A Father Before His TimeAbraham, a father before his time, was … 

A man who honored God first. In celebration of his triumph in getting Lot back, Abram gave glory to God by giving a tenth of the spoils of victory to Melchizidek, a mysterious king/priest figure who would become a type and shadow of Jesus Christ. With a cheerful spirit that preceded the Old Testament law of tithing and more clearly reflects the way we should give now, Abram recognized that without God, he could not have had the success he did.

A man who honored his wife. Sarai was getting antsy because 11 years after God first spoke to her husband, the promise that had been relayed to her didn’t seem to be nearing any kind of fulfillment. So, she proposed that Abram get her a child through Hagar, her maidservant. That was an acceptable custom in the Middle Eastern culture of that day. And even though it would prove to be a misstep borne out of impatience, Abram honored Sarai by following her lead. When a father guides his household in the fear and admonition of the Lord, even his missteps can work out to fulfill God’s purposes. 

A man who shepherded the promise. God sovereignly and unilaterally entered covenant with Abram, making one of the most outlandish promises recorded in Scripture — namely, that a man without child would one day have more offspring than he could possibly count. And as a constant reminder of the goodness that God would bestow on Abram, here He changed his name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah. God told Abraham to look up to the heavens and count the stars, if he could. And without blinking, Abraham believed that God was fully able to do what He promised. When there are promises in a household, the father is the custodian of those promises and everything he does will be filtered through the certainty that those promises will be fulfilled because God cannot lie.

A man who interceded. By now, everybody knows the evil that Sodom and Gomorrah represented. Abram probably had an idea of it himself because his nephew Lot lived there. When God came down and visited Abram, He revealed to him that He was about to destroy those cities because of their wickedness. Rather than judge them, Abram started interceding with God, trying to sway Him into relenting. He pleaded that if 50 righteous could not be found there, maybe 45. And on and on, Abram pushed in an attempt to save the cities. Maybe 40. Maybe 30. Maybe 20. And finally, maybe 10. Even though Sodom and Gomorrah fell short of even that low threshold, Abram demonstrated a valuable quality in any aspiring father — the role of intercessor. The Bible says Job did the same thing regularly on behalf of his family, thinking, Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. (Job 1:5)

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