For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.                                                                                                                                         Genesis 18:18

Abraham was another of the Old Testament patriarchs who is used to exemplify a temperament. Abraham is an example of the Phlegmatic Temperament. Some illustrations of Abraham clarify this view.

Abraham was a very trusting man, one who obeyed God when he was called to a foreign land where he knew no one, and where he must leave his family and tribe behind. Once, when he was in a bit of a land dispute with his nephew Lot, Abraham tried to settle the differences by offering Lot whichever part Lot wanted. “If you want the east, I will take the west, if you want the west, I will take the east.”

Later, when he and his wife Sarah traveled to Egypt, Abraham told the Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister (a technicality, but not exactly the truth), which saved him from destruction, but landed Sarah in Pharaoh’s harem.

Abraham, when tested by God in being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, he did not hesitate to follow that incredible ask. God rewarded his faith with a miracle of redemption which was an image of the sacrifice of Jesus for us.

Abraham was a peacemaker. The Phlegmatic Temperament seeks peace and harmony- a wonderful trait, and one you want on your team. That strength however, if not managed, can cause a problem- one might sacrifice truth for peace.

Phlegmatics are team players whose goal is cooperation. They do not care for conflict, and they simply want the team to succeed. They might come across as cool and aloof because they do not burn hot- they bank their fire so as to conserve energy. They typically are more introverted, and will gladly join the party- when invited to do so.

I like to think of the Phlegmatic Temperament like the chemical catalyst platinum. When platinum is added to certain chemical reactions, it speeds up the process dramatically, but it then precipitates out of the solution, not ending up in the new product. Phlegmatics make the process go better, but they do not seem to be as involved as the other temperament types. Phelgmatics are more observers of the action than participants in it sometimes.

Abraham was a trusting, gracious man who loved peace and harmony more than material goods. He would choose family over wealth and possible conflict.

Gotta love Abraham!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the example of Abraham and his love for you and his trust in you, Amen.


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