Abraham Part 2


A study

Part 2

A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again. (Prov.24: 16)

In the first part of this Bible study about Abraham we had focussed on the Scripture portion, Gen.11: 27 – 12: 8.

If we go further and study the subsequent portion, Gen.12: 9 – 13: 4, we see a time of failure or backsliding occurring in the life of Abraham.

In fact there was a time of failure in his life even before this, while he was in Haran. God had appeared to Abraham and had called him to go to Canaan, when he was living in Ur, “before he dwelt in Haran.” (Acts7: 2) But instead of proceeding to Canaan he stayed on the way, in Haran for an indefinite period of time. He could proceed further towards Canaan only after the death of his father, Terah. Sometimes our natural affections in this world may hinder our spiritual growth. The love for our Lord must be preeminent in our life and then only we can be found in the centre of all His purposes and blessings.

Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

Abraham went through another period of failure when he was about 100 years of age, just before the birth of Isaac. (Gen.20)




Instead of living in the centre of the land of Canaan, in Bethel, Abraham drifted towards the Southern end of the land. (Gen.12: 8) The reason why he went down like this is not mentioned straightforwardly. But we see a brief statement; “ the Canaanite was in the land.” A similar situation existed a few centuries later when the 12 spies sent by Moses went into the land of Canaan to explore the land. (Num.13) Abraham may have imagined that these Canaanites are a very strong people securely established in this land, and how can God give me this land as an inheritance?

When he went down in this manner God was not pleased, and he allowed a famine in the land. In fact this land can never have a famine. (Deut.11: 11,12) But even in such a land, God in His mercy sends such famines to convict His people about their failures of unbelief and disobedience. It is an opportunity graciously provided by the Lord to His people to examine themselves and repent from their wrong ways. A similar famine is seen in the life of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 14. It can be also seen in the life of David in 2Sam.21: 1. But Abraham did not examine the reason for the famine and make amends according to the principle shown in 1Kings8: 35,36. He went further down into Egypt. (Isa.31: 3) In Egypt Abraham was put to great shame, he had to tell a lie and later he was rebuked by the Pharaoh. A man of God being rebuked by an idol-worshiper is a matter of very great shame. At this point Abraham realised his failure and returned back, up into the land of Canaan to the original place where he had his tent and altar, in Bethel. (Gen.13: 1-4) The prodigal son who did not repent during the famine was also put to great shame and sufferings when he landed in the midst of pigs, and then he came to himself and repented and returned to his father. The first lesson we learn here is that we must always remember that none of us can attain perfection in this life. Even though we are born again we are vulnerable to similar kind of failures at any moment in our life. If any of us think that he cannot commit any sin, he is in danger. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1Cor.10: 12) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18) We must always totally depend on the grace of our Lord to enable us to continue in His ways. We must not look at the circumstances and situation and start doubting the promises of our Lord. When we continue to trust Him, He is well able to fulfill His purposes in our life in His time. If we drift away from Him, He may send famine – a trial or persecution in our life. At that time we must be quick to realise our shortcomings, sincerely repent from our wrong ways and at set things right in our life. A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. (Prov. 24:16) Blessed is the man who fears the LORD always; but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (Prov. 28:14)

[To Part 1] Lessons on Abraham [To Part 3]