Israel IN Egypt Abraham had believed that God would give him a son, but now he waits not God's time, and at Sarai's suggestion he associates with Hagar, a bondmaid, and Ishmael is born, Gen. 16. -- a Figure of the law, that is, man's attempt to possess the Blessing by his own effort. God now reveals Himself to Abraham as 'the Almighty God,' a name which signifies that all resource is in God Himself. 'God talked with him,' and made a Covenant with him according to that name. It is now that his name is changed from Abram, because he was to be a Father of many nations. Abraham was to walk before the Almighty God and be Perfect, and was to keep the Covenant by having all the males circumcised (a Figure of no Confidence in the flesh), which he at once put into practice. Sarai's s name was altered to Sarah, for she was to be a princess and should have a son. Abraham entertained three visitors: on two leaving him the third is spoken of as the Lord who asks, "shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do?" According to John 15: 14, 15, this gives the key to Abraham being called "the friend of God." 2 Chr. 20: 7; Isa. 41: 8; James 2: 23. God opened His mind to him, and Abraham was emboldened to plead for the righteous in Sodom. Abraham's faith again fails him and at Gerar he once more calls Sarah his sister, which might have led to sin had not God protected her, and Abraham is again rebuked.
Isaac is born, and conflict ensues between that which is a type of the flesh and the Spirit: Hagar and her son Ishmael are cast out. Gen. 21: cf. Gal. 4: 22-31. God then tried the faith of Abraham by telling him to offer up his son Isaac for a burnt Offering. Abraham obeyed, and, but for the intervention of the angel of the Lord, would have killed his son, believing "that God was able to raise him up even from the dead." After the death and Resurrection in Figure of Isaac, the unconditional promise is confirmed to Abraham that in his seed -- which is Christ -- should all the nations of the earth be blessed. Gen. 22: 18; Gal. 3: 14-18. If any are Christ's, they are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise. Gal. 3: 29. The promise is sure to all the seed, "not only to that which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the Father of us all." Rom. 4: 16. Abraham was by faith so much a Stranger (Heb. 11: 9) that, on the death of Sarah, he had to buy a piece of ground of the Children of Heth, to secure a Sepulchre in the land. Gen. 23. He was so careful that Isaac should not marry one of the daughters of the Canaanites that he sent his Servant (Eliezer perhaps) to his own kindred to seek a bride for Isaac, being convinced that God would send His angel and prosper the mission, which resulted in Rebecca being the wife of Isaac. Gen. 24. Abraham had another wife, Keturah, and Concubines by whom he had sons; but to these he gave gifts and sent them eastward, so that Isaac and his seed might peacefully dwell in the promised land. Abraham died at the age of 175, and was buried with Sarah. The history of Abraham in Genesis divides itself into three parts. a. Gen. 12 - 14., his public walk and Testimony as called of God. b. Gen. 15 - 21., his private and domestic history with God, illustrating the growth of soul, etc. c. Gen. 22 - 25. give in type a prophetical outline of events: namely, the Sacrifice of Christ; the setting aside of Israel for a time; the call of the bride; and the final settlement of the nations in Blessing in the end of the days. The nation of Israel was descended from Abraham, and we know how zealously they contended for the relationship, though alas, they had not and have not the same faith. Still the land was given to them, and when God's set time comes they will surely be brought back to their 'fatherland' and after trial and Discipline will be blessed therein. Abraham being the Father of Ishmael and the other sons sent into the East it is not to be wondered at that he is a personage of universal fame in that immense quarter of the world, and that there are numerous traditions concerning him. It can Hardly be doubted that their relationship to Abraham will yet be found in their favour during the Millennium when the promise that his seed should be 'as the sand of the sea shore' will have its fulfilment. To the Christian the life of this Patriarch is worthy of the deepest attention, in view of the varied manifestations whereby God revealed Himself to him, whether in the formation of his character under those manifestations, or in the Christian's connections with him in the way of faith, or with respect to the unconditional promises made to him as to the possession of the land of Palestine both in the past and in the future.