If you grew up going to Sunday school, no doubt you’ve heard many stories about Abraham and his family. You’d be hard pressed to find a Sunday school curriculum that goes through the stories of the Old Testament that doesn’t include the stories of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his son Issac. They are such a central family in the Bible, it would be very odd to leave them out.
But on that same token, there are some members of Abram’s family that we do tend to leave out. Abram’s second wife and his oldest son don’t get the same limelight as Sarah and Isaac, but they are very much part of Abram’s family and they are key elements of the Biblical account of Abram’s story. And as you might have now guessed, they will also be the focus of this next chapter in our study of the life of Abraham.
Now before we jump into this today, I want to remind you of three key facts. If you’ve missed a couple messages over these past several weeks, here’s what you need to know about Abram in order to really understand this chapter today.
#1.When we first met Abram in back Genesis chapter 12, God promised Abram that his descendants would become a great nation. In fact, over the past couple chapters, God has reaffirmed that promise several times – stating that Abram’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky – they would be like dust – so much that you could never count them all! That’s the first key fact to remember.
#2. Abram was currently childless. His wife Sarai had been unable to become pregnant, and so to-date, they had no children. That’s fact #2.
#3. Abram was getting pretty old. We’ll see at the end of this chapter that Abram was now 86 years old. And I know that people lived longer back then, but still – Abram is no spring chicken anymore.
So these three facts set the stage for today’s chapter. God had promised Abram a son, Abram currently had no son, and Abram is starting to get old. With that in mind, let’s turn to Genesis chapter 16, verse 1.