We're so glad you decided to join us today!
When we meet in person, we take some time to share both joys and concerns. If you have any prayer requests or any expressions of joy, you can add them in the comments below this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful example of Abram who by faith in Your Word has become the biblical example of a man who believed in the Word of the Lord - and who simply trusted in the promises of God. Thank You for the Bible and the many precious promises and truths that it contains. Help us to listen to Your voice and obey Your call - to Your praise and glory.. in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Today's lesson is on Genesis 12:1-5, 7; 15:1-7.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis recount humanity’s futile attempts to rely on self-control to preserve a relationship with God and our equally futile attempts to make ourselves God. When those efforts failed, God turned to another method to reach out to humans.
God made a covenant with a particular man of faith to bless the human race through him. (Most theologians would say that God understood from the start that a covenant based on God’s faithfulness alone would be the only way to bring us into relationship with God.)
The man was Abram, and he lived in the Mesopotamian city known as Ur of Chaldeans. It was a wealthy city whose people practiced pagan religious rituals, according to modern archeology.
The call announced (12:1-5, 7)
But God called Abram to leave that place and to go to a place that God would show him. Besides being the starting point of a monotheistic relationship for Abram, it was an act of faith. In the ancient world, a person’s identity and social standing were attached to their family and ancestors. In addition, security and protection were also found in the clan. God was calling Abram to leave all of that and to trust God, with the promise that Abram would be blessed, that Abram would be great, and that through him all people on earth would be blessed.
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, taking with him his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and all of their immediate family and their belongings.
When they reached Canaan, the Lord again spoke to Abram and told him this is the land God will give him and his descendants. And Abram built an altar there to commemorate the epiphany.
The call affirmed (15:1-7)
Far away from home and in a dangerous and unknown land, Abram must have been uneasy. However, God appears to him again, telling him not to be afraid and that God himself would be his shield and his reward.
Finally, we hear Abram’s response. The obvious question is how is God going to make him a great nation when Abram has no children. Abram was 75 years old when he left Harran so he is already well advanced in years, as is Sarai. However, God assures him that he will have a son, his own flesh and blood and that, through that son, his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Abram believed God. Abram trusted that God would somehow fulfill his promise, even if he could not see how. Abram knew what his descendants would someday find out: the Lord is faithful and keeps his promises.
Abram had to answer a difficult call with boldness, courage, and faith. God had placed the call, and Abram answered by relocating his family. This decision would radically change his life and the loves of others for centuries.
There will be times in the life of a believer when the challenge is not to find God’s will but to follow God’s call. This call may lead to a different job, a new neighborhood, or even to an unknown land. Yet if we remain faithful to God and trust in his steadfast promises, he will bless us deeply.
God, throughout history you have shown yourself to be faithful. Give us faith to follow your call and patience to trust you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today's benediction is from the New International Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Genesis 25:19b-34.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.