Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bible Study ~ Genesis 12-13

Genesis 12-13 

Who is it about? God or us? Who did you learn more about ?

Genesis 12:1-3 God calls Abram and blesses him with the promise of Christ.

God chose Abram (Isaiah 41:8; Matthew 22:14; Luke 23:35; John 15:19; 1 Peter 1:20 1 Peter 2:0) from among his fellow idolaters that he might reserve a people for himself. By moving him from his country, Abram was tried whether he loved God better than all. With this command, God calls Abram to begin a journey of faith that is marked by complete dependence upon God and God's promise. This is not an easy thing for Abram. The things he must leave are mentioned in order of increasing level of intimacy: "Go forth from your country, your relatives, and your closest family." Abram must leave all he holds dear and trust God to guide him in a new land.

The command God gave to Abram is much the same as the gospel call (natural affection for our ways must give way to Divine grace, sin and all the occasions of it must be forsaken, a promise of greatness fulfilled in Christ, blessings for obedience, all sustained by God's sovereign grace for his glory).

God's promises to Abram:

-I will make you into a great nation. (Literally, Abram would be the father of a great nation.)

-I will bless you. (Obedient believers will inherit a blessing/somewhat here/more-so an eternal blessing/blessings here are a foretaste of what is to come/encouragement to continue until we see Jesus face to face.)

-I will make your name great. (Book of life/the name of obedient believers shall certainly be made great/ “Shine like stars” Philippians 2:14-16)

-You will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you/All people on earth will be blessed through Abram. (The greatest blessing to come through Abram would be that of Jesus Christ/Eventually through Abram came the Savior, the Bible and the gospel/Galatians 3:8.)

-Whoever curses you I will curse. (God will take care of Abram/all believers-sometimes not until eternity will it be “made right.”)

God allowed Abram to believe that the blessing of the Almighty would make up for all he could lose or leave behind, supply all his wants, and answer and exceed all his desires. He knew that nothing but misery would follow disobedience.
 *Do you believe that? Understand that? Explain.

Such believers, being justified by faith in Christ, have peace with God. They are not discouraged by the difficulties in their way, nor drawn away by the delights they meet with. What we undertake, in obedience to God's command, and in humble attendance on his providence, will certainly succeed and end with comfort at last.

Genesis 12:4-9 Abram departs from Haran, journeys through Canaan,
and worships God in that land.

Canaan was not a mere outward possession, but a type of heaven – the promised land that foreshadowed the real heaven to come (Hebrews 11:16). He journeyed through the country as a stranger, as a sojourner in this world. He continued to draw nearer to God through prayer – God revealed himself numerous times to Abram – Abram built alters of remembrance along the way.

*What “alter of remembrance” have you built to God? Have you seen and/or remembered His grace?

Genesis 12:10-20 Abram is driven by a famine into Egypt, he feigns his wife to be his sister.

Because of a famine, Abram brings his family to Egypt. This passage reveals Abram's “humanness” - although God has already appeared to him twice, he had just received great promises, and had experienced God's faithfulness he fell through unbelief and distrust of the Divine providence. He not only chose to sin, but led his wife, his attendants, and the Egyptians to sin also.

God reveals himself by delivering Abram out of his sin. God deals with his children not based on our actions, but based on his purposes and mercy all for his glory.
*How does this situation reveal God's glory? (God makes it clear that it is God's sovereignty, and not human initiative, that will bring the people of God into existence, God did not allow Pharaoh to hurt Abram's family, God exposed Abram's sin and granted him repentance, God kept Abram alive and continued His promises through a sinful man to reveal how deep His mercy and forgiveness goes, reveals that God's plans are not thwarted by our actions, a Christian will never fall beyond grace because it is God Himself who sustains them, points ultimately to the cross where forgiveness is found through Jesus Christ).

Genesis 13:1-4

Abram came out of Egypt very rich. The Hebrew word for rich is “heavy.” Habakkuk 2:6 says that those who will be rich load themselves with thick clay. Riches are a burden because of the care in getting them, the fear in keeping them, the temptation in using them, the guilt in abusing them, the sorrow in losing them, and the burden of giving an account to God for them in the end.(Mark 10:23-24)

*In America we strive to become rich – how can financial prosperity be a hindrance or blessing?

Yet God, in His providence, made Abram rich without sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). If prosperity is well managed it can be an opportunity to do more good than otherwise possible. In the midst of his riches, we still see Abram dependent on God and calling on his name. You may as soon find a living man without breath as one of God's people without prayer.

Genesis 13:5-9

Because of their overwhelming riches and animal stock, there was not enough room in the land for both of them (Abram and Lot). Quarrels, lying and slandering began with the servants, which was only made worse because they dwelt in the land inhabited by the Canannites and Perizzites- these quarrels would cause a reproach of their religion, and God's name. Abram wisely sought to solve the dilemma quickly. Although he was the elder and the greater of the two men, he yielded his first rights of the choice land to Lot in order to keep the peace. He understood that ultimately there was a greater land coming.

Lot, being selfish and choosing with the lust of his eyes, picked the fertile, fruitful land. Rather than looking to the morals of the country. The men of Sodom were impudent, daring sinners. This was the iniquity of Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and an abundance of idleness (Ezekiel 16:49). God often gives great plenty to great sinners.

Those who, in choosing relations, callings, dwellings, or settlements, are guided and governed by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life, cannot expect God's presence or blessing. They are commonly disappointed even in that which they principally aim at. In all our choices this principle should rule, That is best for us, which is best for our souls.
*How do you tend to make decisions? By that which is pleasing to you, or pleasing to God?

Bible Study Credits: Terri Stellrecht