give thanks www.atozmomm.com

Friday Digest: BSF’s Study of Genesis Lesson 11

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTER 17-18:15:

  • God never gives up on us; we give up on Him.
  • God wants circumcision of the heart, a separation of Him from others.
  • God meets us right where we need Him.

Take Away: Nothing is impossible for God.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of Genesis 18:1-15:

The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day.  When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them. Abraham entreats them to stay, and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort. They agree to stay.

Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations of bread, meat, and milk (it is God). The men ask Abraham where is Sarah. God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.

Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs, believing she is worn out. God, of course, hears Sarah and asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Then Sarah denies she laughed out of fear.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

14a) They may not have invited the men to stay, nor feed them a meal. He selected the best calf to slaughter and brought curds and milk and baked bread. They both did the work themselves instead of servants, and we sense urgency in Abraham’s doings, indicating he knew his guests were special.

b) Personal Question. My answer: Attitude and joy, mainly. I either begrudge every moment and have a miserable time, or I have a good time and feel joy.

15) The first thing they ask is where is Sarah, so their visit was to confirm to Sarah that she would have a son. God says that when He returns, Sarah will have a son.

16) Because God heard Sarah laugh and knew she had.

17) Sarah had to believe God. We must believe God. God blesses (Luke 1:45) and rewards those who have faith (Hebrews 11:6; 11) Without faith you can’t please God.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

I love how God includes Sarah and makes sure she understands and has faith in this culture where women did not matter. This shows God loves all equally.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

It is possible that Sarah never conceived earlier because she never had faith in God’s promise.

Bible scholars believe this was only 3 months since the last time God appeared because Sarah is not pregnant yet.

Here we literally see the Triune God, appearing as 3 men. So cool!

map of mamre bible

We’ve seen Mamre a lot so far in the Bible

Abraham knew it was God. At what point, we are unsure. Did God appear the same? No one knows. He could have changed his appearance at will.

Note God called Sarah by her new name. (Genesis 17:15-16).

God says His promise over and over again because dumb humans need to hear it over and over again, albeit this appearance was for Sarah, not Abraham.  Genesis 17:17-22

Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”

Both knew they’d have a son only be God’s miraculous hand, which may have been why they had to wait so long because God wanted to make it clear it was a miracle.

Doubt Versus Faith

As time passes and things don’t happen in our lives as we believe they should, we doubt as we see here with Sarah and Abraham. During their childbearing years, they believed. Now, it’s hard for them to do so.

Great commentary on the tree and this passage HERE

Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally, which is why He appears here.  In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

God heard Sarah’s laugh. We should remember God hears everything. God does not punish them for their unbelief. God is faithful to His promises despite our doubt (2 Timothy 2:13). He never abandons us like we do Him.

Hard is the same Hebrew word for wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 referring to Christ.

God talks to Abraham about Sarah’s doubt since he is the head of the household. He is responsible for her faith, or, in this case, her unbelief.

god promises isaac bsf genesis www.atozmomm.com

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 17:15-22

Summary of Genesis 17:15-22:

God tells Abraham that he will have a son by this time next year whom the covenant will be established with and who will be the father of many nations and kings. He renames Sarai, Sarah. Abraham laughed at the prospect of being a father at age 100 and Sarah a mother at age 90. God will bless Ismael and make him the father of 12 rulers and a great nation. Then God left.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 17:15-22

10) God renames both, He tells them the will be a father/mother of nations and kings, and God blesses them.

11a) He is specific. God says He will give Abraham a son by her (Sarah, so not someone else). By blessing Sarah this time as well as Abraham, it’s clear they are the parents who will have the child together.

b) Abraham does not believe God here (funny, since he immediately gets every circumcised) and suggests Ishmael be the one. Instead, God tells Abraham that Sarah will bear the son and his name will be Isaac. He elaborates, saying he will be the one whom he establishes his covenant with, not Ishmael.

12) Personal Question. My answer. I wait for clarity in some way when it is unclear. I pray for clarity. I don’t act in haste.

13) It’s the first time God has given them a time frame. Before it was “some day” you’ll have a child. Now, it’s definitive. This is probably comforting for them, after they get done laughing at God.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 17:15-22

I want God to give me a new name. It’s funny how one second, Abraham is totally in with circumcision, but the child thing, Abraham is doubtful. I’d hope if God/Jesus ever appeared to me, I would take them seriously.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 17:15-22

Sarah is a minor change, and it just gives her a higher status.

