God specializes in using ordinary people who are willing to trust Him to keep His promises to accomplish extraordinary things in their lives and in the world. Abraham is a great example of this truth.
Abraham left his family and homeland to go to a yet unseen land God had promised him. The land was to become the possession of Abraham and his descendants, and God would bless the world through the resulting nation. Abraham believed God for all of this (see Gen. 11:27–12:7; 15:1-6; 17:1-27; Heb. 11:8-10).
Abraham and his wife, Sarah, waited many years for Isaac, the son who was an essential part of God’s promise. Abraham was 75 years old when God first appeared to him and was 100 years old when Isaac was born (vv. 17:17; 21:5). The couple waited 25 years. No child, no nation—it was that simple. Or was it? No child—yet God had made a promise!
When Isaac was a boy or possibly a young man, Abraham demonstrated he was willing to give him back to God. At this point, Isaac, unmarried, had fathered no children (see Gen. 22:1-18; Heb. 11:17-19).
Despite his great faith, Abraham was known to doubt (see Gen. 17:17-19) and falter (see 12:10-20; 16:1-5; 20:1-13). However, he also was generous and had grave concern for others. We see evidence of a strong prayer life, as well (see 13:1-13; 18:16-33).
God gets the credit for all He accomplished through Abraham. He initiated a covenant with Abraham, and He sealed it with a practice that was common during that day (see 15:6-21). Later, in reaffirming the covenant, God changed Abraham’s name (see 17:1-8). He had been called Abram, meaning “exalted father.” His new name, Abraham, meant “father of nations” or “father of a multitude.”
Indeed, Abraham did become the father of a multitude, as the presence of the Jewish race today and throughout history affirms. Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrew people and the nation ofIsrael, died at the ripe old age of 175 (see 25:7-9).