Three times in the scriptures Abraham is called the friend of God. The Lord would visit Abraham and then Abraham, through his altar, would visit the Lord. What kind of friend is it who never visits? Surely not a very close friend. No relationship is that way. Relations we bless and relationships that bless us are those where visitations have taken place.
Abraham the Friend of God
by Delbert Young
Acquaintance Or Friend?
Acquaintance Or Friend?
Scriptures: John 8:56, Acts 7:2-4, Genesis 11:31, Genesis 12:1, Luke 14:26, Mark 9:42, Genesis 12:2-3, Genesis 12:4-5, Genesis 12:6-9, 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23
Thompson Chain Reference Bible begins recording its dates of history at Genesis chapter 12. The date the TCR Bible sets at Genesis 12 is 1921 B.C. If accurate then Abraham was alive 2,000 years before the birth of Christ yet Jesus said,
John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. KJV
Interestingly the Greek word translated “rejoiced” is agaliao (Strong’s #21) meaning “to jump for joy; to exult”. Following agalliao to its primary word hallomai (Strong’s #242) we find it means “to jump”. Why at the age of 75 would a man leave all that was familiar and comfortable? What is so powerful it caused Abraham to leave first Ur and then Haran to seek a land that he had never seen? The answer is he was able to look into the future and see the day of Christ. For this Abraham jumped. For this he was glad. Abraham rejoiced.
It is this power that called many O.T. prophets (Heb 11:13). Abraham, as he dwelt in Mesopotamia, was visited by the God of glory. From that moment on he was never the same.
Acts 7:2 ….The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
So it is with all who experienced the true visitation of the God of glory. There is no force that can hold one back if the visitation was authentic. It doesn’t even matter what our religious heritage may have been. When the visitation is true and Christ has been seen, the move must be made. Abraham’s father, Terah (Gen 11:26), worshiped other gods (Jos 24:2). That mattered not to him. He had been visited by the God of glory!
Our lives are the same. We cannot resist the visit. At the same time to go we must have a visit. Jesus Chest said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (Joh 6:44). Again Christ says, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65). The NIV version says, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” It is not possible to come to Christ unless first enabled to come. To come we must have a visitation from the God of glory. In that visitation we will see the day of Christ. Once this actually happens it will not matter what our forefathers or anyone else worshiped or even went to church. We walk toward the heavenly calling just as Abraham.
Abraham had two brothers — Nahor and Haran. Haran had a son named Lot and two daughters named Milcah and Iscah (Gen 11:27-29). Some think this Iscah is the same as Sarai, Abraham’s wife. Haran, the brother of Abraham, died in Ur before the family was able to leave Ur. It is important to move as quickly as possible once the God of glory visits and calls us from idolatry. Soon after Haran’s death the family leaves Ur. Terah, Abraham’s father was the head of the family and attempted to lead the family to Canaan, but stopped at the city of Haran. Terah may well have been trying to come on his own without the enabling of God the Father. That will not work. Abraham was called, not Terah.
Genesis 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
Or perhaps it was because of Terah’s age or sickness that Terah stopped in Haran. Perhaps Terah was called. Many make it to Haran on their journey to the promises of God. They stop for whatever reason and die there. Jesus told a scribe once, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” (Mar 12:34). It is possible to move toward, but never enter the kingdom. The man of Mark 12 knew the correct theological answers, but had not entered the promise.
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Abraham must leave all familiarity–country, kindred, and father’s house. Had any of these held Abraham then the promise would never be entered. The blessings would have never been experienced. Such blessings are assured when we refuse to allow any hold to keep us back. Jesus said it this way,
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
If anything is dearer to us than the call of Christ we cannot receive the promises of Christ. We cannot love anything more than Christ. All joys–parents, wife, children, brothers, sisters, even life itself must be seen as in competition with Christ. None may be allowed to have preeminence to Christ. How many times have we seen the opposite? Often parents will stop a person from going on with Christ. I have seen that. If parents are not in agreement with say, doctrine, parents will attempt to block the progress to the promise. Often one spouse will literally remove the other spouse from the road to the kingdom. I have seen that. A constant bombardment from a hindering spouse will more times than not do in the spouse attempting to obtain the promise. Often one’s own children will stop progress into the kingdom. Sports, trips, anything can cause one to forsake the kingdom. I have seen that. A child’s rebellion or negative remarks can cause a parent to be removed from kingdom progress. Brothers and sisters (especially those brothers and sisters in church) hinder or stop the move. How many who now walk and live in the kingdom of God would be there had they listened to “brothers and sisters” (usually Joseph’s half-brothers)? If any of these compete with Jesus Christ they must be hated! That is what Jesus said.
