International Adult Sunday School Lesson for October 1, 2017
To have the courage to question and trust in the Word of God
Background: Genesis 15
Genesis 15:1-6, 17-21 (CEB)
1 After these events, the Lord’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector. Your reward will be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.” 3 He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.” 4 The Lord’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” 5 Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” 6 Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character. . . . 17 After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals. 18 That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates, 19 together with the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abraham: “To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates.” (Genesis 15:18)
Because of where this lesson is in comparison to our lesson for September the 10th, it is easy to get somewhat confused. That lesson was from the 17th chapter of Genesis while today’s lesson is from the 15th chapter of Genesis.
Today’s lesson takes place shortly after Abram goes to war and rescues his nephew Lot and Lot’s possessions from a group of kings that had attacked Sodom and Gomorrah. But maybe more importantly it comes after the meeting with the King of Salem, Melchizedek. Melchizedek, brought bread and wine and Abram gave Melchizedek 10% of the bounty taken in the battle. Abram refused to keep any of the loot for himself but allowed those that fought with him to keep what they had recovered. Melchizedek pronounced a blessing on Abram as follows in Genesis 14:19-20.
“Bless Abram by El Elyon,
creator of heaven and earth;
bless El Elyon,
who gave you the victory over your enemies.”
Because of the importance of this priest Melchizedek, and as I have previously stated, I believe he was in fact Shem, one of Noah’s sons and the the father of all Jews. According to the genealogy in Genesis Shem and Abraham were alive together for about 150 years.
It is after these events that Abram has this vision. The conversation with God goes something like this:
God spoke: Verse 1, a reward is promised; verse 7, the promise of land.
Abram responded:Verses 2-3, he complained about being childless; verse 8, he wanted assurance of God’s promise.
God’s reaction: Verse 4, the promise of an heir; verse 9, an oath rite was prepared.
Signs: Verse 5, Abram shown stars in the sky; verse 17, the oath rite carried out.
God spoke: Verse 5, numerous descendants promised; verses 13-16, promise of land despite a period of exile.
Verse 6, the faith of Abram; verses 18-21,
God’s covenant with Abram and promise of land to descendants.
During the reign of David and Solomon God’s promise is realized for the nation of Israel.
More importantly after Christ, the spread of the gospel indeed went around the world.
Just as God sealed the deal with Abraham with the acceptance of Abraham's sacrifice and offering. Our salvation is sealed with the sacrifice of Jesus. We have been promised eternal life and all the benefits and blessings offered to Abraham. God’s covenant is still in effect, and has been enlarged by Jesus when he said in Acts 1:6 “As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going toGiveth restore the kingdom to Israel now?”
7 Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Abram tried to go around God and create his own heir, but God’s plan did not change, only Abraham's faith seemed to change. Thankfully we can trust God’s promises, He is faithful, our faithfulness is expressed by an action reaction, or cause and effect. Because of our faith we share in God’s blessings and do all we can to help fulfil Jesus command.
My hymn for this week is about trusting God, even when things seem hopeless. “He Giveth More Grace"