Abraham was the father of monotheism, in other words Abraham came to the realization that there is only one God, and that knowledge structured everything he did. All around him people believed in many gods, and for the first 75 years of his life he believed there was a god for everything. There was a god of war, a god of healing, a god of childbirth, a god of harvests, a god for journeys, a god of the sea, a god of the sky, a god for the wind, and a god for the rain. Flocks and herds had their gods as did mountains and rivers. Every tribe and nation had a particular god that watched over it like Hinduism today with tens of thousands of titles for its gods. Forty years ago Professor Donald J. Wiseman gave a lecture at Westminster Chapel entitled The Word of God for Abraham and Today. He said, “Religion in Babylonia at this time was polytheism of the grossest type. The texts mention the names of at least three thousand Sumerian gods, many, of course, titles of one deity. This shows, however, that more than three hundred distinct gods were worshipped.” That was the world of Abraham’s day, and Abraham, if he thought much about gods, held such beliefs for half his life.
However, Abraham wasn’t a genius to discover the truth that there is one only living and true God, like Alexander Fleming made his discovery of penicillin. It was the living and true God who introduced himself to Abraham; he made himself known to the patriarch. That’s the way Abraham learned that God was one. He didn’t enter this truth by logical deduction and philosophical reasoning. God met with him; God Almighty; God Everlasting; God the life-giver who quickens the dead and makes many out of one. Abraham never spoke of God as the God of his fathers, because his fathers for generations had been polytheists, but for ever afterwards men speak of God, and God speaks of himself, as the God of Abraham. So in everything that happened to him, journeyings, flocks and herds, battles, a childless marriage, dealing with other nations and their kings, Abraham always addressed one God, Jehovah, the Lord. He gave himself to this God alone.