MONTHLY ARCHIVES: August 2015

He Will Provide

Posted on August 25, 2015 by Karah

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Reflect on a time when God asked you to do something that was out of your comfort zone. What did that experience teach you?

As you read Genesis 22:4-19 today, picture the scene and imagine the emotions. With every step, Abraham knew that the time of sacrifice was drawing nearer. Imagine how much strength it took for Abraham to lift the knife over his son’s body. Abraham loved his son, but his faithfulness to God was greater.

“Then He said, ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.’ Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: ‘It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.’” —Genesis 22:12-14

Ask yourself:

What does this story teach you about what it means to be faithful to God? Do you have that kind of faithfulness? Why or why not?

What does this story teach you about God’s faithfulness? Why is it important that God was the one who provided the ram to sacrifice? Explain.

What sacrifices have you made in order to remain faithful to God?

The Point

God called for a sacrifice, but provided it Himself.

Respond

Being faithful to God will cost you. It may cost you relationships, friends, and influence. You will be forced to choose between the temptations of this world or faithfulness to God.

Take a moment to consider your personal boundaries. Do they conform to Scripture? Are you willing to make sacrifices to honor God’s faithfulness? Why or why not?

Pray about your willingness (or unwillingness) to sacrifice things in your life that do not honor God or keep you from being faithful to His calling on your life. Confess and repent, if you feel led. Don’t just go through the motions.

Behind the Story

Throughout the Old Testament, God revealed various names which described a certain characteristic of God. In Genesis 22:14, Abraham revealed one of God’s most beloved names, Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide. How has God been your Provider lately? Take some time to praise Him for that.


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Sacrifice

Posted on August 19, 2015 by Karah

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Listen to the song “O the Blood” by Gateway Worship (God Be Praised Deluxe, 2010). Worship the Savior for His sacrifice on the cross.

Have you ever had to wait a long time for something you desperately wanted? How did you react when you finally got it? What emotions did you feel? Sketch or journal a few thoughts.

Now, imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly asked to throw away this treasured possession. That’s where we find Abraham today. He had waited 25 years for the son God had promised, and now God was asking Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.

“Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

—Genesis 22:2

Read Genesis 22:1-3 in your Bible and consider these questions:

The sacrifice God called Abraham to give was great and came at a great cost. When have you seen someone give up something at a great cost to follow God? Jot down a few thoughts.

What is the biggest step of faith you have ever taken? Explain.

Now, read John 3:16 in your Bible.

In what ways is this verse similar to the story of Abraham and Isaac? Explain.

What does this verse teach you about redemption?

The Point

Redemption requires a sacrifice.

Respond

Isaac’s sacrifice was a test of faith for Abraham, but Jesus’ sacrifice is a means of faith for us. Without a sacrifice we cannot be saved, and Jesus became the perfect sacrifice so we could be redeemed.

Take a moment to praise God for the cross and the blood of Christ that covered your sin.

If you aren’t a Christian, know that Jesus laid down His life so that you could be redeemed from sin.

For further study, read “The Present” in The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones.

Behind the Story

Interestingly, Isaac was described in these verses as Abraham’s only son. Even though Abraham was also the father of Ishmael, through Hagar, Isaac was God’s promised child and the bloodline that God would use to establish His people and His covenant. The word used to describe Isaac as Abraham’s only son is similar to the word used in John 3:16, which identifies Jesus as God’s only Son. This word doesn’t necessarily focus on birth order, but rather highlights the special nature of the birth.


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Never Say Never

Posted on August 12, 2015 by Karah

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Reflect on a time in your life when God did something that otherwise seemed impossible. Thank Him for being that kind of God.

Through the latest medical technology, gifted physicians are able to place implants into patients’ ears that allow many of them to hear for the very first time. Can you imagine living in a world of silence, then suddenly hearing your own voice? What would be your first reaction? Journal a few thoughts.

Considering those emotions, read Genesis 18:1-15 and Genesis 21:1-7 in your Bible and thoughtfully answer the questions below.

“Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.” —Genesis 18:14

Examine Genesis 18:14, then reread Genesis 21:1-2. What impossible things did God promise and bring to fruition? According to human reasoning, what things could or should have stopped what God had promised from happening?

What do these verses teach you about God’s desire for His will to be accomplished and His plan of redemption to move forward?

Understanding that only God is able to do the impossible, how does this story encourage you in your relationship with God? Explain.

The Point

God does the impossible to bring about His story.

Respond

Regardless of the circumstances that you’re facing right now, be encouraged, knowing that God has the power to do things beyond your wildest dreams and imagination. Journal a bold prayer asking God to use these circumstances to draw you into a closer relationship with Him.

Ask God to give you the opportunity to share your story to encourage someone else who is facing similar circumstances.

For further study, read 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 and Luke 1:5-25.

Behind the Story

While it is a miracle that Sarah was able to have a child at 90 years old, the greater miracle is that God created life in a womb that previously had been unable to produce life. On top of that, Abraham had waited 25 years for God to fulfill this promise. Throughout Scripture, God has demonstrated His power through unlikely means to accomplish His will in His own timing.


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Stand in the Gap

Posted on August 4, 2015 by Karah

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Spend some time thanking God for all the ways He has shown you He is in control of your life this past week.

If you knew that a disaster was coming, what steps would you take to warn the people around you? Jot down your plan of action.

Now, read Genesis 18:16-33 in your Bible to see how Abraham responded in a similar situation.

“Then Abraham answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes—suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.” —Genesis 18:27

Over the past few weeks you’ve learned about God being a covenant God—faithful and true to His word. Abraham understood that. So, when God told Abraham that judgment was coming to Sodom, Abraham believed Him.

But Abraham also knew that God is merciful, and he boldly and respectfully interceded on behalf of the residents of Sodom. That would be easy to understand if the people of Sodom had been godly or seeking to follow God. But it was a place of wickedness, full of people bent on pursuing sin. Still, Abraham stepped forward to intercede on their behalf.

Think about the world we live in. How is Abraham’s situation similar to ours? Explain.
As a Christian, you know that eternal judgment and destruction are coming to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. What does today’s passage teach you about how you should live in light of that?

The Point

God is a God of mercy and redemption.

Respond

Do you have the courage to stand in the gap for the lost people around you? List the names of three people you know personally who don’t have a relationship with Christ.
Set aside a time this week devoted to praying specifically for those people. Know that you might be praying for weeks, months, or even years. Pray for opportunities for you and other believers to share your faith.

Behind the Story

Sodom and Gomorrah were two neighboring cities, probably located in the Valley of Siddim near the southern end of the Dead Sea. They were known for their sinfulness. Abraham’s nephew Lot made this place his home after a dispute between them (Gen. 13).4

 

4Trent Butler, “Soddom and Gomorrah,” Holman Bible Dictionary, studylight.org, [cited 20 April 2014]. Available from Internet: http://www.studylight.org


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