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The Call of God to Old Testament Characters


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Title: The Call of God to Old Testament Characters

The Call of God to Old Testament Characters
Lesson 2
Lesson TextGenesis 121-3
Genesis 121-3 1 Now the Lord had said unto
Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and from thy fathers house, unto a land
that I will shew thee 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
Lesson TextGenesis 121-3
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.
Lesson TextHebrews 118
Hebrews 118 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.
Lesson TextMatthew 326-29
Matthew 326-29 26 For ye are all the children of
God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of
you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
Lesson TextMatthew 326-29
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor
female for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29
And if ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams
seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Focus VerseIsaiah 512
Isaiah 512 Look unto Abraham your father, and
unto Sarah that bare you for I called him alone,
and blessed him, and increased him.
Focus Thought
To give birth to the nation of Israel, God began
with a man named Abram.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Culture Connection Living beyond Your Life
Most of us think primarily of events contained
within the boundaries of our lifespan getting an
education, finding a spouse, maintaining a
career, achieving success, having a family, and
preparing for retirement. Thinking beyond our
death one generation into the future is
difficult. Thinking two or three generations into
the future seems almost impossible. Nevertheless,
our legacy (decisions, philosophy, and our
achievements) may have enduring
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The Hindus believe this influence of our
progenitors is uncontrollable. They believe a
persons karma will dictate his or her station in
life. However, the Bible teaches that each
individual has a God-given volition. We choose
who we will be and how we will live. With Gods
help we can break the cycles of genetic or family
trends. We do not have to repeat the sins and
failures of our ancestors. When a person
responds to Gods call, the impact can be
enormous. We are not only saving ourselves.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
We could be saving generations! Our influence
will live on after we have passed away. Our
future descendants may never visit our graves
they may not even know our names, but our
influence will live on. My maternal and
paternal grandparents were converted to Oneness
Pentecostalism. Through their decision and
Christian life, our large family is predominantly
Oneness Pentecostal.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Today I have over a hundred uncles, aunts, and
cousins who are Oneness Pentecostal because of my
grandparents influence. In the group, there are
over a dozen Oneness Apostolic ministers.
Although my grandparents have been dead for many
years, they would be amazed if they knew how many
they have influenced.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Contemplating the Topic
The Scriptures present Abram as a model of
faithful obedience to God. Yet the Genesis
account demonstrates a number of times he failed
to act in full obedience and faith. An ordinary
man in his day, he lived without Bible or pastor,
surrounded by superstition and idolatry in a land
he owned only by promise and not by title. To
such a man, God entrusted the vital work of
founding a nation that would be His own chosen
people and from whom the Savior
of the world would be born.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The triumph of this ordinary man over his
culture, his environment, and his own doubts
stands as a witness to us far stronger than any
mythical hero. Most of us can much more easily
identify with Abram, the man of doubts and fears
who showed only partial obedience to Gods call,
than with Abraham, the giant of faith who started
up the mountain to sacrifice his son after he
said, I and the lad will go yonder and worship,
and come again to you (Genesis 225).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Obedience to Gods call changed Abram from a
polytheistic cosmopolitan urbanite to a
monotheistic nomadic patriarch. It changed Abram
the Mesopotamian to Abram the Hebrew (Genesis
1413), and eventually to Abraham the father of
all who believe (Romans 411). Our hope and
encouragement come from knowing that any believer
can become an individual of great faith, like
Abraham, through the power of Gods call.
A. God Called Abram Out
Searching the Scriptures God Called Abram to
Build a Nation
  1. God Called Abram Out

