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Session 5B: Abraham and the Nations Genesis 11:27-16:16. Genesis: a 12-session study. REVIEW & PREVIEW Genesis Structure. Genesis 1: wide angle view of creation God works 6 days, then rests the 7 th day. Rest is a gift from God.

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session 5b abraham and the nations genesis 11 27 16 16
Session 5B:

Abraham and the Nations

Genesis 11:27-16:16

Genesis: a 12-session study

review preview genesis structure
REVIEW & PREVIEWGenesis Structure
  • Genesis 1: wide angle view of creation
    • God works 6 days, then rests the 7th day. Rest is a gift from God.
  • Genesis 2-4: close up view of Adam’s generation
    • Adam & Eve made in the image of God as rulers and priests. The Fall brings inherited sin. Cain kills Abel. Seth appointed.
  • Genesis 5-11: wide angle view of the nations
    • Noah & The Flood. Shem, Ham, & Japheth. Tower of Babel.
  • Genesis 12-50: close up view of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel, focusing on 4 generations:
    • Terah:Left for Canaan. Settled half-way in Harran.
    • Abram/Abraham:Went to Canaan, then Egypt, and back to Canaan. God appears. Abram builds altars. Lot is rescued.
    • Ishmael & Isaac
    • Esau & Jacob
review definitions
REVIEWDefinitions
  • Covenant – A binding agreement (“contract”) between two parties, typically involving a formal statement of their relationship, a list of stipulations and obligations for both parties, a list of witnesses to the agreement, and a list of curses for unfaithfulness and blessings for faithfulness to the agreement. The Old Testament is more properly understood as the old covenant, meaning the agreement established between God and his people prior to the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the new covenant (New Testament).
  • Faith – Trust in or reliance upon something or someone despite a lack of concrete proof. (Faith can and often does involve trust developed through past proof or experience.) Salvation, which is purely a work of God’s grace, can be received only through faith (Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:8–9). The writer of Hebrews calls on believers to emulate those who lived godly lives by faith (Hebrews 11).
review genesis 11 27 12 10
REVIEWGenesis 11:27 – 12:10
  • Terah (Abram’s father) begins the journey to Canaan, but settles partway in Haran.
  • Terah took Abram, Abram’s wife Sarai, Terah’s grandson Lot (Abram’s nephew).
  • Abram is called by God to go to Canaan, rather than filling the earth.
  • Abram will become the father of nations, but Sarai is barren and childless.
  • Abram built altars at the places where God appeared.
  • Think about Terah. He took is family as far as he had faith for, but God took his family the rest of the way.
review genesis 12 11 14 16
REVIEWGenesis 12:11 – 14:16
  • Abram goes to Egypt during a famine.
  • Abram is fearful.
    • He says that Sarai is his sister.
    • Pharaoh marries Sarai.
    • God sends plagues to rescue Sarai and to take Abram’s family out of Egypt.
  • Abram is faithful.
    • He takes his family back to Canaan.
    • He trusts God and gives Lot his choice of land.
    • He rescues Lot when taken by raiding kings.
abram trusts god gives back genesis 14 17 24
Abram trusts God & gives backGenesis 14:17-24
  • Abram meets a king-priest, Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of God Most High.
  • Salem means “peace” and may be a short form for “Jerusalem” the “city of peace.”
  • Melchizedek means “righteousness.”
    • Jer 23:6. …‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
  • Melchizedek blesses Abram. Melchizedek brings bread and wine. He foreshadows Christ.
  • Abram gives a tenth (tithe) of all to the king-priest Melchizedek.
  • Abram relies on God rather than his own strength.
god s covenant with abram genesis 15 1 6
God’s Covenant with AbramGenesis 15:1-6
  • Gen 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward [shall be] very great.”
    • Abram defeated 4 kings. God was Abram’s shield.
    • Abram refused the “very great reward” (spoils) of war.
    • Abram reminds God that he has no offspring.
  • 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
  • 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
    • Abram goes from faithless (“no offspring”) to faithful (“believed”).
  • Jews in Jesus day highlighted Abram’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. The New Testament emphasizes Abram’s belief in God’s promise.
god promises a place to possess genesis 15 7 9
God promises a place to possessGenesis 15:7-9
  • Gen 15:7 And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
    • This idea is echoed later to Israel, when God brings them out of Egypt.
  • 8 But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