Abraham doubted as shown by his laughter. Some Bible scholars think this was a rejoicing laugh; others think not. You can decide. Sarah for sure did not believe God (she even lies about it in Genesis 18:15). I think Abraham doubhted.

God does not forget Ishael, but He makes it clear Isaac is the one. Isaac, meaning laughter, would forever be a reminder of their doubt and their joy.

sign of covenant circumcision www.atozmomm.com

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 17:9-14; 23-27

Summary of Genesis 17:9-14:

God tells Abraham that he and his descendants must keep His covenant. Every male must be circumcised, which is the sign of the covenant. This is to take place at 8 days old, and this applies to all male, whether adopted or not. If any male has not been circumcised, they are to be cut off from God’s people, as this will be a sign that the covenant has been broken.

Genesis 17:23-27:

Every male on that day was circumcised, including Abraham, his son, Ismael, and all in his household.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 17:9-14; 23-27

7) “It will be the sign of the covenant between you and me.”

8 ) That he/they are faithful.

9) Having faith is more important than works.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 17:9-14; 23-27

I love that Abraham obeyed immediately without delay. So, too, are we called to obey immediately as well.

genesis covenant circumcision abraham bsf lesson 11 www.atozmomm.com

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 17:9-14; 23-27

The cutting of the foreskin represents how God is setting His people apart (cutting them off). It is a physical sign that they are His people. Since males were born into it, it was fitting to be associated with reproduction. This is a sign of faith. Circumcision also helped with cleanliness, which was important in a society where no one bathed. Also, it was a sign of cleansing as well.

With Jesus, we are spiritually circumcised.

Why the 8th day? Childbirth is traumatic on a baby. After all, it goes from a water world to a world of air and newness. After 8 days, the baby’s body will recover faster, and some experts think that because the immune system is in place by now, that the baby will be less likely to get an infection. Doctors believe that a baby’s body can also blood-clot better on day 8 of life.

It’s important to note that the people were part of the covenant through faith. When they rejected circumcision, they were rejecting the covenant that God had granted through grace. Circumcision is not something you do that gets you to heaven, although the early Christians tried to make this so. (Galatians 5:1-15). Now, with the new covenant, you are free to circumcise or not.

Abraham’s immediacy speaks to his faith and his obedience to God’s commands. What does your response say when God tells you to move?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 12:10-13:4

Summary of passage:  Abram went to Egypt due to a famine.  Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him.  So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it.  He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.

The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land.  They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.

Abram traveled back to Bethel where he had built the altar earlier (Day 4) and called on the Lord.

Questions:

11a)  Nothing is an act of nature since God is in control.  I think it was a test of Abram’s faith as we see as the story unravels and Abram’s self-preservation and self-reliance is revealed.  God never told Abram to go to Egypt; he was to stop in Canaan.  The famine is a test to see if Abram would rely on God for all his needs.  Obviously, Abram doesn’t.  He schemes and ultimately failed in this test.

b)  Acknowledging God, calling on Him, faith and trust in God.

12a)  Verses 11-13  Abram is telling Sarai to lie because he is afraid of being killed.  Verse 15 shows how Abram just stood by while he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own and fornicate with her.  Because of this in verse 17 we see how God punished Pharaoh for Abram’s sin.  Abram in verse 13:2 became rich because of it and doesn’t seem to show any remorse.  Hagar will also enter the picture (Genesis 16), a source of jealousy for Sarai.

b)  Israel (Abram’s descendants) will bear the Lord’s wrath due to Abram’s sin until the Lord brings Israel into the light.  We will also see in Genesis 16:1 some of the consequences of this sin in the form of Hagar, one of the maidservants Abram and Sarai acquired while in Egypt and what harm she causes.

c)  He didn’t punish Abram but instead punished Pharaoh and He allowed Abram to profit financially from the sin.  God blessed and protected Abram because God had bigger plans for him than this sin.

13a)  Bethel

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I definitely don’t see any repentance.  Just because you build an altar doesn’t equate with asking for forgiveness for your sins.  I see faith in building an altar.  That’s about it.

My take-away is to ask for forgiveness for your sins where Abram did not and to have faith that God will protect you on your journey in this life instead of scheming, lying, and allowing your wife to fornicate with others.

Put your faith in God and His promises–not in lies–for ALL things.  Only you can fail God.  God will never fail you.

Conclusions:  I had completely missed this the last time I read Genesis.  I didn’t remember Abram doing this to protect his own skin.  To me, it seems like Abram was having a high ol’ time, living it up, at Sarai’s expense (unless she enjoyed being the wife of the most powerful man of the known world, but we are not told anything with relation to how Sarai felt).

