace; even if it means separating.
The story of Abraham is truly an amazing one. It’s packed with life lessons that can change our lives for the better. Remember to start moving in faith when the way isn’t clear, that you can be godly and wealthy, be careful who you take advice from, the impossible isn’t always impossible, and for the sake of peace, sometimes it’s better to separate. God bless you!