Sunday School Material 12-4-11: The Lord Calls Abram
(Genesis 12:1-9; 12/4/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School Material is Abram trusted God enough to leave home and worship God in Canaan. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God enough to go where He tells us and worship Him there as well.
Body: Read Genesis 12:1-3 I. Promises to Abram. The Lord told Abram to leave his country and people in this section of the Sunday School material.
The Lord made great promises regarding how He would bless Abram. Not only would Abram be blessed, but he would be a blessing to all the people of the Earth.
Applications - - Beyond the comfort zone. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that Abram put the obeying of God’s will above what seemed right and comfortable to him.
It seems as if Abram would have had some desire to stay with his aging father (there is no mention of a mother). It seems as if there was some family support at home. And surely, 75 years of age is not the most comfortable age to be moving.
But yet Abram moved at God’s command. Let’s work on obeying God, in spite of how uncomfortable it may seem. This principle applies to family, church, and community.
Being a great spouse, a faithful church worker, and an asset to our communities may call for moving past our comfort zones for the sake of obeying God’s will for our lives.
- Our big God. Notice in vs. 2 of the Sunday School material that God can do more than we think He can. If we interviewed Abram at the age of 75 with his barren wife, it seems certain that he would have his doubts about God making a whole nation out of him.
But thank God, God is not limited by what we think He can do. Let’s live like we believe that God is able to do more than we ask or think. Such living should be known for obeying God.
At the core of obeying God are the matters of loving God with all that we have and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
- Lessons regarding those who are blessed. Notice in vs. 3 of the Sunday School material that Abram was blessed to be a blessing. Those who blessed him were to be blessed. And those who cursed him were to be cursed.
First, similar to Abram, God often blesses us with more than we need, so we can be blessing to others. It is a sin to build bigger barns for ourselves, instead of even giving a token of support to those who are in poverty or great need.
Second, similar to Abram, there is a blessing in blessings those whom God is using. Pastor anniversaries are not only a time to bless the Pastor, but they are a time for those who bless the Pastor to be blessed.
It is a time to sow a seed, in the presence of our God who promises that we shall reap what we have sown. Third, similar to Abram, it is so dangerous to cause grief for the one God is using.
God has a way of taking care of His own, even if it means causing harm in the lives of those who seek to harm God’s servants. Let’s work on being a blessing, blessing God’s servant, and avoiding being a source of grief to God’s servant.
Read Genesis 12:4-5 II. Journey of Abram. In the Sunday School material we see that Abram obeys the Lord. He leaves his country and the people who remained there. He took his wife, nephew, and possessions (including people). He made it to Canaan.
Applications - - Obeying God totally. Notice in vs. 4 of the Sunday School material that Abram obeyed God, in that he left his country. There is a question mark about Lot.
Some say that to leave home meant to leave Lot, which means it was sin for Abram to bring Lot with him. Others say that Abram did right in bringing Lot, because it was his brotherly duty to take care of his deceased brother’s son.
There is wisdom in being silent where the Bible is silent. What we do know is that Abram obeyed God to a great extent, if not totally. Let’s work on obeying God totally. Some of what we call obedience may be misunderstood by others.
Some of our efforts to obey may come up short. However, our heartfelt goal should be to totally obey God. Think about totally obeying God with your health, wealth, relationships, and being a blessing to others.
- Helping people be free. Notice in vs. 5 of the Sunday School material that Abram appears to own some slaves or servants. This text describes Abram. It doesn’t prescribe what we as readers of the text should do.
On one hand, if human masters would have taken care of their servants according to the laws of God, instead of following the dehumanizing example of the enslavement of Africans in America, then the servants would at least have some dignity.
On the other hand, in the twenty first century American context that these notes are written in, the greater good is to help people be free, instead of slaves or servants.
Let’s work on helping people be free. We can do this by giving ourselves to the provision of services, empowerment, and advocacy with an aim of the helping the less fortunate become those who help others.
Read Genesis 12:6-9 III. Arrival of Abram. Abram made it to Shechem, where the Lord confirmed His promise to Abram. Abram built an altar to the Lord there. Abam traveled closed to Bethel and built another altar. And Abram is pictured as on his way toward the Negev.
Applications - - Remembering the Lord everywhere we go. Notice in vss. 7-9 of the Sunday School material that Abram built altars and remembered the Lord in a number of places.
We should note that he did this, in spite of the people of Canaan having their own gods to serve. Let’s remember and serve the Lord everywhere we go. Especially our young people are subject to end up almost anywhere in the world.
Military assignments, international corporations, and internet has made a huge impact on where our feet may rest. However, wherever we go, we should remember and serve the Lord.
We don’t have to literally build altars, but we need to find a place and way in which to worship God and stay focused on loving Him and others, as we love ourselves.
Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God enough to go where He tells us and worship them as well. God has much for those who obey His will.
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