Father of many nations

Abraham - Father of many nations

Abraham’s name was originally ‘Abram’, which means ‘the father is exalted. His name was changed to ‘Abraham’ (Ibraham in Islam), which means ‘father of a multitude when God initiated His covenant with him (Genesis 17). God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many people. However, he and his wife Sarah were apparently past the normal age of having children; therefore, it would be a miracle of God were they to have any. Nevertheless, Abraham trusted God and believed God could accomplish what He had promised. God promised Abraham's children (Genesis 15:5; 22:17). But when this didn’t occur as quickly as Abraham thought it should, he became impatient with God and took matters into his own control. His wife, Sarah was still childless, so she told Abraham to sleep with her handmaid so they might get a child from the union. A son was born from this union; his name was Ishmael. However, this was not God’s plan. God’s promise was for the offspring of Abraham and Sarah’s union (Genesis 15:3-4). Isaac was the son's name that came from the union of Abraham and Sarah; it would be through Isaac that the nations would be blessed. When God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child in their old age, they both laughed. Their laughter at God’s plan showed their disbelief that He could do what He said He would do. The Bible tells us, “Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I have a child, now that I am old?’ Is there anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’”(Genesis 18: 13-15). We would like to think Abraham believed in God at once without any doubt, but this is not the case. He finds God’s word nearly impossible to believe. After all, Sarah is well past the age of childbearing. However, his response to the Lord does not display total disbelief in the covenant promise. He falls on his face, symbolic of submission, trust, and worship. Abraham shows us that absolute confidence in God doesn’t rule out times when His incredible promises are hard for us to see.