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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 06:26

Genesis 16:1-18:15 Notes

Genesis 16:1-18:15

* Sarai tries to help God's plan along by giving Abram her maid.  She then complains when the plan doesn't work.  Abram goes along and suffers the consequences.  Such is the way of sinful man toward His merciful God
* Hagar flees, unknowingly, into the arms of the Messiah (Messenger of the Lord).  God blesses in spite of her panic.
* Note the reality of the prophecy in 16:12.
* Who is the Messenger of the Lord?
  See Exodus 3:2-6
* Note the name changes in 17.
* Note the practice of circumcision. It is done to males, 8 days old (powerless), and it involves the shedding of blood. The performing of circumcision is not merely obedience to a command. It is a sign of the promise. Rejection of circumcision is rejection of the promise. The promise is God's action (Gospel).
  The covenant is God's action (Gospel). The practice is accessing the promise.
* Abram wonders how this can be.
  God is the author of wonders and demonstrates in this instance, as in all others, that His wonders are not natural but supernatural, because He is their author.
* They received the promise of circumcision.
  What about us? Luther:"Christ must be sought where He has manifested Himself and wants to be known, as in the Word, in Baptism, and in the Supper; there He is certainly found, for the Word cannot deceive us"
* God comes to them by the tent.
  We find this extraordinary and wish He would do that for us.  But He has, in a much greater way in Christ.  Nor has Christ left us.  Let's receive Him, listen to Him, and serve Him.
* Sarah laughs.
  Because she doubted, or because she so wished it?  Both?  See Luke 1:5-25 for a similar event.
* God is faithful, even when we are not.

Discussion Questions
1. Why might Sarai have suggested Abram taking Hagar?  In what ways have you found yourself trying to help God along in what you believe to be His will?  Does God need our assistance in accomplishing His will?  Does God desire to use us in accomplishing His will?  How do we know if we are right in approaching these truths?

2. How should Hagar have acted toward Sarai?  What is the result after her rescue?  Who is her deliverer? What lessons should we learn from this?

3.  What is the purpose of circumcision?  Is it an end to itself or a means to an end?  Why don't we require it now?  What has replaced it? What is the difference between the two?

4.  What seemingly impossible promises has God made to us?  What questions do you have about your relationship to Him?  How do you hope to get the answers?  How many things in your life do you consider supernatural and why?

5.  How do you carry on conversations with God?  In what ways can the church help you in your conversations and relationship with God?

6.  What promises of God seem laughable to some?  How do we respond?  What promises of God make you want to laugh for joy?  What is the biblical view of laughter?


Day 1
Read Genesis 16:1-6.  Sarai seems to get impatient with God's promise to provide Abram with a son.  She tries to help the process along by giving Hagar to Abram.  This is not how God planned to do this.  He promised and would fulfill that promise in His way and in His time.  This is a lesson for us to learn.  God has made wonderful promises to us.  He promises salvation, through forgiveness.  He promises eternal life to all who trust in Christ.  He promises to be with us and provide for us.  He promises to sustain us in faith through the Word and Sacraments.  He calls us to trust Him by faith.  By faith, let us trust in God and those promises.  Let us continually go to the Word and Sacraments to receive the promised blessings.  Too often we seek human ways to accomplish heavenly goals.  We seek spiritual growth in the ideas of man.  We return to God's Word and trust that He will fill us as He promised.  Pray for a trusting heart.

