STORIES OF THE PROMISES OF GOD
God’s story is your story – every human being ever created has a place in this story. The Bible narrative gives us four major plot movements – creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. This is our story as well: we are created, we sin, are forgiven and restored. As we read through the Bible stories and examine the characters in them, we focus on our own spiritual journeys. We see how God always honours his promises and we are empowered to tell our stories and renew our promise to serve him. God wants a friendship with us.
This friendship is expressed as a Covenant relationship. On the one side God promises to strengthen, guide and sustain us. In return we promise to trust God with our lives. This study examines three of the Biblical records of the Covenant story. It begins with God’s Covenant with Abraham, and continues with the story of Moses and concludes with Jesus. God’s Covenant promises can speak to us as well. The question is whether we trust God enough to believe that these promises will be valid for us today. Trusting the promises of God can change our life-story! This series is intended as preparation for the annual Methodist Covenant Service. May these three weeks lead you to discover your own Covenant Relationship with God.. God Bless you!
Pete Grassow & Nadja Atkinson
THE PROMISE GOD MADE TO ABRAHAM
A NEW CHAPTER
This is the most important moment in the story of Abram (renamed Abraham in Genesis 17). It describes Abram beginning a new chapter in his life’s story – which was only possible because he chose to obey God. All other events in Abram’s life would not have taken place if it were not for the obedience Abram showed in vs4. Take note: Old age is no barrier to beginning a new story in life!
For reflection and discussion: Tell of a moment when your faithful response to God began a new chapter in your life’s story.
Genesis 15: 1-6
The important thing about Abram is that his story is part of a larger history – a God-story. This is a story that will become a blessing not only to Abram but to his descendants who will follow. See also Genesis 12 vs 2. Notice that the promise in God’s Covenant is that the next chapter of life will be a blessing – but it may not be easy, quick or comfortable.
For reflection and discussion: Give an instance in your life’s story that took you in a direction you had not planned – but which turned out to be a blessing.
Genesis 17: 1-8
Abram has his name changed to Abraham – from “exalted father” to “father of many”. This speaks of the leadership role assigned to him by God. As he proved willing to step out in faith, and as he was willing to travel to uncomfortable places, so he proved to be righteous 3 (Genesis 15:6). God now gives him a greater responsibility – that of the patriarch of a nation. Another chapter in his story is about to begin.
For reflection and discussion: Tell a story of taking on greater responsibility, and of the challenges in mentoring other people.
Personal reflection: Re-read the passages and re-frame the above story with you as the main character. List the promises God is making to you for your life through this story.
1. What do we learn about God in this story?
2. What do you learn about people in this story?
3. What application / adjustment do you need to make in your life due to the truth discovered in this story?
DAILY DEVOTIONS/ FURTHER READING
Day 1 Genesis 12:1 (NKJV)
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you”.
If God asked you to leave everything and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, would you be able to trust God enough to do so?
Day 2 Genesis 12: 2 (NKJV)
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing”.
Do you believe in your heart of hearts that you are a blessing to God and to other people? Why or why not?
Day 3 Genesis 12:17 (NKJV)
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
Do you give thanks to the Lord when you are blessed with something?
Day 4 Genesis 15:1
(NKJV) After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Can you live as if God is your shield and your exceedingly great reward?
Day 5 Genesis 15:6 (NKJV)
And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Do you trust God and believe that God’s promises apply to your life too?
Day 6 Genesis 17:7 (NKJV)
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
Does God head up your family?
Day 7 Genesis 17:8 (NKJV)
“Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Are you living in an everlasting covenant with God?