The Bible uses the phrase Ur of the Chaldees
to identify the city in which Abram and his
family lived. According to Baker Encyclopedia of
the Bible, Ur was a subset of the great Sumerian
civilization that comprised a territory south of
Babylon about the size of New Jersey.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Sumeria came into existence shortly after the
Flood (Genesis 112) and is recognized as the
first civilization of recorded history,
pre-dating the ancient civilizations of Egypt,
Africa, China, and the Indus valley (T. Walter
Wallbank et al., Civilization Past and Present,
5th edition). Ur was the principal Sumerian city,
probably the largest city in the world at the
time of Abram.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Abram was probably not much different from the
other citizens of Ur. When describing Abrams
family, God said, Your fathers dwelt on the
other side of the flood in old time, even Terah,
the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor
and they served other gods (Joshua 242). We do
not know of Abrams relationship to God before
the call, or if he even had one. We simply are
told the Lord had said unto Abram (Genesis
121) to depart from his old life and follow Him.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Even the actual call of God was recorded as an
event in the past (had said). Stephen supplied
some details later when he testified before the
Sanhedrin The God of glory appeared unto our
father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia,
before he dwelt in Charran (Acts 72). Without
this verse, we would not even know for certain
when and where the call occurred or that it was
accompanied by an appearance of God.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
God commanded Abram to separate himself from
three things his country, his kindred, and his
fathers house. Separation from his country would
mean giving up his friends, his culture, and the
comfortable urban way of life. Separation from
his kindred would mean parting from those he
loved and those who loved himhis natural support
network. Separation from his fathers house would
mean renouncing his right to his fathers
inheritance and, more importantly, renouncing his
link in the continuity of his ancestors.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Except for a brief statement informing Abram that
he had arrived at his destination (Genesis 127),
there is no record of God speaking to Abram again
until he had completely fulfilled this command
for separation (Genesis 1314).
B. God Promised to Bless Abram
  1. God Promised to Bless Abram

Gods demands upon Abram may have appeared
severe, but they could not compare to the
blessings He promised for obedience. In place of
Abrams country, God promised a land that I will
shew thee. In place of Abrams kindred, God
promised I will make of thee a great nation. In
place of Abrams fathers name and heritage, God
promised, I will bless thee, and make
thy name great (Genesis 121-2).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Obedience to Gods call always requires
sacrifice, but it always results in greater
blessings. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ
observed the blessing in store for those who
sacrifice for the sake of the Lord.
Mark 1029-30
Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no
man that hath left house, or brethren, or
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or
children, or lands, for my sake, and the
gospels, but he shall receive an hundredfold now
in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters,
and mothers, and children, and lands, with
persecutions and in the world to come eternal
life (Mark 1029-30).
C. God Promised to Protect Abram
  1. God Promised to Protect Abram

Facing the call of God to go to a land far from
his home, Abram probably experienced the natural
fear of the unknown. God reassured Abram that
following His call meant walking in His
protection. I will bless them that bless thee,
God promised, and curse him that curseth thee
(Genesis 123).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
It probably did not escape Abrams notice that
contained in the promise I will curse him that
curseth thee is the prediction that he would be
the target of curses. Similarly, we should not
overlook that the comforting words of Jesus in
Mark 1029-30 include the words with
persecutions. God did not prevent Abram from
facing difficult and even potentially deadly
trials. (See Genesis 1217-20 1413-16.) God
said, Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy
exceeding great reward (Genesis 151).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Living a godly life does not exempt the believer
from bad times. For it is better, if the will of
God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than
for evil doing (I Peter 317). When facing
trials, believers can know God is their protector
and defender (Isaiah 588 Matthew 2820).
A. Gods Promise Endured Delay
God Brought Abram into Canaan
  1. Gods Promise Endured Delay

Apparently in response to Gods call of Abram,
his father Terah gathered up the family and left
Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of
Canaan (Genesis 1131). However, upon arriving
at the city of Haran, Terah decided to
settle there rather than continue to
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Abram remained at Haran until the death of his
father, at which point he finally continued the
journey to Canaan accompanied by his wife Sarai
and nephew Lot. It seems that Abrams partial
obedience continued with his failure to separate
himself from his nephew Lot when he left Haran.
Consequently, God did not renew the covenant with
Abram until he and Lot had separated. The
Scriptures emphasize this point by the
introduction to Gods renewal of the
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was
separated from him . . . (Genesis 1314). We
have no way of knowing how long Abram failed to
obey Gods call. His apparent attempt to appease
God by years of partial obedience did little to
further Gods plan for his life. Thus these were
years of relative silence on Gods part. Abram
left his home in Ur, eventually moved to Canaan,
built altars, called on the name of the Lord
(Genesis 134), and tried to live in a manner
that would please God. (See Genesis 138.)
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Yet his partial disobedience to Gods call kept
him from enjoying the full fellowship with God
that would mark the last days of his life. This
failing probably brought about the nature of
Abrams ultimate test of faith. He would not give
up his father would he give up his son? He
reluctantly gave up his past heritage would he
trust God for his future legacy? (See Genesis
222, 12 Hebrews 1117-19.)
B. God Promised to Give the Land to Abram
  1. God Promised to Give the Land to Abram