Day 2
Read Genesis 16:1-15.  It's said that one thing leads to another.  This story goes from Sarah trying to help God along to her maid lording her ability to have children over Sarah.  Hagar was a servant in this house.  She was to honor and respect Sarah and show the love of God to her in all things.  Now she sees what seems the opportunity to take Sarah's place of honor.  Instead of giving her honor, she tries to take it to herself. Sarah means her harm by demanding that she be chased out.  Abraham is not inclined to listen until God joins the conversation.  God tells him to let her go.  Did God not love Hagar?  Of course He did.  She had lost her godly respect and God uses this situation to teach her a lesson.  He also uses this occasion to make promises to her, not that her son would be the ancestor of the Messiah, but that he would be a great nation.  No matter what may come in the future, she has this promise.  We often forget ourselves and behave as if we don't know God's will.  We fail to show God and others the respect, kindness, and love that God has shown us.  We become complacent and don't trust God as we should.  Often God will allow some event to remind us who our trust is in. When trials come, we should not panic, but trust in God.  God will deliver us through our trials and will strengthen us for the task ahead.  Very often blessings result that are far greater than the trial through which God brought them.  Let us pray that God would continue to strengthen our trust in Him and renew our loving service to others.

Day 3
Read Genesis 17:9-14.  Does God make us do things for no useful reason? Does He like to sit up in heaven and watch us do things that have no meaning simply out of obedience to Him?  To hear some talk about circumcision, and other things instituted by God, you would think that circumcision had no meaning or purpose other than to be a sign of the covenant.  Such a belief is ridiculous.  If this were simple, somewhat meaningless obedience, God would have chosen something far more visible.  So why did God give Israel this practice? First we need to look at what took place.  This covenant was made by God on the eighth day of life.  The people could not say that they had anything to do with it.  Second, it is a covenant which comes through the shedding of the blood of a male.  This was a constant reminder of how God would save His people through the Messiah.  It pointed them to the coming Savior.
     Why don't we require circumcision?  It pointed to the covenant of the coming Messiah. The Messiah has come and fulfilled it.  He has given us the Sacrament of Baptism where He promises to give us the blessings of His death and resurrection by the promise connected with the water.  Baptism doesn't merely point us to Jesus, it is a participation in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).  Thank God for the covenant He has made with you by showering His grace on you.

Day 4
Read Genesis 17:1-22.  God promised Abraham a son through Abraham and Sarah.  This seemed impossible to Abraham.  But Abraham believed the promise, though it seemed impossible. God has promised to raise you from the dead and transport you from this world to heaven.  Does this seem impossible?  To us it is.  To God it is not.When God makes a promise it is sure.  When Christ promises to forgive your sins, many though they may be, it is sure.  When Christ promises eternal life in heaven, it is sure.  When Christ promises forgiveness, life, and faith in Baptism, it is sure.  When Jesus promises to be present in the Sacrament of the Altar for the forgiveness of your sins, it is sure.  If God has promised it, it is sure.  Thank God for His promises and pray that He would strengthen your trust in Him each day.

Day 5
Read Genesis 18:1-15. Abraham talks to God who visits him in human form.  This is a special visitation.  How often we would like God to do this to us.  We would like to visit with Him.  But isn't that what we do now.  Jesus came to save us.  He promised to be with us and He is.  He is present in our worship as we gather in His name.  He is present in the Word of power.He is present in Baptism with His saving grace.  He is present in the Sacrament of the Altar where we receive His body and blood and His grace with them.  He speaks to us in His Word and we answer in prayer, praise, and confession of faith.  But that presence and Word are not limited to worship.  He is present in the Word at home and we answer in prayers, praise, and confession of faith what by we say and do.  Our lives are a constant conversation with God.  Thank God for His presence and our ability to talk to Him each day.

Day 6
Read Genesis 18:1-15.  When God promised that Isaac would be born Sarah laughed.  Perhaps she found it hard to believe.  Perhaps she felt overcome with emotion at the news.  Perhaps a little of both.  There are many things about God's word that seem laughable to the world.  they think the bible stories about God's miraculous deeds are laughable.  They think our trusted in the crucified and risen Savior is laughable.  We laugh at the power and promise of God too, but we laugh for joy.  The burden that weighs us down has been lifted off our shoulders.  We can enjoy life like few others because we have been so blessed with God assurance.  Christianity is liberation from the fear of death and the devil.  we of all people should enjoy His blessings with unbridled joy.  Thank God for all the reasons you have to rejoice.






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