Abraham, a very important hero from Genesis, was the first person to believe in a single God. He was the first to show devoted faith to God and risk everything to follow God. He always found strength in his faith in God, but sometimes his unyielding, strong faith was a weakness that almost got good people hurt. Abraham is one of the most important people in the Old Testament because he was the first person to believe in and be called by God. "The Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from the land of our kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities in the earth shall find blessing in you." ' (Genesis 12: 1-3). This is God's call to Abraham and God promises to give Abraham all of those things if Abraham will do what God tells him to do. Abraham does what God says not knowing what he might have to do in the future and only knowing that he is leaving almost everything behind him.
Abraham has no real reason to believe in God other than what God said to him. Promises from a god that nobody knows and that one person has only briefly spoken with is not much to base leaving everything behind to do what this God says. Another risk Abraham takes is believing in, and following a God that no one else believes in. He follows God through a pagan society where everyone worships different gods. Knowing that God is the one and true god he openly worshiped God and put himself in danger, but he always has faith that God will protect him. Whenever Abraham needs help and strength he could find it in his faith in God.
Abraham's main strength is his faith because with it he is able to get through things that are hard for him and situations in which he needs God's help. One instance when Abraham's faith in God brings him strength is when he is upset that he has no children and a servant is going to be his heir. "'O sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? ... You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." ' (Genesis 15: 2, 3). Because Sarah is barren Abraham can't have any children that are of his blood. God promises Abraham that he will have a son.
'"This man will not be our heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir... Look up at the heavens, and count the stars, if you can... So shall your offspring be." ' (Genesis 15: 5). Abraham had faith in what God told him even though it seemed impossible. This gave Abraham strength because he had hope for getting a son instead of discouragement because a servant would be his heir.
Because he believes God will let him have a son and is always faithful in God he eventually gets a son and names him Isaac. Another time Abraham's faith in God gives him strength is when Sarah wants Hagar and Ishmael gone. Abraham doesn't want to force his son to leave so he doesn't know what to do. "The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, 'Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." ' (Genesis 21: 11, 12). This is what God tells Abraham to do and Abraham does it because he has faith in everything God says to him.
Sending his son away would be a very hard thing to do and without having faith in God's decision and trust that God would keep them well, it would be basically impossible to do. Abraham's faith was also a weakness. Having a faith where he never questioned anything God said wasn't always a good thing. He almost killed his own son and would have if he hadn't been stopped.
"Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham, Abraham! ... Do not lay a hand on the boy"' (Genesis 22: 10). Abraham was barely stopped in time to keep Isaac alive. Abraham wouldn't have even gotten anything out of killing his son but he would have done it because he was so obsessed with his faith that he never questioned God or what God said. "'No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations." ' (Genesis 17: 5).
Abram received the name Abraham because Isaac's birth would make him the father of many nations. All western religions trace their roots back to Abraham. Being the first person to believe in a single god and being the father of all of the religions that worship one god makes Abraham one of the most important religious people in biblical history.