Abram "Called to be a Blessing"
(Genesis 11 - 20)

Abram
When Abram was 75 years old: (The Lord said)…”Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)  Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot and all of their possessions to Canaan.  (The Lord said to Abram) “Look at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.”  Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6)

Ishmael
Abram was getting impatient.  He was about 85 years old and God had not yet delivered on his promise.  So his wife Sarai said, “The Lord has kept me from having children.  Go sleep with my maidservant (Hagar); perhaps I can build a family through her.” (Genesis 16:2)  An angel of the Lord said to Hagar, “You shall name him Ishmael…He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (Genesis 16:11b-12)  There was friction between Sarai and Hagar, it makes an interesting story, and eventually Sarai kicks Hagar & Ishmael out (see Genesis 21:8-21).  Even today many Arabs claim Abraham (Abram) as their forefather through Ishmael!

Covenant Confirmed Abram becomes Abraham (Genesis chapter 17)
When Abram was 99 years old God said, “…this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.  No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations…you are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” 

Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis chapters 18 & 19)
Abram learns that the Lord is grieved over the sin in Sodom & Gomorrah so Abram pleads with the Lord, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? …(What if there are 45?)…What if only forty are found there…only thirty…only twenty…only ten…?”  Lot (Abram’s nephew) is warned to get out of town.  He and his daughters escape, but his wife turns to look back and turns into a pillar of salt!  

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NOTE: The Sodom & Gomorrah story is an R (Restricted) or M (Mature) rated passage!  The Bible contains a lot of violence...  The Bible does not sugarcoat issues.  God works through imperfect people—we’ll see that throughout the Bible.