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Bible verses about Abraham's Faithfulness
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18-20

Jacob must have been taught about tithing by his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Genesis 14 succinctly reveals several principles of tithing. First, the tithe goes to God through His representative, the priest. Second, the Bible repeats that it is one-tenth. Third, this law was in effect long before God commanded it through Moses. Fourth, Abram, blessed for his faithfulness to God, gave tithes in recognition of God's rulership and providence.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 

Genesis 14:20

Abraham returned from the war against the kings, bringing back a great deal of booty.

The speaker in verse 20 is Melchizedek, and the "he" who gave Him tithes refers to Abraham, as Hebrews 7 clearly states. This occurred around 430 years prior to the making of the Old Covenant. Tithing is not stated here as a law but is introduced into the flow of the story of the Bible as an already ongoing practice, which Abraham already knew. How did Abraham know to give ten percent?

How did Abraham know God's laws, which were formally written 430 years later? By God's own testimony, Abraham kept them and was faithful (Genesis 26:5). There are two possible answers.

First, in James 2:23, Abraham is called "the friend of God," indicating a close relationship. He is the only one in the Book who is called God's friend. In John 15:14, Jesus said to the apostles, "You are My friends. And, do you know what? Because you are My friends, I am going to tell you what I am going to do."

God told Abraham His laws! God says Abraham heard and obeyed in Genesis 26:5. How did he know about tithing? God told him about it. Abraham was God's friend, and God wanted Abraham to act righteously. Because God did not want his life to be a mess, He instructed him in His way, His laws, and commandments!

Secondly, God told Adam and Eve His laws, being their Father. What kind of Parent would He be if He sent them out into life without instruction? That is a parent's responsibility, and God instructed His children.

Consider Genesis 4, in which Cain and Abel made their sacrifices. How did Cain and Abel know what to sacrifice? Did it just pop into their minds? Adam and Eve, who had walked with God in the Garden, told Cain and Abel what the appropriate sacrifices were. When the time came to sacrifice, Abel was obedient, while Cain was not. In Romans 4:15, Paul said that where there is no law there is no transgression. God spoke harshly to Cain, and pronounced a curse on him. If Cain did not know better, then God would have been unjust in His punishment.

Abraham knew God required tithes. If we follow tithing through the Bible, it does not even appear as a law until the book of Leviticus and Numbers 18 for the priesthood.

Next, Jesus Christ commands tithing in Matthew 23:23. Our Lord and Savior was in favor of tithing. He should be, because He gave it at the beginning. He told Abraham about it. He assigned it to the Levitical priesthood. Then, by very strong implication in Hebrews 7, tithing is assigned to the church. There has never been any deviation. Tithing has always been God's manner of financing His educational service.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

Genesis 22:1

After what things had passed? What had passed was the whole, interesting story of his life up to this point. It has been said that to follow God Abraham gave up more than any other man. Now, at age 133, he is looking back on a lifetime of trials. Perhaps he thought that he had proved his faith and could relax a bit and enjoy his old age. God, however, had another test for him, the biggest yet. Though God does not tempt us (James 1:13), He does test us. Nevertheless, Abraham eagerly responds when God calls his name: "Here I am!" What tremendous humility this shows.

Mike Ford
Abraham's One God


 

Genesis 22:11

This is the One who became Jesus Christ calling out to him. Note the exclamation point. He is not calling to Abraham softly, but excitedly and urgently! Abraham had proved his loyalty and needed to go no further. What was Christ thinking here, as he watched this scene unfold? Could He have been imagining His own sacrifice to come?

Mike Ford
Abraham's One God


 

Genesis 22:12

God is assured that He has first place in the heart of his servant Abraham. Again, notice the tenderness in the words. He calls Isaac "your son, your only son," thinking no doubt of His own relationship with His Father.

Mike Ford
Abraham's One God


 

Genesis 26:5

Abraham passed the test. What did he do? He upheld his end of the covenant: ". . . because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 27)


 

Joshua 24:2-3

When Abraham was called, he was literally living in Babylon on the plain of Shinar in the city of Ur. He did not come from a God-fearing family, and there is no evidence that he was converted at the time of Genesis 12:1. Every indication is that he, too, was a heathen. As we shall see, every called person begins in idolatry.

