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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 06:25

Genesis 12-13 Notes

Genesis 12-13

Notes
* We now shift focus from the history of God's relationship with mankind to God's setting aside a special people for the purpose of maintaining worship of His name as well as passing the promise of Messiah
* God begins a great nation among the nations.  The vast numbers of people who would come from Abram are not really the issue.  Other nations have sprung up with great numbers.  The real greatness of this nation is its relationship to God and its being the means through which He would bless all nations with Messiah.
*The nations are blessed through the promise that God would come to them and save them.  For the children of promise, like Abram, who trusted this promise by faith, salvation was an accomplished fact even though the event had not occurred in history.  So sure is the promise of God.
* Note God's promise to give the land to Abram's descendants.  Abraham rejoiced in this promise even though he would not personally own it.
* Abram was a sinner.  Here he sins against his promise to God to love, care for, and stand in defense of his wife.  He should have stood between her and danger.  Instead he asks her to stand between him and danger.
* God is faithful even though Abram is not.
* Deal with others by being a blessing and trust that God will bless you.  Abram does this in the case of Lot.
* What looks best too often is not.  What is attractive is often deadly.  Look before you leap.
* What Abram gave up, God gave back and more.

Discussion Questions
1. What makes the church great?  How are we to contribute that greatness to the world?  Is our congregation focused on this greatness?  Why or why not?

2. Read Hebrews 11:1-16.  What was the basis of Abram's faith?  How does that basis put all things into perspective?  How does our faith in Christ affect our relationship to other people in our lives?  How does our faith affect our relationship to other things in life?

3. What is the lesson to be learned from the account of Abraham in Egypt?  What should he have done and why?  What applications are we to make from this account?

4. What does the account of Abraham in Egypt tell us about God?  What application do we make of this?  How do we keep from taking God for granted?

5. How did Abraham behave in his dealings with Lot?  What lessons are we to learn from this?  How should we evaluate things before we seek them or do them?  How does trust in God enterinto this discussion?

6. How did Abram regard God's promises?  How does this apply to our faith?  What has God promised you?  What do you believe concerning these things?

Devotions
Read Genesis 12:1-3.  This chapter begins the account of the nation of Israel, the church of the Old Testament.  God promises that Abram will be great.  He is not merely talking about numbers of people.  Other nations have grown to as many or more people than the nation of Israel.  If this greatness is not the number of people, what is it?
     The greatness of Israel, and of the church of today, is found in the One God promised to send; Jesus.  God the Messiah was what made Israel great.  Jesus, the Messiah, is what makes Christianity great.
     We are all sinners.  By ourselves we are not only not great, we are deserving of nothing but eternal damnation.  A sinner is a sinner.  There are not better sinners or worse sinners in God's eyes.  So what is the difference between Christians and non Christians?  The difference is Jesus.  Christians have the assurance of forgiveness because they trust in Jesus.  Christians have the gift of eternal life from Jesus. Christians show the love of Jesus because they have received it from Jesus.  All the greatness of Christianity is found in Jesus; for us and in us.  Pray a prayer of thanks for the greatness of Jesus and pray that you may show that greatness to others

Day 2
Read Genesis 12:1-3, Hebrews 11:1-16.  There once was a soldier who wanted to return to his home.  The war was over, the country was in ruin.  His only thought was to return home to the place and people he loved.  As he journeyed, he came to a town.  There he saw a woman and her children trying to clean up and rebuild their home.  The man stopped and helped until the job was done.  Later on his journey he came across a wounded soldier.  He helped clean and dress his wounds, then journeyed out of his way to find a place where he could be cared for.  When he finally was able to return to his journey, he came to a river where the bridge was destroyed.  He set to the task of building a new bridge so that he and others could complete their journeys.  At last he arrived home to the place and people he loved. 
     So it is with Abram.  Abram would have many travels, filled with blessings and trials.  Many promises were made to him which he believed by faith.  Some of those promises would be fulfilled in his lifetime and some would not.  Abram trusted God to fulfill his promises.  But the greatest promise of all was to bless the world through the Messiah who God would send through the family of Abram.  His greatest hope was to go to heaven.  No matter what came along life's path, it was but a stop on the road to heaven.   
     Our lives are the same.  God has given us many blessings.  We face many challenges and trials.  But come what may, they are only episodes on the road to heaven.  We enjoy God's blessings and receive His strength in trial, but our life consists, not in this life, but in the fact that we are children of the heavenly Father by faith in Jesus.  God has fulfilled His promise to send the Messiah.  He has blessed us all with a heavenly blessing.  May we all sing with joy, "I'm but a stranger here, heaven is my home."  Pray about this.

