The New Testament so explicitly directs us to “walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had” (Rom. 4:12), that it’s a matter of basic discipleship to examine his life in the Old Testament. In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit shows Abraham as more than merely a study of history—he’s a study in prophecy! Abraham’s life is a forecast of (1) the kind of things people of Christ’s kingdom will face, and (2) the ways by which they can triumph through faith. At the outset, God announces a twofold objective: “I want to make your name great,” and “You shall be a blessing.” God’s promise to make Abraham’s name great was not a promise of fame, but a guarantee He would shape great character in him.
The biblical concept of “fame” focuses on the quality of the person’s trustworthiness, integrity, and spiritual weight. That’s important to remember, since today we live in a society which mocks its own habit for “making people famous for nothing more than merely being well known.” Thus fame today may be acquired through scandal as quickly as through accomplishment. Either may make the cover of People Magazine!
But Abraham’s name became great through learning a walk of worship and a pathway of persistent pursuit of God’s will. That’s kingdom character! It’s the path to which the prototype calls us.