Abram threw her under the bus and seemed content to have her stay there forever.  God’s the one who saved her, not Abram.  To me, Abram is callous and doesn’t care.  He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.

I see Pharaoh here as the victim and actually as a guy with a heart.  As soon as he found out Sarai was married, he corrected it.  He was angry he wasn’t told.  I don’t see Pharaoh here as a guy to take another’s wife.  Yet he was punished because of Abram’s sin.  Talk about unfair!  Life, right?

Abram was just lucky he was God’s chosen vessel for the future or he could have been incinerated on the spot!

This sin must have been HUGE to God.  Here’s the woman who will bear the line of Christ and Abram allows her to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever!  She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows?  Another slap in God’s face to how man has twisted the intent of marriage and not held it as sacred as God must.

Abram must have faith in God’s plans so we can only hope he learned from this and as Genesis unfolds we will see other tests he passes with flying colors.

But God’s plans are bigger than Abram’s sin so God worked through and in spite of Abram’s sin as He does always and for me and you.  Even when we sin, God is there to pick us back up and put us back on HIS path, not ours.

This is BSF at its best.  The facts of the story and then ONE application question that shows how to rely on God and not yourself.  Great stuff!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 4: Genesis 12:4-9 & Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15

Summary of passages:  Genesis 12:4-9:  Abram obeyed God and set out for Canaan at the age of 75 with his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, and all the possessions and people they had acquired in Haran.

At the tree of Moreh at Shechem the Lord appeared to Abram and told him he will give Abram’s offspring this land (which was currently occupied by the Canaanites).  Abram built an altar there for the Lord.

Abram continued on his journey, stopping at Bethel to build an altar to the Lord and call upon his name and then continuing towards Negev.

Hebrews 11:1, 8-10, 15:  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Abraham had faith when he answered God’s call and traveled to Canaan to receive his inheritance even though he had no idea where he was going.  He moved to a strange land, lived in tents, and raised his family–all while looking forward to the city of God.  He was looking for God’s heavenly country and not a country on Earth.

Questions:

7a)  FAITH

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think we all have experiences if we follow God most days of our lives.  For God is in the little things just as much as He is in the big things such as moving.  God wants all of us all the time.

I have been praying and praying about my husband’s job for he will be moved across country again.  I have been praying and praying about what God wants me to do with this talent I have.  The key is to respond in faith and live faith every day of your lives.  I homeschool my kids cause I believe that is God’s calling for me.  I write this blog every day as I believe that as well.  I write my heart into the stories I write and weave God into them through faith in Him and what He wants me to do with this life.

c)  “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”

8a)  Verse 4 (“So Abram left) and verse 5 (“took…all the possessions they had and the people.”

b)  God, Sarai, Lot, other people from Haran

9a)  “To your offspring I will give this land.”  So not only to Abram but to his kids as well.

b)  He built an altar and presumably worshiped God and offered sacrifices

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through all my husband’s layoffs, we have been provided for.  All the moves have been in His plan.  Right now, I am doing my work in Faith.

10a)  He moved on to Bethel and built an altar to the Lord and called on His name and then he continued toward the Negev.  In essence, he continued following God’s plan for him.

b)  Colossians 1:23:  Continue your life in faith and not moved from the hope Jesus gave us.  Verse 22 adds we are reconciled to God through Christ if we continue in faith.

Colossians 2:6-7:  Continue to live in Christ Jesus, rooted in him, strong faith in him, and overflowing thankfulness in him.

Hebrews 6:1:  Continue to mature in Christ, continue faith in God and repenting from acts that lead to death

Hebrews 10:35-38:  Persevere in God’s will for your life so you will receive what He has promised and live by faith.  Have confidence in what God is doing with you.

1 Peter 2:2:  Continue to grow in God’s goodness (verse 3) and in your confidence in your salvation by craving God’s goodness and purity

Conclusions:  BSF should subtitle the Study of Genesis as the Study of Hebrews.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, Abram was FAITHFUL.

However, IMPORTANT NOTE:  Abram did not obey God fully.  The Lord says in verse 1 “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household”.  Abram did not do this.  He brought Lot and other people from Haran with him.  We will soon see how Lot turned out.  Like the rest of us, Abram is human, too.

Also, a big deal is made in Hebrews about tents.  Even today people who live in tents are travelers, not permanent settlers.  Like when you go camping.  You pitch a temporary home.  The writer of Hebrews is trying to drill that point home.  Abraham lived in tents because he was looking forward to his permanent home in God’s kingdom, heaven.  He could have built a house once he settled but he didn’t.  He was just passing through this world.