God appeared to Abram while he was living a
nomadic life in central Palestine (Genesis 126
Hebrews 119) and said, Unto thy seed will I
give this land (Genesis 127). This brief
encounter assured Abram he had arrived in the
land God had promised to show him (Genesis 121)
and reassured him that in spite of his partial
disobedience, his call remained in effect.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
God never repents of His call upon our lives
(Romans 1129-30). He who knows the end from the
beginning knows our hearts. He knows whom to call
to establish His will (Isaiah 4610-11 I
Chronicles 289). We may doubt our ability to
answer His call, but God never makes mistakes. We
may even fight His call on our lives and offer
only partial submission, but God stands ready to
renew that call and pour out His blessings when
we are ready to repent and offer unqualified
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
After Abrams separation from Lot, God renewed
the covenant He had made while Abram was still
living in Ur. In this renewal God provided more
details of His plan. He told Abram that from the
place where he stood, all the land he could see
to the north, south, east, and west would belong
to him and to his seed forever (Genesis
1314-15). God then commanded him, Arise, walk
through the land in the length of it and in the
breadth of it for I will give it unto
thee (Genesis 1317).
C. God Promised to Fill the Land with Abrams
  1. God Promised to Fill the Land with Abrams Family

Abram already knew Gods promise to make of him
a great nation. But God expanded His promise
further I will make thy seed as the dust of the
earth so that if a man can number the dust of
the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered
(Genesis 1316). Gods promise meant Abrams
descendants would be impossible to
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
According to the Jewish People Policy Planning
Institute, a little over 13 million people of
Jewish descent are alive today, but Abrams
descendents include many ethnic groups in
addition to Jews. Population genetics may one day
give us a rough estimate of the population of the
world descended from Abram, but it will remain
impossible to get an accurate count. However,
Gods promise was not an exercise in population
statistics but a mental image of the vastness
of His promise.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The passage of time has brought with it
overwhelming evidence of Gods faithfulness to
that promise, but to one childless old man, the
promise must have become increasingly
frustrating. Years passed without any evident
progress toward fulfillment. When God again
appeared to Abram in a vision, Abram questioned
the covenant Lord God, what wilt thou give me,
seeing I go childless, and the steward of my
house is this Eliezer of Damascus?. . . Behold,
to me thou hast given no seed and, lo,
one born in my house is mine heir
(Genesis 152-3).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
To assuage Abrams doubts, God promised, This
shall not be thine heir but he that shall come
forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine
heir (Genesis 154). God then called upon
Abram to choose between those things he knew to
be true by natural reasoning and that which God
reveals to be true. God brought him forth
abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and
tell the stars, if thou be able to number them
and he said unto him, So shall thy
seed be (Genesis 155).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
This must have been a startling challenge to
Abram. Living on this side of the invention of
the telescope, we take for granted that there are
as many stars as the dust of the earth, but the
people of Abrams time knew only of the stars
they could see with the naked eye. For
centuries in the temples atop every ziggurat in
Sumeria, astronomers carefully observed the
stellar sky and kept meticulous, scientifically
accurate records.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The Sumerians not only observed the heavens but
worked out in detail the mathematics of the
movements of the heavenly bodies and could
predict with amazing precision what the sky would
look like at any given date and time. Even the
simplest nomad knew the stars intimately and
understood the times and seasons by their motion.
Growing up in Ur, Abram would not only have
thought he knew how many stars were in the
heavens, but he would have learned their names
and locations at each season.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
When God challenged him to tell the stars, if
thou be able to number them, God was challenging
him to put aside everything he knew as a human,
everything the science of his day held to be
true, and everything his own eyes could observe,
and trust instead in Gods assertion that the
stars are in fact innumerable. The Bible
expressed his choice simply And he believed in
the Lord (Genesis 156). Is it any wonder that
God counted it to him for righteousness?
A. Gods Promise Was Also to Sarah
God Promised Abram a Son
  1. Gods Promise Was Also to Sarah