Day 3
Read Genesis 12:10-20.  What on earth is going on here?  Is this really Abram?  How could he do this? 
     Abram was a sinner, just like all of us.  He committed terrible sins just like we do.  There is no excuse for this behavior.  Abram was the head of the household.  To be the head means that you are the greatest servant of all. (Mark 9:35)  Abram should have stood between his wife and danger.  Instead he puts her between him and danger.  He cowers behind the one he had sworn to protect.  For this, and his other countless sins, he needed to repent.
     We need to learn from this.  We are sinners.  Each of our sins is enough to separate us from God for eternity.  We need to look in the mirror of the law and see our sins and repent.  Bring them to the cross of Jesus where they have been crucified.  Then we seek the Spirit to change our behavior. 
     We men also need to note the privilege of service to our wives.  We have been given the privilege of showing Christlike love to our wives.  Christ placed Himself between the terrors of this world and His bride, the church.  In thanks to Christ for His grace to us, let us imitate Him in our love for our wives by being their shield against the terrors of the world.  Let us lead in loving service and Christ centered teaching.  Let us lead in informing Satan and his works and ways that he has no business in our homes and the lives of our families because Christ is our head and has given us the privilege of Christlike headship.  By our service, let us keep our eyes, and our family's, fixed on Jesus in all things.  Pray about these things.

Day 4
Read Genesis 12:10-20.  There once was a woman who owned a farm.  she could not run the farm by herself because it was so much work.  On the neighboring farm lived a kind man who loved the woman very dearly.  She did not return that love.  He farmed her land, cared for the farm buildings and machinery and saw to her every need.  She never said thank you, never paid him for his work, and never showed him any kindness at all.  She said to him one day, "You must be a fool, doing all this work when you know I will never return your love."  He simply smiled and said, "My love for you does not depend on you loving me back."  So he faithfully went about his tasks.
     The story of Abram in Egypt is an example of God's faithfulness even when we are unfaithful.  God fulfilled his promises and even rescued Abram, even though he committed this sin.  God hates sin, but loves sinners.  He hates the sins we commit, but He loves us.  God does not excuse our sins, but He doesn't love us insofar as we love Him. 
     Having been so loved, let us show this Christlike love to others.  Let us apply the faithfulness of God to our lives.  Let us see our faithful service as an act of love.  May our love be true even when those we love are not.  We are not to excuse the sins of others, but love them with the same love with which God loves us.  It is easy to love when we are loved back.  The love of Christ loves whether others love us or not.  Pray about these things.

Day 5
Read Genesis 13:1-13.  It's a dog eat dog world out there.  You have to grab for what you can get.  That's the attitude of the world in which we live.  We live in a selfish sinful world.  We want the best for ourselves without caring what others get.  There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence or wanting good things for your family.  The problem is when we show no care for others.  Too often we insist on the best without caring about anyone else in the process. 
     Abram, in faith, did the opposite.  He was sure that God would supply his needs in either case and lovingly offered Lot the choice.  Lot did not fully consider all the factors in his decision.  With the better land came Sodom and Gomorrah where godless living was rampant.
     Our lessons are obvious.  God calls us to love and trust.  We trust that God will provide our needs.  He does that.  Knowing this, we are able to love completely without fear that we will have to do without.  We also need to consider decisions, not only on how our physical needs will be met, but on how our spiritual needs will be met as well.  Often that which will satisfy our bodies presents grave danger to our souls.  In that case, we need to make our souls a higher priority than our bodies.  Pray about these things.

Day 6
Read Genesis 13:14-18.  God made promises to Abram and he believed those promises.  He trusted God so well that as far as he was concerned what God had promised was an accomplished fact before the event occurred.  Abram believed that he would have all those descendants even though he would never see them.  He believed in the Savior who was promised even though he would not come to earth for nearly 2000 years. 
     God has made us many promises.  They are as certain as those for Abram.  God has promised forgiveness and eternal life.  It is so.  God has promised to be with us all our days.  It is so.  Jesus has promised to be present in our worship in the Word and the Sacraments.  It is so.  God has promised to equip us for His service.  It is so.  Pray about God's promises
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