By Shane Lockard
“Father Abraham had many sons; and many sons had Father Abraham.” I always enjoy watching the kids at church sing this popular song, adding in the various movements of the arms, legs, and head. But it’s more than just a cute children’s song. It’s a truth Paul mentions in Galatians 3.
Paul said in Galatians 3:7, “Those who have faith are children of Abraham.” I appreciate the life of Abraham. He was counted as righteous before God, even though he was far from perfect. Consider these flaws:
(1) Twice he lied about his wife Sarai (Genesis 12:11-13; 20:1-13).
(2) He was unsure of God’s promise (Genesis 15:2, 3).
(3) He failed to wait, jumping ahead of God’s plan for him (Genesis 16:2-4).
(4) He laughed in unbelief at God’s plan to give him a son in his old age (Genesis 17:17).
But before we come down too hard on ol’ Abe, we have to admit we can be a lot like him. We can be dishonest, too. We may change a number or two on our tax forms, stretch the truth in front of the boss, or exaggerate to our parents to stay out of trouble. We are sometimes unsure of God’s plan mapped out in his Word because it runs counter to what we see in the world. We can be impatient and make hasty decisions that hurt our families and ourselves. And while we may never laugh at God in disbelief, doubts sometimes enter our minds.
The good news is that we are not sons of Abraham because of his mistakes. Despite his failures, he was declared righteous because of his faith demonstrated by his works. I want to have a sacrificial faith like he did. “Father Abraham had many sons . . . and I am one of them, and so are you.” We are, if our lives are characterized by an unwavering faith in God.
The next time you hear children singing “Father Abraham,” go ahead and join in. You might as well do the motions, too!
Shane Lockard is the minister of the Zebulon Church of Christ in Pikeville, Kentucky. He and his wife Bethany have three children: Aly, Luke, and Elijah.