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God says,

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:”

Romans 4:11

Abraham was not only the natural father of the of Israel, but through his faith he became the father of all those who believe.  Therefore, no matter what our origin, natural or spiritual, if we have faith in God, we are the seed of Abraham.

Here is a truth,

“Abraham was a man approved of by God”

Abraham,  perfect in his generation became the father of a holy nation.  Our lord would do nothing except He told the father of nations.  God’s friend even brought forth the promised son, Isaac, in whom all the nations are blessed.

What I want to speak about today is how we often assume we know a man of God but do not realize the full story of who He really is. Sometimes we “read” into a person’s life only the parts that make sense to us and forget about or ignore the rest.  However, here is the “rest” of the story about Abraham.

To begin with, Abraham married his half-sister.

“And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”

Genesis 20:12

Yes, the father of our faith married the daughter of one of his fathers wives.  Evidently, the gene pool was not degraded to a point where God felt he had to prohibit such marriages (Leviticus 18:9)

Next,  we all know the story of Sara and Hagar.  Sara could not initially bear children and so, according to the custom of the day, gave Abraham Hagar (Sara’s handmaiden) to bear a child for her husband.

Abraham’s third wife

What many do not know is that, after Sara passed away, Abraham married yet another lady named Keturah. God says,

“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.  And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”

Genesis 25:1,2

Therefore, besides Ishmael and Isaac Abraham had 6 more children.

But wait, there’s more.

“But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.”

Genesis 25:6

Therefore, there we at least two more children from at least two concubines bringing the total of Abraham’s offspring to ten or more. I have often wondered if the descendants of Abraham’s concubines were in fact the origin of three kings that brought gifts to the newborn Christ.

Here is a truth,

“When we read scripture, unless we pay close attention, opening our hearts and minds to what God is really saying, we tend to see only what we want to see.”

Abraham, the father of our faith, in reality had at least 5 wives during his lifetime and many of them concurrently.  This part of Abraham’s life is never examined carefully because it does not fit our preconceived notions of holiness.

Doubtless, should Abraham came to our churches today we would shun him as a sinner.  Yet, when we hypocritically pick and choose what we like and ignore the “whole” man we do err.

We have many preconceptions about the scriptures

This is even true of Jesus.  If you look at movies about his life (with the possible exception of “The Passion” by Mel Gibson) the portray Jesus as a blue eye man with a British accent.  Sometimes Jesus appears to be Catholic and other times appears to be non-denominational.  We create God in our own image rather than understand who and what He really is.

It is very important to humble ourselves and get to know God in actuality and not just in theory.  We must come to terms with who He is and not just who we want Him to be. The Holy Spirit pierces our ethnocentric ideas.  Therefore align yourselves with God rather than forcing Him to align with us. Here is an uncomfortable truth,

“Abraham had many wives, some at the same timr, plain and simple.  Abraham married his half-sister.  Yet, as much as these things may offend our present day sensibilities Abraham was a friend of God and the father of our faith.

God says,

“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

James 2:23

Will we accept what God does in the way that God does it? Or will we reject God and try to explain away the parts that don’t make sense to our natural minds?  Should we only preach and teach only the portions of the scriptures that do not offend religious and social norms? Or will we dare to tell the truth not matter how unpopular it may be?

Furthermore, God says,

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”

2 Timothy 4:3

What exactly is sound doctrine?  It is merely what your particular church teaches or is it something more? In its most elemental form sound doctrine is simply a correct understanding of God’s word as taught by His Spirit.  Here is a truth,

“A great deal of what is thought to be “sound doctrine” is simply man’s reasoning sprinkled with a liberal portion of natural minded thinking topped off by fear of what other people may say.”

We are currently living in a time when people do not accept sound doctrine. However, sound doctrine is not the dogma that the church.  Sound doctrine is the revelation that “ministers” fear to speak to this generation. The sad fact is that many will not preach and teach the whole truth of God.  Worse yet, many call what is actually of God, heresy.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God

In conclusion, have a the guts to preach the truth or have the decency to step away from the pulpit. Do not fool yourself that the people cannot “handle” the truth”.  Don’t deceive yourself into believing that you’re keeping back the whole word of God for their sakes. Put down the Bible and remain silent if you’re not willing to declare God as He truly is.  I you will not risk everything, nothing of any value will be done.  Counting Abraham as the father in the faith, let’s own him in every detail.  Let us champion the real father of our faith instead of a sanitized caricature of someone we find more acceptable.

Sacrifice by Bob Fitts (Richard Harris)