Imagine a warm, clear summer night with the stars twinkling like billions of diamonds in the sky.
Have you ever tried to count all those pinpoints of light? Picture a glistening stretch of beach. What would it be like to try to count every grain of sand? Impossible! But God once made a promise to a man that his descendants would be “so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable” (Hebrews 11:12). That man’s name was Abram, but God later changed it to Abraham. He was the first Hebrew. God chose Abraham to become the father of the Jewish nation and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Why did God bless Abraham in such an outstanding way? For an answer, we must go back to a time about four hundred years after Noah’s Ark, to a town called Ur of the Chaldees. Here we find a shepherd-farmer named Terah, and his three sons—Abram, Nahor, and Haran. They all had fields of grain and grassland for their sheep and cattle.
Now, the people of Ur had forgotten that God had destroyed the world with a flood because of sin. They had let sin into their lives and did not love or worship God. They worshiped idols, the sun, moon, stars, and even animals and rivers. The people of Ur actually gave their city the name of their moon-god, Ur. In the midst of all this evil, Terah’s son Abram dared to be different. He believed and worshiped the true and living God.
So often today it’s difficult to stand up to our friends at school for what we know is right. We may be called names or picked on if we’re different from the crowd. Abram wasn’t afraid to be different. He disagreed with his entire city, including his own family, because he knew the power and love of God. God’s Word says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Abram was willing to do that
One day God spoke to Abram and told him to leave his family and home. God said he was to move to a land that God would show him. Abram was quick to obey God because he loved Him and wanted to please Him.
Can you imagine packing your belongings and leaving home, family, and friends to go to a place you’ve never seen, or even heard of? That is what Abram did. He gathered his possessions and set out with his wife, Sarai, and his nephew, Lot, to a strange land.
God led Abram to a land called Canaan and told him that because of his faithfulness, He would make his family a great nation and make his name famous. He also promised the land of Canaan to Abram’s family. The most special blessing of all was that through Abram’s family all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
Perhaps Abram didn’t fully realize what God meant by that promise. We now know that it was part of God’s plan that the Savior, Jesus Christ, would be one of his descendants. When God made that promise, He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of many nations.” What wonderful blessings he received because he believed and followed God! His story did not end way back then hundreds of years ago. His example is a challenge to us today.
If we do as Abraham did—believe God and follow Him in whatever He asks us to do—what will God do for us?