Sunday School Material 10-1-17: God's Covenant With Abraham

(Genesis 15:1-6, 17-21; 10/1/17)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God made great promises to Abram. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live like we trust God to be a promise keeper.

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Read Genesis 15:1-3

I. Apprehension. In today’s Sunday School material, the word of the Lord came to Abram. The Lord calls Abram to move from fear to trusting the Lord to be his shield. Abram is concerned about his lack of a biological heir.

Applications –

- Faith over fear. Notice in vs. 1 that God called Abram to have more faith in Him than fear of the circumstances. In like manner, God is calling us to do the same.

Even though things seem to be out of aligned with what we thought God would do and time is running out, we are called to trust God. That is, we are called to focus on accepting as true what God tells us, instead of focusing on the negative circumstances of our lives.

Prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other disciples can be very helpful with this application. Let’s work on having more faith in God than fear of circumstances.

- Faith over reason. Notice in vss. 2-3 that Abram reasoned that his servant would be his heir, in the absence of him having a biological son. In like manner, we are tempted to use reason to develop plans for ourselves, when God’s plans seem to be late or unknown.

Proverbs 14:12 teaches us that there is a way that seems right to us, but the ends there of are the ways of death. Let’s work on really trusting God.

This means not adding to, subtracting from, or modifying the promises of God. Church should be a great place to be reminded of the promises, inspired by the promises, and supported as we wait on the promises to come true in our lives. Remember “we” are the church, so we should help one another with this application.

Read Genesis 15:4-6

II. Assurance. The Lord tells Abram he will have a biological heir. In our Sunday School material, He talks about Abram’s heirs being greater in number than the stars in the sky. Abraham was considered righteous because of his faith in the Lord.

Applications –

- Credited as righteous. Notice in vs. 6 that God credited Abram as righteous because of his faith.

First, as God credited Abram as righteous because of his faith, God considers us righteous because of our faith in Jesus’ payment for our sins. We are not righteous because we live so righteously. We are given credit for being righteous because of our faith in the payment of Jesus.

Second, if God credits us as righteous, we should not allow the opinions of others to dissuade/discourage us. What God says should be more important than what people say, including what we say about and to ourselves.

Third, we should strive to live righteously. This calls for not only accepting Jesus as our savior by faith, but it also calls for our living lives that are focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on being credited as righteous by the Lord.

Read Genesis 15:17-21

III. Affirmation. In the evening, there is a covenant ratification. Fire is pictured as a symbol of the presence of God. Our Sunday School material talks about the “self-maledictory oath.” The Lord promises to give a large portion of land to Abram’s descendants. It should also be noted that the land is currently inhabited by many others.

Applications –

- A serious oath. Notice in vs. 17 that God makes a serious oath. Biblical scholars suggest that the picture of what is happening with the fire and pieces of animals is that God is essentially saying, “If I don’t keep My word, let it be to Me as it is to these slaughtered animals.”

This means that God was very serious about keeping His promise of blessing Abram’s descendants.

First, we should feel honored that God loved us so much that He would take such a serious oath about blessing us. Second, we should remember that we are a part of Abram’s descendants (see Gen. 12:1-3).

Third, even though we don’t need to take such serious oaths, we should be known for keeping our word. We can start with our church covenant, marriage vows, and employment contracts. Let’s live like we are thankful for God’s oath.

- 400 years. Notice in vss. 18-21 that God’s great promises of land was fulfilled 400 years later. On one hand, we don’t know when or how God is going to do what He has promised.

But on the hand, we can trust that God will keep His word, and He will take care of us, in the meantime. Let’s live like we trust God to keep His promises somehow. This kind of living should be known for confidence, joy, and obedience.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living like we trust God to be a promise keeper. God has much for those who obey His will.

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