LESSON 14 – God’s Promise Renewed – Genesis 15

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LESSON 14 – God’s Promise Renewed – Genesis 15

  1. Discussion
    • Read Gen. 15. (or summarize the story briefly to your child) What promises does God make in Gen. 15:4-7? (His own son from his own body would be his heir, his family would be as  many as the stars, he would own all of the land God promised him through this heirs) Abram asks God how he is to know for sure the promise of God will come true. God tells him to get some animals. Abram falls into a deep sleep after laying out the pieces of the offering to God. God comes to him in a vision and makes several prophecies. What does God say will happen to Abram’s descendants? (vs. 13-16 – They will go into a foreign country and be made into slaves for 400 years. At the end of that time [4 generations] they will come out of that place with many possessions. All this is fulfilled when Jacob’s family moves to Egypt and in Moses’ day they are made slaves and he frees them.)
    • What does God promise to Abram? (He will live in peace and live a long life) What reason does God give for the 400 year delay for Abram’s family to take possession of the land? (The people that lived there – the Amorites – were not wicked enough yet for God’s judgment. He was giving them more time to repent.) What was it or who was it that passed between the pieces of the offerings? (vs 17-19 – A smoking firepot with a blazing torch – signifying God’s physical presence) What are the physical dimensions of the Promised Land? (Trace these on a map: from the Nile River to the Euphrates River) NOTE: for older students point out that the Jews have never, even in Solomon’s day, controlled that much of the land.  If you check out a map of Israel today, they possess barely a fourth of what was promised. Did God not make good on His promise? Of course not, Israel will finally possess all that God has promised them in the Millennium, the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth that has yet to come.
  2. Application
    • This story may seem confusing in some ways to your children.  Abram asks how he can know that God will perform His promises and God asks Abram for an odd assortment of animals?? What’s up with that? This is exactly the right answer as far as Abram was concerned. Today when a promise is made between people a lawyer is called in and each sign a contract that holds them legally bound to the conditions of the promise, or contract. There were no “lawyers” in Abram’s day. (I’m refraining from any possible lawyer jokes here) But they did have a way ratify, or make legal covenants. The ancient tradition was the parties involved would carve animals in half, lay out the pieces and then walk hand in hand in the middle between the pieces.  This was to show their pledge, based on the suffering and death of the sacrifices that they would stay true to the conditions of the contract. They would also declare, “So may it be done to him who breaks this covenant” (That means they would get cut in half). Who walks between the pieces of the animals? (Only God – Abram is asleep) What is the meaning of this? (That God is the one making the promise – it has nothing to do with Abram and his abilities or even his obedience.)
    • That fact that God’s promises to Abram were based on His intentions and power alone has a significant application to us today.  What was the one thing that this chapter records that Abram did? (vs. 6 – He believed God – even though not one promise had yet been fulfilled.) What was the result of that belief? (God called him righteous as a result of his belief.) Read Romans 4:1-5.  Abram did nothing that made him acceptable to God; it was his belief in God’s work that caused God to declare him righteous. It doesn’t even say that God was pleased with Abraham – the only thing he did was believe.  This is the same for us.  Today if we are to be counted as righteous before God, we must believe. Believe in just anything? No, of course not.  Our belief is based on the death of Jesus, who died in our place for our sins. Just as the animals had to die for God to ratify (confirm, finalize) his promise to Abram, so Jesus had to die to make us clean before God. Are you clean before God? Have you believed in His Son? Our attempts at goodness are considered as filthy rags in God’s sight. See Is. 64:6. This would be a good time to talk about the unconditional love God has for us. Our salvation is not based on works; the work is done by God alone.  Our jobs is to understand that we need a Savior – that we are sinful and cannot do it on our own – and call out for God’s grace and mercy.
  3. Digging Deeper
    1. In what area of your life [now or in the past] do you need God to say to you: “Do not be afraid _________ (insert your name), I am your shield, your very great reward.”? What makes you fearful? The future? Your relationships? Your circumstances? How can you combat fear and what is at the basis of a fearful attitude? Explain your trouble with fear and then tell how God can help you with it. If you have had triumph over fear, share that. Include at least 3 verses in your response.

 

 

When did you realize that you needed to trust in the Lord as your Savior? Did you try to be good on your own? Tell how you became a Christian.  How has your understanding of your salvation changed since then? How do you know for sure you are part of God’s family? Like Abram, do you have proof?