    • Abram is asking for a ceremony to solemnize the promise.
    • This isn’t necessarily an expression of doubt, but a request to “sign the contract”—to have an official ritual to confirm the covenant.
  • God tells Abram to bring (all are burnt offerings later in scripture)
    • 3-year old heifer (youth: fullness of life, heifer: purification)
    • 3-year old female goat
    • 3-year old ram (goat/ram: thanksgiving, penitence, vows, self-dedication)
    • turtledove
    • young pigeon (turtledove/pigeon: sin offering)
  • This covenant contract is “sealed in blood” by a sacrifice.
  • What does this tell us about Christ’s death on the cross?
    • Luke 22:20 …this cup…the new covenant in my blood
god confirms his covenant in ceremony genesis 15 10 21
God confirms His covenant in ceremonyGenesis 15:10-21
  • Abram’s part
    • cuts the large animals in half (blood sacrifice)
    • drives away birds of prey (may symbolize enemies)
    • At sunset: deep sleep and great darkness
  • God’s part
    • Prophesies Abram’s descendants will be afflicted for 400 years, and that God would bring them out with great possessions. (It later happened in Egypt.) They will return to Canaan “in the fourth generation.” Abram will live long.
    • After sundown, God appears as a smoking firepot and a flaming torch and passes between the animal pieces.
significance of the covenant ceremony genesis 15 10 21
Significance of the covenant ceremonyGenesis 15:10-21
  • When a covenant participant does pass between the animal pieces, it says, “May what happened to these animals happen to me if I should break this covenant.” (Jer 34:18-20)
  • God alone passes between the pieces. (Gen 15:17)
    • This is a unilateral (one-way) covenant by God alone.
    • Later, Abram is given circumcision, a two-way covenant.
  • God is saying that He would rather die than to break His promise.
  • In weddings, going down the center aisle is a form of “passing between the pieces” of two families in covenant ceremony. Marriage is a covenant, not designed to be broken, except in death. It is to say, “I would rather die than to break my wedding promise to you.”
sarai the wife hagar the servant genesis 16 1 3
Sarai (the wife) & Hagar (the servant)Genesis 16:1-3
  • Ge 16:2.2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
  • Sarai doubts God’s promise, trying to fill it her own way.
    • Other ancient texts also mention the custom of using a maidservant to bear children on behalf of the wife.
  • Abram goes along with his spouse.
  • Does this remind you of The Fall of Adam & Eve again?
hagar pregnant with promise genesis 16 4 12
Hagar pregnant with promiseGenesis 16:4-12
  • Once Hagar is expecting, she dishonors Sarai.
  • Saraiblames Abram. (But it was her idea.)
  • Abram permitsSarai to deal with Hagar.
  • Saraideals harshly with Hagar.
  • Hagar flees into the wilderness.
  • The angel of the LORD promises & prophesies.
  • Hagar is to return to Sarai.
    • Even when treated harshly, we are expected to submit to authority, the way Christ submitted on the Cross.
  • “Ishmael” means “God hears.”
  • Ishmael will be wild and against everyone.
hagar gives birth to ishmael genesis 16 13 16
Hagar gives birth to IshmaelGenesis 16:13-16
  • Hagar calls him “You are the God of seeing” or “You are the God who sees me”.
    • This is spoken to “the angel” as though he were God.
    • God sees everything that happens to us.
    • Those who hurt us are accountable to God.
  • The angel’s promisehas elements similar to God’s promise to Abram. The angel’s words are taken as God’s words. Therefore, some theologians believe this to be the pre-incarnate Christ: not merely “an angel” but “THE MESSENGER”.
  • The local well is named “Well of the Living One who Sees Me”.
  • Abram was 86 when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.
  • Ishmael is the first born son, but not the heir to the promise.
    • In the Ancient Near East, the first born son is expected to be the heir.
    • God is not bound to anyone’s culture.
  • God has his own culture. As we read the Bible, we are reading to find out what God’s expectations are. We are not trying to view the Bible through the eyes of our own culture, but through the eyes of God.
discussion
DISCUSSION
  • How is Melchizedek like Christ? What does Abram give to him? What does this tell us?
  • Abram expresses the need for confirmation of the covenant. How does God confirm it? What does passing between the animal pieces represent?
  • Sarai doubts she will have offspring by herself. How does that doubt manifest itself?
  • How do these chapters show God’s commitment to his promise even in the face of human faithlessness?
  • What does the Bible tells us about how God’s culture is different from Ancient Near Eastern culture? And different from our culture?