One of the things I love about the Bible is that the people whose stories are shared within its pages are so relatable. As we read about Moses getting angry at the people he was leading, we can relate. We can relate to David’s grief over the loss of his child. We can relate to Peter’s confusion when things didn’t go as he planned when Yeshua was crucified instead of being crowned as king. We can relate to Paul’s misplaced zeal as he fought against the very movement of which G-D was calling him to be a leader. We could spend hours looking at the lives of the men and women we read about between the covers of our Bibles and find things they did or didn't do to which we can personally relate.
However, when it comes to Abraham, I have always had some troubles relating to him. Just look at his life. Abraham is mentioned in Genesis 11, however, we are actually introduced to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3:
Genesis 12:1 Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2 My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. 3 My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Just think about it. Abraham heard the voice of G-D and immediately packed up his family and left his house to follow G-D to a land that G-D would show him. Imagine the faith that it took to simply, as the text says, “Get going out.” This level of faith to simply follow with no understanding of where he was being led honestly boggles my mind. While I have been walking with G-D for over 40 years now, I still question if I would be willing to step out that far in faith.
Because of the extent of Abraham’s faith I have always looked at Abraham as a somewhat higher level of believer, someone who lived a life of faith out of reach to the majority of believers. After all, how many of us have heard the voice of G-D speak, packed our bags, and left on a journey to a new country without any idea where that country would be and what we would be doing once we arrived?
Ever since I first heard about Abraham when I was a child, I had placed him in a category of “Biblical Hero” that was beyond my ability to achieve. I could be a Moses who, after he was called, still continued to argue with G-D from time to time. I could be a David who, at times, stood up to Goliath and the Philistine army, and at other times wrote poetry that whined to G-D about his problems. I could be a Peter who alternated between walking in trust and cutting off the ears of soldiers. But, in my mind, and maybe in yours, Abraham seems just beyond our faith reach. After all, Abraham is even known as the “Father of the Faithful.”
However, my feelings about Abraham’s unattainable level of faith changed recently as I was reading the Bible. I noticed something to which I had not paid any attention. When we are introduced to Abraham, the Bible doesn’t provide any information about Abraham. Unlike Noah, who we read about just before Abraham is introduced we have no resumé of faith. We read about Noah in Genesis 6:8-9:
8 But Noah found favor in Adonai’s eyes. 9 These are the genealogies of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless among his generation. Noah continually walked with God.
We are told about the level of Noah’s faith in verses 8 and 9, but G-D doesn’t speak to Noah until Genesis 6:13:
13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is coming before Me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Behold, I am about to bring ruin upon them along with the land. 14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood. You shall make the ark with compartments and smear pitch on it, both inside and out.
In other words, the Bible established that Noah was a somebody and a man of great faith and righteousness before G-D calls him to build the ark. However (and this is a huge however), when we are introduced to Abraham in the Bible, he has no history provided of having favor in G-D’s eyes. We are not told he was a righteous man. Nor are we told he was blameless, or even that Abraham walked with G-D.
When the Bible introduces us to Abraham, he is a nobody. From the words provided in the Bible, Abraham was simply a nobody - just like you and I - until he heard the voice of G-D asking him to follow Him. Abraham became a somebody when he made the choice to follow G-D, just as you and I. Regardless of our past, regardless of our sins, regardless of our family history, we can be changed in an instant from a nobody to a somebody in the exact same way that Abraham was.
The truth is that if you have become a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, in many ways, you have done by faith the same thing that Abraham did. You have left your land to become a citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom. You have made a choice to become a part of the Family of G-D, many times at the cost of having to separate from family members who rejected your faith choice. And every believer is on a journey to a place prepared which exists beyond our understanding and comprehension to which G-D is leading us. So, as I said above, I realized that Abraham was a nobody that G-D made a somebody. And because G-D told us that Abraham was a nobody who became a somebody, we also can believe that G-D can transform us from nobodies to somebodies in the same way - not because we were someone to begin with, but because we, like Abraham, were willing to listen to His voice.