Sunday School Material 10-13-13: A Promise to Sarah

(Genesis 17:15-17; 18:9-15; 21:1-7; 10/13/13)

Introduction::A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is God keeps His promise of allowing Sarah and Abraham to have a child in their advanced years. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust the promises of God, even when we don’t see how things are going to work out.

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Body:

Read Genesis 17:15-17

I. Prediction. In our Sunday School material God tells Abraham that his wife’s name is changed to Sarah. She is to bear Abraham a son. Abraham laughs. Sarah was 90 years old and he was 100 years old.

Applications -

- God’s promises. Notice in vss. 15-16 that God makes and keeps big promises. First, God is not afraid of commitment. He has promised to bless those who obey Him and to punish those who do not.

Second, God keeps His commitments. Let’s live like we believe that God keeps His promises. Such living should be known for obeying God’s word.

- The right kind of laughing. Notice in vs. 17 of our Sunday School material that Abraham laughs.

Some see this as a laugh of rejoicing, since he is not chastised and because such would be in line with Abraham’s confessed faith. Some think he laughs in disbelief, as Sarah will.

First, we should rejoice in the promises of God. God is awesome, and some of the things that He does for us should bring not only smiles but merry laughter. Think about God’s provision for you, when you thought all hope of surviving was gone.

Second, we should develop a strong enough faith that laughing in disbelief is not an option. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other believers will help with our faith development. Let’s work on the right kind of laughing.

Read Genesis 18:9-15

II. Promise. In our Sunday School material Sarah is found to be laughing in disbelief about her bearing a son at the age of 90 to a man who is 100 years old. There is the mention of a great question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord”? Sarah lied with fear about laughing.

Applications -

- Honesty with God. Notice in vss. 12, 15 that Sarah lied. When you say that you did not laugh, even though the Lord said that you did, that is lying. God hates a lying tongue (see Pro. 6:17).

It is better to be honest with God and ask for grace, if needed, than to try to deceive Him. He knows our hearts, and He knows what we will do, before we do it. We cannot fool God. Let’s work on being honest with God.

- God’s power and timing. Notice in vs. 14 of our Sunday School material the rhetorical question is raised, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord”? The answer to this question is “no.” Surely a God who owns the world is able to take care of our financial concerns.

A God who is able to make the dead come back to life is able to deal with our health challenges. A God who is able to make lions and lambs lay down together is able to repair broken relationships. God is able.

The issue we wrestle with is God’s timing and will. God sees that it is not always to our advantage for Him to use His power. If we never experienced a storm, we would not know that He is a storm stopper.

Sometimes, God’s timing is not in line with ours. These are times to trust His power and timing, instead of doubting if He is really as powerful as we say that He is. Let’s work on trusting the power and timing of God.

- Treating people right. Notice in vs. 13 that one of the “men” turned out to be the Lord. First, only God can explain how what appeared to be a man became the Lord. Second, notice the importance of treating everyone right, since the Lord and angels can show up in strange places.

Let’s work on treating everyone right. We don’t want to be guilty of mistreating the poor and weak, while being overly kind to those who look like they have a few dollars, and in so doing mistreat the Lord or His designee.

Read Genesis 21:1-7

III. Fulfillment. God kept His promise. Sarah bore a son. Abraham named the son Isaac. Abraham circumcised his son on his eight day, as instructed by God. In our Sunday School material there is joy and amazement in the air.

Applications -

- God’s grace. Notice in vs. 1 that it was by the grace of God that God kept His promise. This should give us consolation. God doesn’t keep His promise based on our goodness and kindness towards Him. God keeps His promises because of His grace and His being a promise keeper.

This should keep us hopeful, even when we are aware of our sins and shortcomings. The grace of God keep us from dropping our head in hopelessness.

Let’s demonstrate our thankfulness for God’s grace, by being obedient to His will. Surely enthusiastic worship should fit into our obedience and demonstration of thankfulness.

- Being in covenant. Notice in vs. 4 of our Sunday School material that circumcision was the sign of being in covenant with God, during Abraham’s time. As believers, water baptism is our sign of being in covenant.

First, we should be thankful for water baptism being open to males and females, as opposed to the circumcision, which was only for men. Second, it is one thing to partake in the symbol, it is another to live up to the symbolism. That is, it is one thing to be baptized.

It is another to live as a baptized believer - one who has died to the world and now lives for Christ. Let’s strive to live up to what God is expecting of us a baptized believers. Loving God with all that we have and loving our neighbors, as we love ourselves, are essential.

- Focusing on God’s expectations. Notice in vss. 6-7 that there is mention of what people will say about those in such advance years having a baby. On one hand, the sentiments of the text are understandable.

On the other hand, we should strive to live up to what God knows about us and has planned for our lives, instead of what people think. Let’s work on staying focused on God’s will for our lives.

We will be happiest when we are in line with God’s will. And we will be most miserable, when we are far from God’s will for our lives. Satisfying God is so much more fulfilling than trying to satisfy people.

ConclusionLet’s work on trusting the promises of God, even when we don’t see how things are going to work out. God has much for those who obey His will.

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