We come to the end of the beginning this week. Session 13 is our final lesson in the book of Genesis. Next week we will embark on our journey through Exodus.
As we come to the conclusion of this unit we are confronted with a most difficult reality of the human heart: the inability to forgive others. How much additional pain has been introduced into our lives because we have not been able to forgive those who have hurt us? How freeing it would be if we could trust our God and feel no burden to exact vengeance upon our enemies?
We will watch as Joseph becomes “one who forgets” and is enables to be “one who is fruitful.” As we watch his life, may our hearts move quickly to Christ who makes all forgiveness possible.
We all have them.
We never want others to know about them.
They always seem to show up at the worst times.
The skeletons in the closet. We work hard to make sure people don’t become aware of those things that cause us to blush and squirm. Often, those skeletons have to do with our families.
It might be that distant uncle that no one invites to family picnic. Maybe it is the scandal from a few generations back. Maybe it’s you!
In all seriousness, we do experience circumstance in our families that can cause great pain and heartache. We know of broken homes, hurting relationships, and deep emotional scars. Families can be very dysfunctional.
In this week’s lesson we are going to see that the dysfunction in our homes does not thwart God’s purposes. He remains trustworthy in spite of brokenness and failures.
Have you ever felt the disappointment of a broken promise? Have you ever caused someone else to swallow that bitter pill as you failed to come through on something you pledged to do?
It takes so long to build trust, yet a moment of faithlessness can shatter years of apparent trustworthiness.
But what if we knew someone who never failed to keep a promise? What if someone was so truthful in all he said and did that we never had to worry if he would come through on what he guaranteed?
As Christians, we have a great encouragement for our souls in that we do have one who fits this description. God alone is both perfectly true and perfectly trustworthy. And isn’t this good news for us? God has made many promises to us through his Word. How awful would it be if we weren’t sure if he would remain faithful to us? But our lives with Jesus are not awful. They are hope filled, because we know God’s character is always consistent. He always does what he says he will do.
This week we will observe as God keeps his promise to Abraham through his grandson, Jacob.
Tests are awful.
Who really likes to sit down with pencil in hand ready to fill in bubble upon bubble responding to questions about the physical make-up of a cell? Who wants to write line upon line for that essay comparing the American and French Revolutions?
Many a student has fretted, worried, lost sleep, crammed, and nearly bit off their fingernails leading up to the big test. Why do we respond this way?
I think it has something to do with the fact that we are afraid of the consequences if we fail. We get so overloaded with the thought that a potentially bad grade may go on our permanent record that we can’t think straight about mitochondria, ribosomes, or cilium, let alone feudalism, taxation, or the Reign of Terror.
In a fascinating moment in biblical history, though, we get to see a man take a test that is for more stress-filled and consequence-laden than any we have ever attempted. Abraham’s faith is tested through God’s command to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.
We know the end of the story. We know that Abraham passes with flying colors. We know that Abraham’s faith stands. What is so amazing, though, is how calm and sure Abraham seems to be. Throughout the entire narrative, Abraham’s trust in God guides his emotions and his actions. Let’s think together about what we can learn by watching Abraham take this test.
Father Abraham had many sons. And many sons had Father Abraham…
Why do we sing this song and praise the Lord and shake our right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, etc?
It is because God came to Abraham and graciously made a covenant with him. Abraham was to be the Father of many nations. He would be patriarch over the line that would produce the seed of Eve who would one day crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).
The lesson we are studying this week is crucial for our understanding of biblical Christianity. Here we see God establishing a binding covenant that stands even to this day. Through Abraham, God would establish his people of promise, Israel. Now, through Christ, we are grafted into the true family of Abraham. Paul says so much in Galatians 3:29. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
The promises made by God to Abraham are now in play for the sons and daughters of Abraham. The sons and daughters of Abraham are those who are in Christ. It is a great blessing to be an heir according to promise.
So when we sing that favorite kids’ song, let’s do what it says.
“So let’s all praise the Lord!”
God is gracious with us as he deals decisively with our sin.
We see this truth in this week’s lesson focusing on the narrative of the building of the tower of Babel and its subsequent destruction. God does not destroy the world this time, but rather causes confusion among humanity, thus slowing their ability to collectively rebel against their creator.
You will have a good opportunity this week to bring your learners through the text. Point one makes us get into a phrase by phrase analysis of what is being said about the human heart. This is a valuable exercise for your class.
About halfway through the video we will jump to the whiteboard and do a little textual analysis. I want to show you from the first few verses that the focus of the text is that God came down to see what man was up to. God sees what we are doing and thus holds us accountable for our actions.
God will not allow his purpose to glorify himself to be thwarted. He will take action to make sure that his purposes prevail.
Keep us the good work. Remember, the best thing you can do for your people is to get them in the Scripture. Let them see God’s truth before them.
As I write this post we are trying to diagnose and fix a water leak on the church property. A water main that runs under the parking lot has a leak that is causing a washout to occur, leaving a hollowed out portion of earth hidden from plain sight.
This situation reminds me of the way sin works. Desires that churn under the surface leave a gaping hole in our hearts that often goes undetected for some time. Eventually, we see the washout, or the manifestation of that sin before us. We all know that by the time we see the evidence of sinful actions, our sinful desires have already been running rampant.
This week we are studying the story of Cain and Abel as it is recorded in Genesis 4. We will learn all about how sin spreads. The spread of sin begins with evil desires, results in condemnable actions against others, and is overcome only by God’s mercy and promise.
I am praying for you as you teach this critical lesson.