Before there was an Old Testament or a New Testament there was Abraham. He did not get his faith from the bible or a faith book as most of us do, he just knew that God was a real person and he believed in him. When God spoke to Abraham the first time, Abraham did not seem surprised, he just spoke back as if it were the most natural thing in the world. At that time he had nothing to go by since there was nothing written about God as we have today. His was a stone cold heart faith that said that this person was to be believed in and obeyed. That is why the scriptures say, "that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness."
This man who obeyed God when told to leave his relatives and his homeland and settle in a land and among people who were totally different than anything he had ever known never had a pastor or bible teacher to instruct him in listening to Gods voice. He was not a Jew because the twelve tribes had not yet been born. He also had never visited a church building or temple to hear someone speaking of God. The bible never shows him praising God all day or going about reciting scripture in order to make things happen. Like Moses he lived a normal life and went about his business unless God spoke to him. So how did he get his faith? I believe it had to do with his integrity and his realness. Abraham was a man's man who kept it simple and knew that what he had heard was not some craziness from his own mind but the voice of God the creator of all things.
Like Moses he spoke to God as if he had known him all his life without the sing song of religious superstition. When told that God would destroy all of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexual habit of the people, he convinced God to save his nephew Lot and his family which had taken up residence there. This is one of the greatest chapters in the bible and maybe in all literature, a man contesting with God Almighty and getting his way in order to save his beloved ones. The friendship between God and Abraham is one of the most unique stories in the bible, only surpassed by the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
Abraham was such a rare and gifted person that three of the major religions in the world have him as their historical father. To the Jews he is the father of Isaac who is the father of Jacob from which the twelve tribes of Israel were born. To the Muslims he is a prophet and a special friend of God, he is also the father of Ismael from which Mohammed would come, and to the Christians he is the father of faith to whom the promise was made that God would be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was to Abraham that God promised the land of Canaan in Genesis 17 when he said "the whole land of Canaan where you are now an alien I will give as an everlasting possession to you and to your descendants after you and I will be their God.
When God wanted to test Abraham's faith he had him take his son Isaac to a mountain to slay him as an offering. When the Lord saw that Abraham did not value his son above what God had asked him, he promised him victory in everything he would do and that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the beach. Today this prophecy has been partially fulfilled with Christians making up a third of the human population.
What made Abraham even more interesting as a human being in the bible was his lack of what we now call holiness. He was an imperfect man who could lie with the best of us. He was also full of fear and turmoil as when he came before the king in Egypt and lied about his wife being his sister out of fear of being killed. Even though he was so imperfect he still believed God and had great faith in his friend. It is quoted in the bible that he called those things which are not as if they were, being sure that God had the power to make them so. Abraham was one of the first examples of God's grace at work outside of religious works.
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