None of these stopped Abraham. It appears that if any tried they would die. Both Haran and Terah are examples. That, perhaps sounds rough, but the Lord Himself said,
Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. KJV
It is a dangerous thing to hinder a person attempting to move on in their call of God. No good thing can happen to that person. Many will make it to Haran, but will die there. Abraham went on. Nothing would stop him.
It is interesting to note that at this point in Abraham’s journey the promise of God was to allow Abraham to only see the land. The God of glory said, “….unto a land that I will shew thee,” not give thee. Later the Lord will promise the land to Abraham’s seed (12:7). Eventually Abraham will be given the land. However at the initiation of the call the promise was to see the land. As we walk with the Lord we will see various things. We are never forced to take them. Perhaps an example of this today would be tongues. As one walks with the Lord and desires to go on in the Lord they will see tongues, prophecy, etc. The Lord will show you that if you walk with Him. No one is forced to receive. The Lord’s promise today continues to be “I will shew you”. First we must get that far. Next we must separate from those who hinder us. Then we must walk in that given us (Gen 13:14, 15).
Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Abraham had only begun to walk. He had left Ur and was about to leave Haran, but had already been given six (6) promises. The promises of God for our lives are incorporated with the purposes of God for our lives. The promises begin to come quickly after the walk begins, however they are simply promises. Had Abraham never walked toward the promises the promises would have never been obtained. Not only were these promises obtained along the walk, other promises and covenants were obtained as well. If we never begin walking toward the promises that God has given us then we will never obtain the promises. Had Abraham sat in Ur or even Haran no promise would have been obtained even though the God of glory Himself promised them.
The six promises Abraham was given were: (1) I will make of thee a great nation–though Abraham was childless; (2) I will bless thee; (3) I will make thy name great; (4) Thou shalt be a blessing; (5) I will bless those that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee‘ and (6) In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. These were Abraham’s promises at the initiation of his walk. Each and every one of them were fulfilled and that only because Abraham began walking.
What promises have I been given? The apprehending of those promises are directly related to my faithfulness in moving toward those promises. Not one of the six promises came to Abraham in Ur or in Haran. Abraham first obeyed and that was “get thee out…..”
Genesis 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
We begin seeing the separations of Abraham. He had previously separated from Ur. Now he totally separates from all that is familiar. Abraham begins to place himself in a position to be blessed by the God of glory. We learn a wonderful truth. If we want the blessing from God then we must place ourselves into a position to be blessed from God. All the blessings promised to Abraham were contingent upon Abraham separating.
Abraham, as his descendent apostle Paul would later be, was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Gal 1:15, 16). Abraham went out not know where he went (Heb 11:8). He was then seventy-five years of age. At a time when most today retire, become feeble, and setback to do nothing, he began a journey not knowing where he was going. He took his wife, his nephew, his possessions, and the “souls that they had gotten in Haran“. Abraham obviously was a very influential man, a leader par exhalant.
We see that Abraham’s wife is willing to follow him to “who knows where”. Abraham did not know where he was going and Sarai would follow him there. How many times has the opposite been true? Often the wife refuses to support much less follow a ministry. How sad. It is wonderful when a man and his wife join together to walk toward and into the kingdom of God. What a testimony it is for the both of them. The man trust and believes in God. The woman, who knows every flaw of that man, trusts and believes in the man. When one spouse does not support the ministry of another spouse there should be a red flag going up in our following that ministry.
Lot also followed Abraham. This is another wonderful testimony of Abraham’s abilities. Family is always the most critical of a spiritual leader. Lot did not say, “Look at Uncle Abraham. He is a crazy ‘holy-roller’. I will avoid him.” Rather Lot went with Abraham and Abraham did not know where he was going. It is fascinating to see that these people who knew this seventy-five year old eccentric well, desired to follow him. What a tremendous testimony to Abraham’s character.