End Note:  Map of Negev HERE.  The Negev is a desert region in Israel where Abram was headed.  It still is called the Negev today.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 3: Genesis 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan).  God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him.  He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.

Questions:

5a)  I (I being God) will:

1) Make you into a great nation.  This is the Jewish People and the Old Testament chronicles this through Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and down to Christ. Genesis 13:16

2)  Bless you.  Philippians 4:19  “God will meet all your needs…in Christ Jesus.”

3)  Make your name great.  Abram is honored by Jews, Muslims, and Christians.  I would wager most people know who he is.

4)  You will be a blessing.  Matthew 28:19-20.  I think the biggest blessing we can be is to tell others about Jesus.

5)  Bless those who bless you.  Matthew 16:19

6)  Curse those who curse you.  I see this in God’s punishment of the nations who are against Israel (Babylon, Assyria, etc) as attested throughout the Bible, history, and today.

7)  All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  Through Jesus and our faith the Gentiles are children of Abraham. Galatians 3: 7-9, 14-18,29, Genesis 22:18, Acts 3:25-26

b) I’m using Genesis 17 for all of these, where God re-affirms His covenant with Abram (ham) and gives him the sign of circumcision to seal the covenant.  Joshua 21:43-45 confirms Israel took the land and that “every one (promise) was fulfilled.”

6a)  Ephesians 1:3:  Every spiritual blessing

b)  Ephesians 1:18:  Know the hope He has called us to and the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints

c)  Ephesians 2:6-7:  Raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realm; Shows us the incomparable riches of His grace

d)  1 Corinthians 2:9-10: We receive His Spirit so we may know what God has prepared for those who love Him (us)

e)  Psalm 16:5-6, 11:  We have an assigned portion that is secure and pleasant which is a delightful inheritance.  Know the path of life, the joy in your presence, eternal pleasures

Conclusions:  A lot of looking up and researching with the challenge question.  Writing out God’s promises is a powerful reminder that God is for us–not against us (Romans 8:31).  He is our greatest cheerleader and our greatest protector against the enemy.  God is good despite all the bad that sometimes surrounds us.

With these promises, He expects us to be a blessing.  We must show God’s love.  Always.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 2: Genesis 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  God calls Abram to leave his country (Mesopotamia) for the land He will show Him (Canaan).  God promises Abram to make him into a great nation and He will bless him.  He will bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. ALL people on earth will be blessed through Abram.

Questions:

3)  Country, people, relatives (father’s household) so family.  Basically, everything

4a)  Matthew 4:18-22:  Peter and Andrew left their livelihood (fishing) and James and John left their boat and father (livelihood and family) to follow Jesus when he called. Called to stop whatever you are doing.

Matthew 8:22:  Jesus told one disciple to “let the dead bury their dead”, meaning let the other family members who were not alive in Christ bury his father (verse 21) who just died.

I take this not as callousness of attending a funeral but that Jesus had to attend to the living.  He had more important work for the disciple to do than funeral arrangements that someone else in the family could handle.

Mark 8:34-36:  “He must deny himself, take up the cross, and follow me….loses his life for me.”  You no longer live for yourself but for Jesus.  Deny your desires and embrace His.  Surrender yourself to Christ.

The meaning of cross bearing today is a bit different from Jesus’s time.  If you bore a cross in 1st century AD, you were sentenced to death.  You were dying and there was no going back.  Today it has softened to meaning bearing something irritating like “grin and bear it.”

Jesus meant there is no going back.  Surrender your life COMPLETELY to him.  Not just put up with Jesus.

Luke 14:26-33:  Must “give up everything he has” in order to follow Jesus.  Jesus must come before family members.  Allow nothing to come between us and God.  Even good things such as family.  We must abandon all striving after our own interests–die to self. Be like Jesus.  Not like our sinful self.

1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:15-17:  God chose us so we must declare the praises of him to others.  We must do the will of God in our lives and forsake everything in and of the world which will inevitably pass away.

Conclusions:  This lesson reminds me that everything has a cost in this world; nothing is free.  The same with following Jesus.  Once accepted, we are called to more.  Sinful living is no longer acceptable.  Jesus demands a lot from us:  total commitment to him! For he gave himself for us.

God’s will must be first above all else and anyone else.  It’s what He desires for your life not what you desire.  If it’s not for Him, it’s meaningless.  We must yield completely to Him and surrender all self-interest in order to follow Him.  We must think of ourselves as dead, yield our life completely, and place it in God’s hands.

Only then can we live.