Abrahams Family Gen.-12:1-4 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This sermon is about four episodes in Abrahams family where Abraham experienced grief over decisions he made for the Lord’s sake. Some of the grievous episodes with Abrahams family are like episodes in a missionary’s family. These episodes are also like what happens in families who serve the Lord. Jesus Christ experienced the same grief that we see in Abrahams family. To do God’s will, Abraham had to:
Leave his family (Gen 12:1-4). Abraham had to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house to go to the land to which God called him. He was like a missionary. Missionaries must leave the United States to go to a foreign land. It’s one thing to go on a survey trip; it’s another thing altogether to go with a one-way ticket. Missionaries must leave their kindred. They leave their culture and their people. Therefore, their field becomes their new home. They must leave their father’s house. Their fathers’ grandkids go with them to the foreign country.
But if God is ever going to make something “great” of you, like he promised that he would make Abraham a great nation, then sometimes you must leave. He will bless you. He made Abraham a “great” nation. Through Jesus Christ, who had to leave heaven to come to this land, God made a “great” holy nation.
Separate from Lot (Genesis 13:9). Lot (Abraham’s nephew) went with Abraham to Canaan because his own father was dead. He was like an orphan. Nevertheless, Lot and Abraham had to separate. Brother Roberts must separate from his family for long periods of time to do the work that he does because his wife is too ill to accompany him.
Putting the thoughts of missionaries aside, parents should carefully notice what Abraham had to do. Lot went to Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13) and the men of Sodom were very wicked (Gen 13:13). Abraham didn’t go with Lot to that wicked place and he didn’t visit Lot in that evil place. When Lot was captured, Abraham fought to recover the possessions that the kings lost and to recover the people who had been captured, but he would have nothing to do with those people (Genesis 14:23). When God announced that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20-21), Abraham interceded, but he would not go to Lot. Lot was now sitting in the gate (like a councilman). They were separate. Jesus Christ is separate from sinners, although he died for us (Hebrews 7:26). And we need to remain separate from our family when they chose to head toward sin.
Cast out Ishmael (Genesis 21:10-12). It’s hard to leave family. It is harder to separate from family members who are sinning. But it is even worse to cast out a member. Ishmael was mocking Isaac. Ishmael was a wild man (Genesis 16:12). When you have a wild man in your house mocking you, your God and those who are serving your God, it is time to cast them out. They must go. Do you want a seed of promise (Genesis 21:12)? Then you need to protect them from those who would corrupt them.
There is no need to worry about a child that should be cast out. God will hear their prayers and he will look out for them (Genesis 21:16-20) when they turn back to him. No doubt, Abraham was praying for Ishmael, as well, just like you will be. You may do the praying but they are the ones making the choices. And until they turn back to the Lord, there is very little else that you can do. The Lord completely understands. Jesus talked about the children of the kingdom being cast out (Matt 18:10-12) and he cast out the money changers from the temple (Matt 21:12).
Sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:2). Here is the toughest one of all. Isaac was the “good” kid. But God tests your obedience to, your love for and your fear of the Lord (Genesis 22:12, 18). He wants to know whether you love him or your children more (Matt 19:29). Abraham had to put Isaac into the hands of God. He had to trust God. Yet, this is exactly what God did with his own Son when he sacrificed him for us. If your children are going to serve the Lord and do something great for him, then you must let them be a living sacrifice for God. And we are to provide ourselves a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1).
Conclusion: what we learn from Abrahams family is that when Abraham left home, he was blessed. When he separated from Lot, he was blessed more. When he cast out Ishmael, he was blessed abundantly. When he sacrificed Isaac, he was blessed beyond measure. His seed became “great” as the stars of heaven. And Abraham was justified. That’s why the Bible refers to him as “father” Abraham.
For God to be able to do “great” things through us, we sometimes must leave our land and family, let those who don’t want to go separate themselves, cast out those who don’t want to serve God, and even let those whom we love be sacrificed for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.