While God promised to bless all of Abrams
descendents, only those who came through the
promised heir would inherit the land. This heir
not only had to be the biological son of Abram,
he also had to be the biological son of
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
When God calls a man or woman, that calling also
falls upon the spouse because the couple is one
flesh (Genesis 224 Matthew 195). As their
failed experiment with Hagar demonstrated,
Abrams calling could be fulfilled only through
his wife Sarah. Sarahs faith in the call of her
husband was perhaps more dramatic than Abrams
faith in God. We have no record that God appeared
or spoke to her for nearly the first century of
her life.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Until the visit by the three men recorded in
Genesis 18 she possibly had only her husbands
testimony to uphold her faith. Although God spoke
to Abraham about her, the only recorded words God
ever spoke directly to her were Nay but thou
didst laugh (Genesis 1815). Yet Sarah was
faithful and submissive to her husbands calling,
and God protected and blessed her. God did not
arrange things in this way to leave Sarah out or
to imply that she was not important, but to give
her a more glorious testimony.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Peter wrote that believing women who adorn
themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit are the
spiritual daughters of Sarah (I Peter 33-6).
Galatians 423-28 holds up Sarah as a type of the
new covenant of grace and of the new spiritual
Jerusalem, the eternal home of the redeemed.
Through faith also Sarah herself received
strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a
child when she was past age, because she judged
him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 1111).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
It seems fitting that the only piece of the
Promised Land to which Abram ever held legal
title was the burial place of Sarah (Genesis
B. Gods Promise Was Fulfilled
  1. Gods Promise Was Fulfilled

Without dismissing the great miracle of Isaacs
birth, we should understood that the covenant was
not fulfilled in him. While the son of Abraham
and Sarah was the instrument through whom the
working out of Gods promises would continue for
another generation, he was not the seed of
Abraham through whom the fullness of the
blessings would come.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Rather, that Son would be born many generations
later to a young and apparently unimportant
descendant of Abraham and Sarah whose name was
Mary. In thee God had promised, shall all
families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 123).
Galatians 316-17
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises
made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many but
as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And
this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed
before of God in Christ, the law, which was four
hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul,
that it should make the promise of none effect
(Galatians 316-17).
Galatians 318
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no
more of promise but God gave it to Abraham by
promise (Galatians 316-18).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Christ was the physical seed of Abraham through
whom all the families of the earth are blessed.
As the body of Christ, we too have the glorious
privilege to become Abrahams spiritual seed. In
this age God calls every believer to bring this
promised blessing to every family of the earth.
A. The Blessings of Abraham
God Gave Abram a Spiritual Heritage
  1. The Blessings of Abraham

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the
law, being made a curse for us for it is
written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a
tree that the blessing of Abraham might come on
the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might
receive the promise of the Spirit through
faith (Galatians 313-14).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The blessing of Abraham is not the land. For he
looked for a city which hath foundations, whose
builder and maker is God (Hebrews 1110). The
blessing of Abraham is not his biological
Romans 228-29
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly
neither is that circumcision, which is outward in
the flesh but he is a Jew, which is one
inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart,
in the spirit, and not in the letter whose
praise is not of men, but of God (Romans
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
The blessing of Abraham is the promise of the
Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the
ultimate blessing prophesied to Abram when he was
yet an idolater living in Ur.
B. Promises of Abraham Available to Us
  1. Promises of Abraham Available to Us

