Welcome, sons and daughters of Abraham! (Part 1)

Welcome, Oman! A few days ago someone from your country visited this blog.

I am posting a certain Bible verse in the languages of all those who visit here.  The official language of Oman is Arabic and I posted the Gospel of John chapter 3 verse 16 in Arabic on November 16.  We have had other visitors to this blog from Arabic-speaking countries (some of which I have just discovered!): Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, SomaliaTunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

In this post I want to give a special welcome to all of you from lands where Arabic is spoken and the Qur’an (القرآن الكريم) is revered, to those of you who worship the God of Abraham (أبراهام).

The history of faithful Abraham, who is the father not only of Muslims but of Christians and Jews, is given in the very first book of the Christian and Hebrew Scriptures, which is Genesis (“Beginnings”) Genesis chapters 11-25

In Abram’s first encounter with the living God when he was 75 and living in his father’s house in Haran, the LORD said to him,

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12

Later, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15

Although Abram was childless because his wife Sarai was barren, the LORD promised “‘one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’  Then He brought him outside his tent at night and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’  And He said to Abram, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And Abram believed in the Lord, and He accounted his faith to him for righteousness.

The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates…” Genesis 15

As the LORD promised, Abram finally fathered a son when he was 86 years old.  Ishmael was conceived and born for his wife Sarai through her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar. Genesis 16

When Abram’s firstborn, Ishmael, was 13, the LORD appeared to Abram, changed his name to Abraham and his wife’s name to Sarah. The LORD told Abraham again that he would be the father of a multitude of nations and that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendants. He told Abraham, “I will give you a son through Sarah; kings of nations will come from her.”

Abraham loved his son Ishmael, so he said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God told him, “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac, and I will establish my eternal covenant with him.” (“In Isaac your seed shall be called” or “Through Isaac your descendants shall be named.”) Genesis 17 and Genesis 21:12.

But the LORD promised that Abraham’s firstborn Ishmael would also become great: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” ( Genesis 17; also Genesis 21:13Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed” and Genesis 21:18 “Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”)

Abraham’s faith in God’s promise did not falter. In the book of Romans chapter 4, verses 18-21 the apostle Paul writes, “[Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,  and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in Hebrews, chapter 11: 8-12 and 17

Because Abraham believed the LORD’s promise, the LORD “counted Abraham’s faith as righteousness.” And the LORD has always been faithful to His unilateral covenant with all of Abraham’s descendants in Genesis 12, that

“I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

 

To be continued

 

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About Jessica Renshaw

hiddeninjesus@gmail.com
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