Do the negative actions of a patriarch show you anything about the character of Abraham?
Abraham did what we all do when we are waiting on God to fulfill His promise to us after a while he began to doubt that God would protect him for the duration of the wait. Afraid that he would be killed for being Sarah's husband, he lied to Pharaoh, gained a lot of riches, but got into trouble for sinning against God and Pharaoh. But God proved that He was still protecting Abraham when Pharaoh did not kill him or his wife, but set them both free to continue the path that God had placed them on. Later on, with the sacrifice of Isaac, God tested Abraham's faith again, only this time of a more serious nature. This shows that Abraham was just as human as the rest of us, patriarch or not. Even the greatest of leaders must be tested with a small amount of leadership before they can lead the whole army. God treated Abraham (and us) no differently than he did Moses and Joseph. One started with sheep (Moses) and the other started with a household (Joseph) to care for and protect. All three followed God so well that we get to read about their faith (and at times a lack of it) in the pages of the Bible, so we can see that God will fulfill any plan that He calls us to follow, if we but have the faith to believe Him with our whole heart.
Were Abraham's actions repeated by anyone else in the Old Testament?
Moses and Abraham have both made the same mistake in thinking that God needed their help in getting God's calling started. Abraham decided to listen to his wife instead of God and lain with Hagar to hurry up an heir to carry on after Abraham died. He and Sarah didn't believe God when He told them that He would give them a son of their own to be the heir of Abraham. In Moses' case, he decided that he needed to help God's call to him to free the slaves by killing an Egyptian who was beating one of his countrymen. Like Abraham, this had consequences; both had to flee where they were to escape the wrath of those they had angered, which in Moses' case were his own newly-acquired people. In both cases, each had to leave their way of life and journey practically alone until they either fulfilled their calling, or began to fulfill their calling in a way that made a difference to the people of Israel. God used their misdeeds as springboards to their growth both physically and spiritually so that they each could do what needed to be done to see the people of Israel become a nation, or, as in the case of the exodus, to become a people and nation once again.
How does God react to these moments of unbelief and indiscretion, not only in Abraham's life, but ours also?
God will allow us a certain degree of humanness when it comes to our occasional doubts and sins. He will not allow us to go too far in them without a test or two to grow us into the faith He needs us to have to believe that He will do all it takes to fulfill His plans, no matter how much we get in the way. Abraham should be viewed as a faithful servant of God. Even though he did stumble in his walk during his call from God, Abraham still fulfilled the plan God had laid out for him to do to begin the nation of Israel. Moses and the Apostle Paul had killed people and yet God used them to do great things for the world. Abraham was as human as we all are. To think that he wasn't is to put him up there with God. Abraham had faults, but with all of his faults God still credited Abraham's faith as proof as his righteousness in God's eyes. What is more exciting is the fact that Jesus Christ looks at all believers the same way. He doesn't see our sin anymore when we call Him Lord and Savior; all He sees is the righteousness of God in us which eclipses any dark stains our sins have caused in our hearts. Our faith in God in times of calling gives God the proof He needs that we accept Him and His plan. The faith needed to actually fulfill that plan can come from God only, never ourselves. I believe this is what Abraham and Moses had to believe and grow into. They started out in their calling in their own faith, but soon learned that disaster could happen if they relied on their own faith for too long. It was only when they had matured into God's faith that they were able to complete the mission God had placed them on. That is how it will be for all of us. We all need the faith of Joseph, who believed God all the way to being the Pharaoh's right hand man. But, even if we don't, God's faith in us is all that is needed to succeed.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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