God had in all likelihood begun to work with him, preparing him for his calling by guiding his thinking to begin to question areas of life he had previously accepted without question. Historical traditions indicate that his family was of a priestly caste, and perhaps he was already questioning the validity of the false gods he served.

Acts 7:2-4 clarifies a few things relating to the early period of his calling:

And [Stephen] said, "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell."

What is included in God's appearance is not known. Whether it was literal, in a vision, or by dream is not explained anywhere else. The element we need to understand is that, as with us, Abraham did not earn his calling. He had done nothing to earn or deserve God's notice.

Isaiah 51:2 adds a further piece of information worth considering: "Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him." While Sarah is at least mentioned, no other family members are included within the scope of this statement. It appears that several members of Abraham's family depended on him, since much of his family left with him, yet God makes clear that Abraham was the only one spiritually called.

To how many of us has a similar thing happened? Why does this happen? Nobody knows! It is unanswerable. God shows mercy to whom He shows mercy. He loves Jacob but loves Esau less by comparison, despite their being twins. He accepts Abel and rejects Cain. He chooses only Noah among millions of others to whom He could have given grace.

This we know: At some time before leaving Babylon, God became a living reality to Abraham to a degree no one else near and dear to him experienced. Even amidst his personal self-seeking and self-pleasing, he was motivated to leave his set routines of life. It must have been similar to what Job experienced when he said, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You" (Job 42:5).

Whether the opening of Abraham's mind was gradual or sudden, God had graciously revealed Himself enough to make him move, and he did so to the extent of leaving his homeland and journeying over 1,200 miles, probably on foot or at best by donkey or cart, to a land known for violent weather, especially for its high temperatures.

Abraham was already 70 years old, yet he severed virtually every relationship that matters to normal human concepts of life and well-being. For a long time, stability became a thing of the past, considering that he never again dwelt in a home with foundations. This may seem an unusually hard and harsh requirement. Nevertheless, he embarked on a journey into an utterly unknown future.

What can we learn from this God-engineered example? Undoubtedly, He was testing Abraham, a process we should expect a measure of in our calling as well. We may never have to leave our homeland and set out on a long journey without knowing where we are headed, but it is highly likely that disruptions will accompany our calling.

A primary instruction God wants us to understand from Abraham's calling is that we must make a complete break from our old lives. We must clearly begin to sever ourselves from the old, "inner" life that was implanted in our character by our living according to the course of this world (Ephesians 2:2).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

Romans 11:26-29

God has a commitment to Israel—and thus us—because of the obedience of one man, Abraham. We are reaping the benefits of the good Abraham sowed almost four thousand years ago because God is faithful to His promises!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Little Things Count!


 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Paul describes what happened to Abraham at his calling and must happen to us. Abraham's mind—and therefore his life—was so arrested and redirected by God's revelation of Himself that he responded dramatically, despite the realization that he could no longer live as he had for 70 years. He had to make changes, and some of them would be considerable and costly.

He could no longer live completely for himself. He no longer perceived people as he had all his life. He especially could no longer perceive his new God and Savior as He formerly had. A new man was being created from within, so he had to make a clean and permanent break from his old life. His life now had a new Object toward which he must walk. His life had a new direction, a new relationship, new desires, and new requirements to fulfill.

We must never forget that Abraham was a special case; he is the prototype who set a vivid, overall example for all his spiritual children to follow to some degree. There were bumps along the way; at times, he fell short of the ideal. Yet, on the whole, he did nothing less than set a superb example for all of us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

Galatians 3:15-17

Four hundred and thirty years after the covenant God made with Abraham the law came. We understand that it was already in existence, but it was given to Israel in a codified form as a portion of the covenant that God made with him.

The real beginning of the Old Testament church was not at Mt. Sinai but in the land of inheritance where Abraham pitched his tent 430 years earlier; the Old Testament church began with Abraham. And the New Testament church, in that sense, also began at the same time—because Abraham is the father of the faithful. This highlights how important Nisan 15 is.

