The relationship of the Lord and Abraham encompasses many things, but the aspect I want to focus on today is the Lord's patient teaching of Abraham.
Gen 12:1-4 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
The Lord has a promise for Abram: the Lord was going to make a great nation from the descendants of Abram and all the earth would be blessed because of him. This is the first time we see the Lord's teaching of this promise to Abram.
Gen 13:14-18 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
This is after Lot and Abram had gone their separate ways. The Lord reminded Abram of the promise that He had given.
Gen 15:1-6 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
More time has passed, and the Lord is again reminding Abram of His promise. The Lord in the rest of Gen. 15 uses illustrations and examples to teach Abram the promise.
Gen 17:1-2 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Twenty four years have passed since the Lord first told Abram of his promise. The Lord once again reminds Abram of His promise. In this chapter not only does the Lord change Abram's name to Abraham, but He also instructs Abraham to circumcise all the males of his household.
Gen 18:10-14 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
The Lord appears once again to Abraham. This time the Lord reveals to Abraham that Sarah would be having a son, a seemingly impossible task.
Gen 22:1-3 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Now it was time for the test of Abraham's faith. Had Abraham learned the lesson that the Lord had been teaching him for many years?
Gen 22:11-12 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Abraham passed the test with flying colors!
Gen 22:15-18 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Abraham passed the test, and the Lord once again tells Abraham of the promise!
What a patient teacher the Lord is in this story. By our standards today Abraham was not just a grown man, he was an old man, but his age didn't affect the teaching. The Lord many times comes and talks to Abraham about the promise. He didn't just tell Abraham once and that was the end of it; it was over and over and over. The Lord used examples in Gen. 15, circumcision in Gen. 17, and the birth of Issac in Gen.18-19 to teach Abraham the promise. Then when the Lord thought that Abraham was ready He gave the test, and even when the test was passed, the Lord teaches it again.
So let's apply this to our lives. As a parents are we patiently teaching our children the lessons we want them to learn? Parenting involves a lot of teaching. Teaching our children how to obey, how to sit in church, how to eat at the dinner table, how to clean their room, how to be respectful, etc. We so often expect our child to listen to our instruction, then for the rest of their existence do exactly as we instructed. If the Lord didn't expect Abraham who was a grown man to remember his lessons; why do we as parents expect it of our children? Maybe instead of yelling at our kids because they have failed to follow instructions that we may have given them hours, days, or even weeks before; we should take a few minutes to remind them of the instructions. Through out Abraham's life we see that on several occasions he tried to do things his own way showing that he had not yet learned the lesson the Lord was teaching. When that happened, the Lord just stepped in and taught the lesson again.
Let's strive to be patient teachers of our children. Maybe that room isn't getting cleaned properly because our child just needs another lesson. Maybe that chore isn't getting done they way we expect because another lesson is necessary. Before we get angry, let's take the time to teach the lesson again!