“Souls” also went with Abraham and Abraham did not know where he was going. These may well have been slaves. They may well have also been those converted by Abraham to the God of glory. No matter. They were precious people who would soon cash in on the blessings of Abraham.
Abraham also took all their substance that they had gathered. He did not throw away his possessions because the Lord promised him blessings. Abraham took what he had and utilized what he had to obtain the promises. The Lord desires that we be good stewards of what he has given us. To the one who does this and utilizes what he has, more will be given. To the one who does not utilize what he has then what he has will be taken (Mat 13:12). More was given Abraham. It was not only Abraham’s possessions taken. The verse says, “….and all their substance that they had gathered”.
Amazingly all these people took all their possessions and followed a man who did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
We gain tremendous insight about Abraham from this truth. For when we ask ourselves, “What kind of person would it take for me to collect all my possessions, load them up and follow that person, knowing that that person did not know where he was going?” Personally it would be a person with tremendous stability and character. This was the person of faithful Abraham.
Genesis 12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
Abraham enters the land that he has been promised by God to see. The Canaanites were in the land. These were the descendants of Noah’s son Ham. It was in Genesis 9:25 that Canaan was cursed by Noah. As Abraham entered the land it would appear that the cursed were more blessed than the redeemed Abraham. Most often it appears that the children of the world are more prosperous than the children of God. Still they are cursed. This shows us that because a person appears to prosper that appearance does not mean they are not cursed of God.
The walk of the believer is complex. Sometimes even when we see our promise it appears the heathen possess it. Yet, by faith Abraham continued walking. Why did he not stop? Why did he go on and on? He walked through the plain or valley of Moreh. He walked through the mountains east of Bethel. And he still journeyed going still toward the south. Why? The child of God must continue to walk. We must move from faith to faith and from strength to strength (Rom 1:17; Psa 84:7). In this walk we will travel from strength to strength and from faith to faith. We will travel through dark valleys of life. But we will also travel across the mountain tops of life. One may say, “So does the child of darkness also have lows and highs.” Oh yes, but the Lord appears to the His children of light along the way and we are allowed to build an altar.
Interestingly Abraham was in a plain walk (Moreh) when the Lord appeared to him. Nothing special was happening. It was a plain walk. After the visit, Abraham built an altar and worshiped. The visitation from the Lord came first and then Abraham built an altar. He then went directly into a mountain walk (east of Bethel). There he built another altar where Abraham called upon the name of the Lord. The Lord determines His visitations. Sometimes we are in a plain or even valley experience when he mercifully visits us. Sometimes we may be in a mountain experience. The Lord determines His visitations. Sometimes it seems we get things backwards. We want to build the altar and expect Him to come. With Abraham the Lord came and then the altar was built. The Lord visited Abraham. Abraham built an altar to visit the Lord. The altar was not to get the Lord to visit. The altar was a friend returning a visit.
2 Chronicles 20:7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Three times in the scriptures is Abraham called the friend of God. The Lord would visit him and then Abraham, through his altar, would visit the Lord. What kind of friend is it that never visits? Surely not a very close friend.
At first (Gen 12:1) the Lord told Abraham that He would show Abraham the land. Now the Lord says He will give the land to Abraham’s seed. Later the land will be given to Abraham (13:15). The Lord reveals Himself and His blessings in degrees. The further we walk and the more we visit and trust in the Lord the more the Lord reveals Himself and His blessing to us. Often we assume we will jump into salvation and the Lord will immediately begin blessing us with precious promises. No relationship is that way. Relations we bless and relationships that bless us are those where visitations have taken place. Friendships grew. With the Lord and Abraham it was “I will let you see the land”. Next “I will give it to your seed”. Eventually “You can have it”. The real blessing that only God can provide for Abraham, i.e. Isaac, has not even been mentioned as of yet. It will come. There will be more visits from the Lord to Abraham and more visits from Abraham to the Lord. Abraham “called upon the name of the Lord” (12:8).
Knock, knock, knock!
“Who is it?”
“It’s Abraham. Can I visit with you for a while Lord?”
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Other Related Sermons:
1 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary On the Whole Bible, Vol 1, pg 67