Okay, Okay—how on earth does the great patriarch Abraham make a “bad apples” list? He was chosen by God to found a nation of believers. All Israel looked to him as father of the nation; in fact, all believers of all ages are his spiritual children. His life was sprinkled with towering examples of faith, courage, and trust in God. Romans chapter 4 and Hebrews chapter 11 hold him up as a shining example of faith in God’s promises.
But this pillar of faith had shameful moments of fear, doubt, and cruelty too. In his impatience to “help” God give him the son he and Sarah were so desperately waiting for, he committed adultery with Sarah’s maid Hagar. She conceived a son, Ishmael. But when Sarah finally bore Abraham her own son, Isaac, the two women could not abide each other.
Though a wealthy herdsman with many servants working for him, Abraham basically threw Hagar and his son Ishmael out into the desert with only a bag lunch: “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba” (Genesis 21:14). These painful stories remind us that Abraham’s righteousness came from his Savior, not his own perfect life performance.
Note also that God’s team is made up of some pretty flawed people. Like you and me.