Abram fell face down and God said to him: For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations. ―Genesis 17:3–5

Abraham (initially known as Abram) is a prominent Old Testament figure who became father to the whole Israelite nation. Abraham was born in Ur (within present-day Iraq), but his father, Terah, moved the family to Haran (in modern Turkey). After Terah’s death, the Lord spoke to Abraham and commanded that he move further on, to Canaan, promising him an abundance of descendants. The God-fearing man faithfully proceeded to Canaan with his wife, Sarah (also known as Sarai), his nephew, and some servants. They had been settled there only a while when a famine forced Abraham and Sarah to temporarily relocate to Egypt.

Back in Canaan, Abraham was getting quite aged―yet he and Sarah still had no children. Sarah, losing faith in God’s promise, had her maid, Hagar, conceive a child with Abraham, hoping to take the offspring as her own. Unfortunately, Sarah became bitter and cruel toward both Hagar and the son, Ishmael. In due time, Sarah did give birth to her own child; Isaac was born to the elderly couple, bringing them tremendous joy. Sadly, Sarah’s anger toward Hagar and Ishmael only increased. God promised protection for the slave mother and son, so Abraham sent them away to appease Sarah.

Shockingly, when Isaac was just a boy, God spoke some terrifying words to Abraham, ordering the trusting servant to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. Once again, having complete faith in God, Abraham set out to obey the command and prepared to slay his long-awaited son. However, a mere moment before he slashed a knife against his child, a messenger of God commanded the deed to be stopped.

The messenger then praised Abraham for his wonderful loyalty to God and reinforced God’s promise of a great nation of people to descend from Abraham―comparing the number of Abraham’s descendants to the stars in the sky and grains of sand on the seashore.

 

Nine Days with St. Abraham

St. Abraham’s memorial is Oct. 9. Due to his great number of descendants, he could be considered a patron saint of families. Or, because of tremendously obedient trust in God, he might be a saint to turn to when a dose of confidence in God is needed. Consider hanging out with St. Abraham for nine days. Carefully read one passage a day for a novena of days—ponder the meaning of each passage and see if it relates to your life in some way. If desired, ask St. Abraham to pray for your intentions during the nine days!

  • Day 1) Genesis 12:1–10
  • Day 2) Genesis 14:17–20
  • Day 3) Genesis 15:17–21
  • Day 4) Genesis 16:1–16
  • Day 5) Genesis 18:1–15
  • Day 6) Genesis 21:1–21
  • Day 7) Genesis 22:1–19
  • Day 8) Genesis 25:7–11
  • Day 9) Hebrews 11:8-19