Walking with God is not always easy, as Abraham and Issac discovered. Much of the time, God allows us to follow Him without knowing all the details of how it will all work out. Through this process, God teaches us to walk by faith. Mercifully, when we stumble, God is still faithful.
God asked a lot of Abraham, from leaving his homeland and living a nomadic life, to trusting Him for a son despite his and Sarah’s advanced age, to being willing to sacrifice that son. Abraham did not always obey perfectly. He made some significant blunders, some of which still reverberate in the world today. But the promise God gave him has held fast, and today the sons and daughters of Abraham are more numerous than the stars in the sky, and include all who believe in Jesus Christ and have been adopted into God’s family.
What we see in Genesis 11-25 is a picture of a faithful, promise-keeping God, and in the culminating scene of Genesis 15, we glimpse God’s plan to suffer for us, to sacrifice for our salvation. He never turned His back on Abraham, Issac or any of His chosen family. He showed mercy to Hagar and Ishmael, who experienced God as One who sees them. It is a magnificent picture of a God who is moving His big picture purpose forward while being intimately involved in every individual life, moving us deeper in our walk of faith.
Beginning with the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 8-9, God made five major covenants or promises with His people throughout scripture. The covenants were with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ.
The covenants are clearly linked through scripture and speak to a relationship that God wants with His people. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements in previous covenants, never failing to obey and submit to God. Because of Jesus, we can have the relationship God wants with us, where He dwells in our hearts and transforms us, where we walk in freedom from sin and judgement because we have been saved.
Spend some time processing what you have learned with your Life Group/Discipler/CLASSES@FGA study group.
Abraham and Isaac’s stories remind us of our own walks with God: some hills, some valleys, and sometimes it feels like we take two steps forward and then fall ten steps back the next day. We usually stumble when we try to do something in our own strength, or tired of waiting on God and deciding to “help” Him! Yet God never wavers, never changes His plan, never gives up on us. What comfort does that give you that He is always faithful – to Himself, to His promises, to His people? How does knowing He is faithful change the way you want to relate to Him? In what area is God calling you to obey, even though it is hard? In what situation are you waiting for God to move? How are you tempted to take matters into your own hands? Will you surrender to Him, trust His timing and His ways?
Take time to respond to these closing questions:
End the time by praying…
Pray for a heart that rests in God’s faithfulness.
Pray for a willing heart to wait on God’s ways and God’s timing.
Pray for an obedient heart when God’s calling is difficult.