The life story of Abraham begins in Ur of the Chaldeans where Abraham lived in a comfortable home and in pleasant circumstances. Archaeology has disclosed that Ur, located not too far from Babylon, was a prosperous city with lovely homes, beautiful parks and public buildings. Abraham was comfortable and secure in Ur, but it was also a wicked city where pagan sacrifices — including human sacrifices — abounded. This was no place for Abraham's faith to be nurtured.
Genesis 12 (NKJV)
12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan.
We are not told whether Abram and God spoke face to face or a voice out of the sky. But for reasons we will explore we will uncover the story of an extraordinary man led by an awesome God.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abram's leap of faith to leave a comfortable life he knew and venture off to an unknown land far away with his father and nephew Lot appears to be an insane move, so why would he do it? Well it is evident that Abram was an intelligent man having property and possessions. It is quite easy to assume that God and Abram already had a relationship that covered and extended a vast period. So when God asked Abram to move, he already trusted God. He was way too smart to risk his family on a whim.
Now jumping forward to Genesis 18 is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God plainly tells Abram that He (God) is going to destroy these cities for their unceasing sin. At this time, it’s wise to get out while you still can but Abram doesn’t respond that way.
Abraham’s compassion for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals the heart of a man who cared greatly for others, including those who did not follow God. In fact, the angelic visitors who visited Lot were threatened by men of Sodom who desired to have sex with them. Though Sodom’s citizens were wicked, Abraham did not wish to see their destruction.
Abrams behavior at this time is not what we would consider normal. Abram knows he is being led by the God and yet he is bold enough to compassionately ask for mercy for a people that don’t even like them.
What is revealed here is that Abram had a deep relationship with God; they not only knew each other but they were friends. Abram was righteous according to God's standard and Abram knew it, which gave him the relationship and the courage to ask for the lives of two totally corrupt cities.
17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Like Abraham, we are called to have great compassion for others, including those whose lives do not follow God’s ways. Also, we must ultimately accept God’s judgments, even when His decisions are not our desired choices.