Abraham, the Father of Faith, Also Harbored Doubt

Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.

Today’s reading comes from the book of Genesis, chapters 16 through 18, chronicling how Abraham and Sarah unnecessarily complicated their lives by doubting the veracity of God’s word. Some impressions from the text:

  • Genesis 16 tells how Sarai and Abram attempted to outsmart God with a human solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem. Sarai was barren, yet God had promised Abram a son. So Sarai offered her servant Hagar to Abram so that he might gain a son. This was not the method God had in mind. Yet, as He does on a regular basis, God steered the ill-conceived human plot to serve his will.
  • Genesis 17 continues to relate Abram’s doubt. Given the name Abraham, he is told by God that he will father a son through Sarai, who is given the name Sarah. At this, Abraham laughs. He is 100 years old. She is 90. Such a birth cannot occur naturally. But then, that’s the point. God pursues miraculous means to ensure He gains the glory. Neither Abraham nor Sarah bring anything to the table.
  • Circumcision seems an odd way to seal a covenant. Yet that is what God insists upon for Abraham and all the males of his house. It marked them as belonging to God, distinct from those around them. This was only the first of many ways in which the descendants of Abraham’s son Issac would be set apart from other nations.
  • Abraham’s bartering for mercy upon Sodom and Gomorrah offers a few insights into God. First, there’s the fact that it even happened. God stood there and listened to this man, self-described as “dust and ashes,” lecture Him about justice. He did not grow angry or offer rebuke, even though He rightly could have. Instead, he conceded to Abraham’s appeals, even as the goal post continued to move from 50 righteous among the cities incrementally down to 10. Of course, we know that Sodom and Gomorrah ultimately were destroyed. Not even the 10 righteous men threshold could be met. So it is among the broader swath of man. There are none righteous among us, not of our own accord.

Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.

Catch up on the previous entries:

In the Beginning: The Creation, His Rest, Our Fall – Genesis 1-3

An End of All Flesh: Abel’s Murder, Man’s Corruption, and the Great Flood – Genesis 4-7

Noah’s Flood Led to History’s First Post-Apocalyptic Society – Genesis 8-11

Abram Believed: The Pre-Gospel Gospel – Genesis 12-15