MONTHLY ARCHIVES: June 2015

Reminders

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Karah

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Close your eyes today and sit in silence, focusing your mind and heart on God.

Today, we reach a point in Abram’s story where he needed a reminder. God had promised to make Abram’s descendents into a great nation and to bless him with land, but years had passed. The fulfillment of God’s promises seemed no closer than they had in the beginning.

Read Genesis 13:14-18. As you read, look for God’s gentle reminder. Underline it in your Bible when you find it.

“After Lot had separated from him, the Lord said to Abram, “Look from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, for I will give you and your offspring forever all the land that you see. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust of the earth, then your offspring could be counted.” —Genesis 13:14-17

God helped Abram to refocus on what was true: God’s promises. When has God done the same for you? Explain.

Continuing to follow God and trust His plan when it seems like nothing is happening is difficult. Who in your life has been a good example of trusting God even when it was difficult to see how God was at work in a situation? What have you learned from that person’s example?

In what situations in your life do you find it difficult to see God at work? Are there circumstances that you don’t think could be any part of His plan? List a few.

The Point

God continually reminded Abram of His plan, even when Abram couldn’t see it. He does the same for us.

Respond

Pray over the list you just created. Ask God to open your eyes to how He is at work in those situations. Pray that He would help you trust Him even when you can’t see what He’s doing.

Look through an old journal or think back over your life. How can you see God’s hand on your life, bringing you to where you are today? Thank God for how He has worked in your life and how He will continue to do so in the future.

Who in your life needs a reminder that God is still at work? What steps will you take this week to remind that person how God is working through them? List two.

Memorize Philippians 1:6. Recite it when you feel discouraged or can’t see how God is working through you. Share it with Christian friends who need encouragement.

Behind the Story

The place of worship mentioned in Genesis 13:18 is the first and only piece of land that Abram actually owned in Canaan. While his descendants would be given the entire promised land, Abram was merely a sojourner there. He did, however, buy this plot of land—the field of Machpelah near Mamre—as a burial site for Sarah. He was eventually buried there, too.


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An Unstoppable Story

Posted on June 23, 2015 by Karah

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Even as Christians, we falter and stumble as we walk with God. We often react out of fear rather than resting in and trusting God’s promises.

Read Genesis 12:10-20 in your Bible for an example from Abram’s life. Dig a little deeper with the questions below.

“When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me but let you live. Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.” —Genesis 12:11-13

Abram’s faith was immediately tested by a famine. Yet, the text doesn’t fault Abram for making the trip. If that wasn’t his act of disobedience, what was? Explain.

This episode from Abram’s life shows us that God will not allow His promises to be jeopardized, even in the face of our failures or a momentary lack of faith. How do you see that in this passage? How have you seen it in your own life?

Think about times when you’ve faltered in your faith or let sin take hold in your life. How does this story give you hope? Explain.

The Point

Nothing can thwart God’s plans, not even our failures.

Respond

Motivated by fear, Abram crafted a plan of action based on his circumstances rather than God’s promises. Think on that as you meditate on these questions:

How am I living out of fear rather than trusting God to do what He has said?

In what situations am I most tempted to rely on myself than what God has said?

How do I see those choices affecting my life? My relationship with God? My relationships with others?

Do I have a Christian friend who has stumbled in his or her faith and is allowing guilt and shame keep him or her from growing in Christ? What steps will I take this week to share the hope of this passage with him or her? List two.

Behind the Story

Sadly, this incident with Pharaoh wasn’t the only time Abram lied about Sarai being his wife. Genesis 20 records a similar incident with King Abimilech of Gerar that reveals much about Abram’s rationale and premeditated deception. Abram’s son, Isaac, also followed in his father’s footsteps, passing his wife Rebekah off as his sister to another King Abimelech in Genesis 26.


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Bold Obedience

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Karah

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Ponder this quote to begin your time with God today:

“[To have faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. . . . Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him.” —C.S. Lewis

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. —Genesis 12:4-5a

Reread Genesis 12:1-3 one more time this week. Then, read Genesis 12:4-9 carefully. Consider these questions:

Underline the first three words in verse 4. Why are these words so important? Explain.

God’s promises to Abram seemed impossible and unlikely. He promised a childless old man that he would be the father of many nations and that he would possess a land that already belonged to someone else. Yet, Abram stepped out in obedience.

When have you seen someone step out in radical obedience to God, even though what they were doing seemed difficult, unlikely, or impossible? What have you learned from that person’s example?

God called Abram to leave behind all that was comfortable and familiar to him and follow where He would lead. What familiar or comfortable things has God called you to leave behind in the past? What might He be calling you to leave behind now?

The Point

When God called, Abram obeyed. God is still inviting people to be a part of His story. When He calls, we must choose to obey.

Respond

Look at the list of familiar and comfortable things God might want you leave behind to follow Him. Maybe it’s a relationship, a life-long dream, or an attitude you’ve had for a long time.

What steps will you take this week to follow God in obedience in those things? List two to three below.

Maybe the most honest prayer you can pray right now is to ask God to give you the desire to be boldly and radically obedient to Him despite fear or doubt about leaving behind all that is familiar or comfortable. Record your prayer in your journal.

For further study, read Radical or Follow Me by David Platt. Listen to “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United (Zion, 2013).

Behind the Story

Schechem was located at a strategic pass between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, about 41 miles north of Jerusalem. “The oak of Moreh” probably referred to a Canaanite shrine. The Canaanites worshiped many gods and believed fertile groves of trees to be sacred. The oak is mentioned a few more times in the Old Testament, in Genesis 35:4 and Judges 9:6,37


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A Blessing to All Nations

Posted on June 2, 2015 by Karah

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Find a different location for your time with God today, somewhere you don’t usually go. Ask God to speak to you in a new way as you study His Word.

Read Genesis 12:1-3 aloud today, then dig into the deeper meaning behind God’s words of blessing to Abram.

“I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

—Genesis 12:2-3

Great Nation: A nation generally involved a great population with common land, language, and government. Yet God made this promise to a 75-year-old man with no children and a wife well past childbearing.

Make your name great: Through his obedience to God, Abram would achieve the fame the builders at Babel (Gen. 11) had sought. Think over what you know about Abram, the Old Testament, and God’s chosen people, the Jews. How do you know God fulfilled this promise?

All the peoples: “All” is the Hebrew word kol, which means every. God’s promise to Abram would spread to the whole world through Abram, Israel, the prophets, and eventually, the Messiah. How is the Messiah a blessing to all people? Explain.

Look over God’s promise to Abram one more time. What does this blessing have to do with you? What parts of it affect you? How?

The Point

God’s promise to Abram isn’t just a nice historical story. Through Abram would come the Messiah, our only hope of salvation.

Respond

Abram would enjoy land, descendants, and blessing, but he would also be a part of something much bigger. From Abram’s line would come the Messiah.

Take some time to meditate on and revel in the scope and intricacy of God’s plan. All those years ago, He was at work, putting the pieces of His story together so that redemption—your redemption—would be possible. Record your prayer of praise in your journal.

For further study on this topic, read Romans 9:4-5 and Galatians 3:8,16.

Behind the Story

The word translated “nation” in verse 2 is the Hebrew word goy. It literally means nation and was used to refer to the Jewish nation (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). In later usage, the word began to be used in a derogatory way to describe those who were not of Jewish descent. In modern Hebrew and Yiddish, goy is the standard term used to mean Gentile. Through Abram, God would create the Jewish nation. And through Abram’s line would come the Messiah, the Savior for Jews and Gentiles alike.


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