The apostle Paul not only confirms that the world is blessed through Abraham's faithful life but also that anyone who has faith in God is considered one of his spiritual sons and heir of the promises (Galatians 3:7 - 9, Romans 4:16).
Without a doubt, he lived a most fascinating life! Abram (his birth name before God renamed him) was born in the city of Ur of the Chaldees to a family that included older brothers Haran and Nahor. Terah, his father, was 130 years old at his birth. Abram, although not the firstborn in the family, is listed before his two older brothers (Genesis 11:26) as sons of Terah. This is likely because he who would be the heir of God's promises (Genesis 12:1 - 3) instead of his brothers.
Abraham lived in Ur for a total of seventy years. He then accompanied his father and the entire family to the city of Haran. His older brother Haran, the father of Lot, died in Ur sometime before this migration took place.
Terah, after living in Haran for five years, dies at the age of 205. Soon after this event God tells Abraham (Genesis 12:1 - 2), who is now 75 years old, to leave Haran and take his family to the land of Canaan (the land of promise). He then makes a startling promise to Abram. God says that he will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him (Genesis 12:3)!
The Eternal's plan for man, through a single person, was so important that God personally promised to treat anyone the same way they treated Abram and his descendants!
In Genesis 15 God promises Abram that his wife Sarai will no longer be barren, but will bare him a child to be his heir. Several years later, when he is 99, God again appears to him promising that he will soon have a son (Isaac) and that he will be the father of countless descendants. It is at this time that God renames Abram to Abraham (which means 'father of a great multitude') and Sarai to Sarah (which means 'princess of the multitude'). Isaac is born when he is 100 and Sarah is 91.
Years later, when Isaac is 15 years old (or a little older), God tests the faith of Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22). Isaac is spared when the Angel of the Lord stops his father from sacrificing him.
Abraham, the 'father of the faithful,' lives to see his son turn 75 and his grandson Jacob (later renamed Israel) to the age of 15. He dies at the age of 175. His wife Sarah, who preceded him in death at the age of 127, has the distinction of being the only woman in the Bible where we know her age at death.
Important events and people in the life of Abraham include his calling by God and receiving the command to migrate to Canaan. His wife Sarai, nephew Lot and his wife, and the remaining family join him in the journey. The Eternal promises, several times, to bless him and his descendants. After God miraculously heals Sarah's womb she gives birth to Isaac. This "father of the faithful" is blessed to meet with a Priest of the Most High God named Melchizedek, who is actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.
After visiting Abraham two angels save Lot and family before the destruction of Sodom. Lot's wife becomes a pillar of salt when, while fleeing, she turns to view God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Finally, his faith is tested when God commands him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. In our next lesson, we will learn about the life of the person God used to delivery his people out of slavery and give them his holy law. His name is Moses.