We understand that the real, true beginning of the New Testament church was on the day of Pentecost—when God gave His Spirit. But these are the very roots of that event! By combining Exodus 12:40-41 with Genesis 17 and Galatians 3, we know that these two events, God's covenant with Abraham and Israel's exodus from Egypt, took place on the same date 430 years apart.

From that small beginning with Abraham and Sarah came Isaac and Rebecca and then Jacob and his wives and children. Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt. Then the famine drove Jacob down into Egypt along with all of his relatives, where they grew into a sizable nation subjugated by the Egyptians. They became a nation of about 2½ million people. Then came the raising up of Moses and the destruction of Egypt culminating in the slaying of the firstborn on Nisan 14. And then the climax: The children of Israel leaving Egypt 430 years to the day that God entered into the covenant with Abraham!

On that very day, Abraham, Ishmael, and all the males of Abraham's household were circumcised, and thus they received the sign of the covenant. The covenant made at Mt. Sinai was essentially the same covenant as that entered into by God and Abraham but expanded to include the entire nation (that is, all the descendants of Abraham). Added to it, then, were civil and ceremonial laws necessary for administering the covenant to the whole nation. That makes Nisan 15 a very significant date.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Night to be Much Observed


 

Galatians 3:18

An inheritance is something that is given by a parent to a child. It is not something that is earned—a man does not inherit his father's estate because of his own character, but because the estate passes from father to son. While it is certainly possible for a father to intervene and exclude a son from inheritance because of the life he is living, as a general rule the inheritance is not earned but is freely given.

Likewise, if the inheritance of this earth and eternal life came simply by obeying the law, the covenant with Abraham would have been very different. God would have told Abraham, "If you are perfect in all of your ways and never sin, then I will give you these things." While the agreement with Abraham was conditional—there was a part that Abraham had to play—it was not because of Abraham's strict obedience to a moral code that Christ came to confirm the promises.

Christ came for precisely the opposite reason: Because of the human heart, human nature, and sin, we cannot have access to God. His sacrifice allows us to be justified before God, not because of works, but because God has decided to justify us. After justification and the receipt of the Holy Spirit, then we are able to follow the intent of God's instructions through a process of sanctification. If we make it through this process of God recreating Himself in us, we will be resurrected and given the promises that were made to Abraham and his spiritual children—not because we were perfect in this life, but because God is faithful to His word.

David C. Grabbe


 

Galatians 3:29

In Galatians 3:29, Paul lists two results of being "Christ's." First, we become "Abraham's seed." Second, we become "heirs according to the promise." In Romans 4:13, Paul makes plain that this second consequence of being Christ's also pivots around faith: "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."

Once more, advantage of birth, as real as it may be to the people of the world, is irrelevant to God for the purposes of salvation. Anyone with the faith of Jesus Christ becomes an heir to the blessing of the promise. "But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe" (Galatians 3:22). The promise, given to Abraham and repeated in various forms to Isaac and Jacob, is in fact one promise, but has a multitude of ramifications. The various statements of this promise appear in a collage of passages in Genesis (Genesis 12:2-3; 13:14-15; 15:18-21; 17:4-9; 22:16-18; 26:4-5; 28:13-14).

Charles Whitaker
Servant of God, Act II: God's Gift of Faith


 

Hebrews 11:8

Paul first draws attention to the fact that, when God called Abram, as he was called then, he obeyed without knowing where he was to go. His reference is to Genesis 12:1-3:

Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

He had to leave his country, which was essentially Babylon; his family, meaning his ethnic kindred, the Semitic people; and his house, his near relatives. Verse 4 implies that he did not dilly-dally around, waiting for further or more specific directions, but that he responded quickly. It is not said how the Lord appeared to him. Perhaps He appeared to him physically, which would explain his quick departure.

Maybe God prepared him beforehand by revealing His existence to Abram, and this brought about social circumstances that added to Abram's urgency. In other words, God provided proof of His existence, which led to Abram receiving a measure of persecution in reaction to what he was learning. This is not unusual for God to do; He often provides incentive by leading a person through experiences in preparation for a more formal calling later.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

 




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