Abram, which was the name Abraham had at the time of the Covenant referred to yesterday means ‘exalted father’ and Abraham which he became, ‘Father of many nations’. This may seem strange naming, as when both names were given, he was childless. However scripture records that
Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Romans 4.3
and at an age when both he and Sarah his wife were well past childbearing their son
Reflect for a moment on the depth of the meaning of ‘Abraham believed God’. He saw the years go by and no sign of any offspring. How could God fulfil the promise made to him? Was it a dream? As his 100th birthday approached could he still trust the promises?
He believed God because God had promised and Isaac was born. He fathered other children but Isaac was the child of promise producing in due course two sons
JACOB and ESAU
The account of these two is a complex and unhappy one in many ways as Isaac and Rebekah had favourites resulting in family infighting but this was no ordinary family but a key part of the Advent preparation as Jacob, albeit by devious means, was the one, who later named Israel, was the patriarch from whose family line the Saviour was to be born.
The promise was on course. Abraham to Isaac. Isaac to Jacob. Jacob to 12 sons and the promise now begins to look realisable except that towards the end of Jacob’s life this embryo family 70 in number were no longer in the Land promised. Abraham had been blessed for his obedience, and in a small way in Egypt his offspring were a blessing to many outside the family but that is for another Advent door!
The family line of Jesus at the human level were a very mixed bunch. What an encouragement that is to you and I who also make up a very mixed bunch!