GENESIS 15 = GOD, THE PROMISE KEEPER
Bible Background: The story of Abram and Sarai starts in chapter 12. God-in seeking to bless and work with the whole human race-has zeroed in on a particular family, and promises 1) Many descendants, 2) Land for them, and 3) To bless all the families of the world through them.
Digging Deeper: 1. Abram and Sarai (later on identified as Abraham and Sarah) have been called by God and asked to trust in some pretty major (and unbelievable) promises! Following God’s lead and trusting God are not easy things! Abram and Sarai have taken some detours in that effort. God has continued to bless them. But, they remain childless! In those times, being unable to have children was often a sign of God’s disfavor, certainly not a sign of God’s blessing. It was also a source of shame. (Note this is the first of a number of stories where barren women eventually end up having very special babies!)
2. Abram, not unlike us, has his doubts. He takes them directly to God. (Good move!) God takes those doubts and questions seriously, and does not scold Abram for them! When have the circumstances of life led you to doubt God’s presence or power or promises? How can we see doubt as a necessary part of a mature faith, rather than a failure (or the opposite) of faith?
3. “Count the stars, if you are able to count them!” How’s that for a challenge? How’s that for a glimpse of God’s greatness? How do we proclaim a God who has created billions of stars and yet is able to care for each one of us?
4. “Abram believed the Lord”. ‘Believing’ is not usually a 1-step process. Abram is remembered for his belief and trust. And yet, before that first child appears some years later, his belief comes and goes. He is human! God seems to understand that!
5. Here’s a quote to keep: “When we voice our questions to God-we have a chance of growing in faith.” What are the questions you need to share with God on a daily basis? Or on an on-going basis?
6. For perspective, keep in mind how Abram is a faith figure for Jews, Muslims, and Christians!
Read as much of Genesis 12–18 as you can. The story of Abraham and Sarah takes many twists and turns! God is the faithful one! Abraham and Sarah both have their moments!
Next week’s reading is the Story of Joseph and his family, Genesis 37–50. (Since we won’t read 13 chapters in worship, again, read what you can!)