October 24, 2019
As you know, we’re looking through “the story of the Bible” in youth group right now. Although the first couple weeks have only take us a chapter or two at a time, I reiterated to the students that the beginning of the story is really important to understanding the whole story. In the beginning, we are introduced to God and His character (that is, perfect, holy, just, and gracious), and to the problem that He is going to deal with, that is, sin.
Last night was our last week in the book of Genesis, as we looked at God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, and Genesis 15. We talked about the fact that a covenant is a partnership between two parties based on binding promises. In Genesis 12, God promises that He will: 1.) Make Abraham into a great nation 2.) Make His name great 3.) Make Him into a blessing for all people 4.) Give Him the land of Canaan. In response, Abraham follows God’s command to “Go” in 12:1. Amazingly though, Abraham seemingly GIVES UP THESE PROMISES 5 VERSES LATER! He leaves the land that God promises Him (12:10), he gives up his wife (12:13) and therefore his hope of a nation and a great name. What does God do in response? He blesses Abraham anyway… leading him out of Egypt by plaguing Pharaoh. This is the first indication we see that God will follow through on His promises!
Then, in Genesis 15, we get to a really odd section of the scriptures. Abraham, who is 80+ years old at this point, questions God as to where his “great nation” will come from. God reassures him by making him perform a covenant ceremony. He tells Abraham to gather different animals, and then kill them and cut them in half. This creates a bloody isle way of sorts. The dead animals represent what will happen to either party if they break the covenant. But instead of making Abraham go through with the covenant ceremony… God puts him to sleep, and walks through the ceremony Himself. God DOES NOT break promises, and therefore stakes His “life” on them. It is this action that shows that God will make Abraham into a great people and nation, so that they would be a blessing to all people. It is out of Abrahams family that we will have Jesus, the snake crusher! It is from Abraham that we know the riches, and the grace of Christ! Praise God!
It was a good, and deep night. This is complex stuff… but it’s integral to the story of the Bible. Abraham sets in motion the whole rest of the story. A lot of students are beginning to see and understand the story line now as they realized that nation of Israel STARTS with Abraham, the promised land was originally promised in Genesis 12:7, and Jesus comes from this line.
Here are some questions as you follow up with your students this week:
- What did you learn about God’s covenant with Abraham?
- Does Abraham fully trust God’s promises? How do you know?
- What does God do in response to a lack of Abraham’s trust?
- How do we know that God’s promises to us will never be broken?
- In what ways do you struggle to trust God’s promises to you?