Mature Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.

Abraham came from a far country that worshipped idols and didn’t know God, but one day he heard God’s voice. God knew Abraham was someone he could use. Let’s examine if our faith is one of obedience, certainty and an unshakeable confidence in God. What were the people thinking when God spoke to them? How did Abraham know it was God’s voice he was to follow? Whatever Abraham thought, he didn’t let his questions get in the way of following and doing what God said. Abraham knew it was different when he heard God. No matter what our questions are, we need to be obedient to God.

Genesis 12:1-4…Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and…thy kindred, and…father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed…Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed…

There was strife between Abraham and Lot’s people. Abraham humbled himself and let Lot chose the land he wanted. God had told Abraham to leave the land and his family. Lot went with him and was always a problem to Abraham. It’s important to follow God directions. Abraham gave Lot some land, but God said everything he could see was going to be his. Every place Abraham walked through the valley of the land, God gave him assurance that Abraham was his chosen.

Genesis 13:14-15  And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated…Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art…For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

Genesis 13:17-18 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre…in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

In Genesis 14 after God gave Abraham the promise, he had to go to war and rescue Lot from the enemy. As time went by, Abraham talked to God about being childless. Abraham could adopt Eliezer his servant that was born in his house. Abraham was close to God so he could ask about this. God said the children from his bowels would be as many as the stars in heaven and dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16). It reminded Abraham of God’s promise when he looked at the stars or dust.

Genesis 15:1-5…the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision…Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?…Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And…the word of the Lord came…This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he…said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them…So shall thy seed be.

God saw the way Abraham believed and counted it as righteousness. It wasn’t because Abraham was strong, rich or made right decisions. Abraham was close to God so he asked how he’d know the promise to inherit the land was sure.

Genesis 15:6-8 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said…I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit…he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

God made a covenant with Abraham. Covenant sacrifice animals were cut in half to 2 parts. People who made a covenant would pass between the parts to show they agreed and would abide by the covenant. Abraham cut 3 large animals in half, made 2 piles, and birds on the piles. He waited and waved away the birds to protect his sacrifice for the covenant. He fell into a deep sleep. God gave him a dream that showed his family would go to Egypt for 400 years and return with great substance.

Genesis 15:9-16 And he said…Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he…divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And…a deep sleep fell upon Abram…And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land…not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And…afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace…in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again…

Some have said the burning lamp is a symbol of God’s presence being with the Israelites in their suffering. Jeremiah 11:4 said God would bring the Israelites out of an iron furnace. God has promised to never leave us.

Genesis 15:17…the sun went down…was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp…passed between those pieces.

Paul said God’s oath and inability to lie were what made a strong and steadfast covenant of promise with Abraham.

Hebrews 6:13-18 For when God made promise to Abraham…he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is…an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew…immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge…hold upon the hope…before us:

God passed between the animal halves of covenant alone so the covenant was different. In Genesis 16 Sarah tried to take things into her own hands so Ishmael was born. God stated his part of the covenant and changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

Genesis 17:1-8 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said…I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him…behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but…shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and…make nations of thee, and kings…of thee. And I will establish …an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee…I will give unto thee, and to thy seed…Canaan, for an everlasting possession…

God gave Abraham circumcision, his part of the covenant. He obeyed by circumcising the men of his house and Ishmael.

Genesis 17:9-10 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant…and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed. Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Genesis 17:26-27 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah and said she was going to bear Abraham a son. Abraham had a glimmer of hope, maybe the size of a man’s hand, when God said he would have Isaac the next year. God’s covenant would be with Isaac. In Genesis 18 God told Abraham he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleaded for God’s mercy to any righteous there. Genesis 19 tells of the destruction of Sodom and of Lot fleeing to the mountain. In Genesis 20 Abraham moved to another place and lied to King Abimelech, saying Sarah was his sister. God protected Sarah.

Genesis 17:15-22 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife…Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her…and she shall be a mother of nations…Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?…O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed…shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish…with him for an everlasting covenant…And as for Ishmael…I have blessed …will multiply him exceedingly… But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear…And he left off talking…and God went up from Abraham.

We followed Abraham 25 years from Ur until he had a son. He obeyed everything God asked him to do. When God said to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham quickly obeyed and God provided a sacrifice. Part Abraham’s strength of faith was quickly obeying.

Genesis 21:1-8…Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son…Abraham called..him, Isaac. And…circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old…Abraham was an hundred years old…And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh…Who would have said …that Sarah should have given children suck?…the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast…

God made a way us to be saved. We can’t boast about our faith because we’re frail humans. We’re saved by grace. God has given each of us a measure of faith to believe and follow where he leads us. Our part of the covenant is to surrender all to God, no matter what is ahead. Behold, what manner of love that God walks with us every day and will even carry us.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Paul’s advice is to gird our mind – focus on God, be sober, and hold onto hope to the end. Draw nigh, hold on, quickly obey.

I Peter 1:13  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;