Romans 411 indicates that because of his faith,
Abram became the father of all them that
believe. We become partakers in the blessings of
Abraham when we follow his example to separate
ourselves from our old lives and take on new life
in Christ Jesus. By grace we enter into the
family of Abraham as heirs of the promise. Now
we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children
of promise (Galatians 428).
Romans 413-14
For the promise, that he should be the heir of
the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed,
through the law, but through the righteousness of
faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs,
faith is made void, and the promise made of none
effect (Romans 413-14).
Romans 415-16
Because the law worketh wrath for where no law
is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of
faith, that it might be by grace to the end the
promise might be sure to all the seed not to
that only which is of the law, but to that also
which is of the faith of Abraham who is the
father of us all (Romans 415-16).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Some may believe that all the promises made to
Abrams biological seed have become our promises.
However, as the physical offspring of Abram were
given natural promises, the spiritual offspring
are given exceedingly great and precious
spiritual promises (II Peter 14). Through the
Holy Spirit living in us, we can experience a
close relationship with God that transcends all
of our human doubts, fears, and failures.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
God purchased our relationship with His own blood
(Acts 2028) and sealed it by His own Spirit
(Ephesians 113). It was given to us by His act
of grace (Ephesians 28-10). For ye are all the
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as
many of you as have been baptized into Christ
have put on Christ (Galatians 326-27).
C. Universal Promise to All
  1. Universal Promise to All

Of all the hundreds of thousands of human beings
who lived upon the earth, why did God call
Abraham? Why did God choose his descendants by
his wife Sarah to carry His message? Why did He
single out Abraham as the bearer of a blessing
for all the families of the earth? God answered
these questions many generations later when He
spoke to the descendants of Abraham.
Deuteronomy 76-7
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy
God the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a
special people unto himself, above all people
that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did
not set his love upon you, nor choose you,
because ye were more in number than any people
for ye were the fewest of all people
(Deuteronomy 76-7).
Deuteronomy 78
But because the LORD loved you, and because he
would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your
fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a
mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of
bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt
(Deuteronomy 78).
Deuteronomy 79
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God,
the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and
mercy with them that love him and keep his
commandments to a thousand generations
(Deuteronomy 79).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Today the blessings of Abrahams call are
available to all human beings. There is neither
Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female for ye are all
one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christs, then
are ye Abrahams seed, and heirs according to the
promise (Galatians 328-29). None of us can be
counted worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus
(Philippians 314-15), but by His grace He counts
us worthy (II Thessalonians 111-12).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
His blessings flow upon us because He loves us
and because He keeps the oath that He swore with
our father Abraham.
Ephesians 41-3
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech
you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering, forbearing one another in
love endeavouring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 41-3).
Ephesians 44-8
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye
are called in one hope of your calling one Lord,
one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of
all, who is above all, and through all, and in
you all. But unto every one of us is given grace
according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high,
he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto
men (Ephesians 44-8).
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Internalizing the Message
Abram had times of doubt and failure. The
darkness of the soul overtook him from time to
time (Genesis 1512) as inevitably it does us
all. Abraham stands as a great testimony of how
God calls ordinary people to reach amazing
heights of faith. The Bible never records that
Abraham ever preached a sermon, started a church,
wrote a book, healed the sick, or worked a
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Occasionally he was called upon to perform
extraordinary deeds such as raise an army to
rescue his nephew, intercede on behalf of the
sinful cities of the plains, and even offer his
own son as a sacrifice. While these events
clearly indicate the manner of man Abraham was
becoming, they were the momentary and unusual
events in his life. For the most part his life
was just a century of wandering around, building
a few altars, and listening for God.
I. God Called Abram to Build a Nation
Had we seen him, we probably would have been
unable to distinguish him from any other wealthy
nomadic clan chieftain. But the difference would
have been evident once we started talking to him.
His life was centered on belief in God, and he
trusted God as his defender, provider, confidant,
and best friend. Abraham believed God, and it
was imputed unto him for righteousness and he
was called the Friend of God (James 223).
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