God's Promise to Abram
(This Bible story lesson
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AHHH! What a relief! Things appeared to have settled down after the battles. Lot's family and the people of Sodom were back home, thanks to Uncle Abram, and the everyday routine of living had returned. That is—all except for Abram.
Abram may have been just lying on his bed thinking about all that had just taken place. He may have been wondering if the kings would come after him because of what he had done to get back his nephew. He may have been thinking about how he was not yet a father. He so wanted to be a parent. Whatever he was thinking about—it brought fear into his heart.
Abram loved the Lord very much and the Lord loved Abram. In fact, Abram was called “a friend of God.” The Lord knew how fearful Abram was and wanted to comfort him. Abram saw the Lord in a vision and heard His voice saying, “FEAR NOT, Abram, I am your SHIELD, and your very great REWARD.”
Abram was glad that the Lord had come to visit him, and he understood that the SHIELD was a form of protection and that the Lord was saying He would always be there for Abram and would protect him from harm. But what did the Lord mean when He spoke of a REWARD? Abram already had everything he needed. He had great wealth and fame. The only thing Abram did not have was a son, and he was much too old to have children. In fact, Abram was already old enough to be a great-grandfather!
“O Sovereign LORD, what can You give me? I have no children because You have chosen not to give me any, so who will become my heir? What good is all this wealth if there is no one to inherit it? Will my servant Eliezer of Damascus be my heir?”
“NO,” the LORD continued on. “This man will not be your heir. You will have a son of your own.”
Then the LORD took Abram outside. “LOOK up at the heavens and COUNT the stars if you can. Your children and grandchildren will be as numerous as all the stars in the sky above.”
Abram was thrilled to hear this promise from God. He didn't understand just how it would happen, but he BELIEVED the words of the LORD and because of his belief in the LORD, his life was right with God. HOW WONDERFUL!
The LORD continued to talk with Abram. He reminded Abram of a promise He had made earlier: “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
“O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” Abram asked.
“Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon,” the LORD told Abram. Abram brought the animals. He cut all of them in half except for the birds and arranged the halves opposite each other. While he was doing all this, some birds of prey came down on the dead animals. Abram quickly drove them away.
The sun was now setting and Abram fell into a deep sleep. While he was sleeping, a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD spoke to Abram again telling him that he would grow to be a very, very old man and that his descendants would inherit not only his wealth, but also all the land he had walked upon from the river in Egypt to the great Euphrates River.
When the sun was totally down and it was completely dark, a smoking pot of fire and a burning lamp appeared, passing among the animals that Abram had brought for a sacrifice to the Lord. This was a sign that the Lord was pleased with Abram and would surely keep His promise!
Unfortunately, Sarai wasn't with Abram when the great promise was made and the Lord showed Himself to Abram in such a miraculous way.
Sarai squinted up at the bright sunshine streaming through the tent opening and sighed. She longed so badly to have a child, but she knew she it was impossible because she and Abram were so old. She knew God had promised Abram that he would have many children, and she wanted to believe God's promise, but she started to wonder if God meant that those children would be from her.
“If my servant Hagar had a child, I could raise that child as my own,” Sarai pondered to herself aloud, her eyes following the paths of a flock of birds soaring away from the sun. The thought stuck with her, and soon she went to tell her husband of it. Abram, wanting more than anything to make Sarai happy, agreed to the suggestion and took Hagar as his second wife.
Time passed slowly for Sarai while she was waiting for Hagar to have the child. There were times when Sarai felt jealous, but she calmed herself by remembering that Hagar's child would be hers to raise. After a while, Sarai began noticing how Hagar had started to look down on her.
Everyone waited and waited. It seemed as if the child would never be born. But finally the joyful day arrived and Hagar's baby was born. He was such a precious little boy. They named him Ishmael. Both Abram and Sarai loved him dearly, but since Hagar was the real mother and the household servant, it was her job to take care of the child.
Soon she began to act even more hateful towards Sarai, and Sarai grew angry with her. Finally Sarai told Abram about the way Hagar had been treating her. Abram was sad to see so much anger and turmoil in his home but, in an effort to comfort Sarai, he told her she could do whatever she wanted with Hagar.
Sarai began treating Hagar unkindly and demanding more of her. Hagar in turn began to hate Sarai. One day the arguing between Sarai and Hagar became so great that Hagar decided to leave. She took Ishmael and ran away into the desert. She hid herself away in the wilderness for several days, and soon she and Ishmael had nothing more to eat or drink, and Ishmael, being the weaker, was dying.
Of course, God knew where she was hiding, and He spoke to directly to her.
“Hagar, Sarai's servant, where did you come from, and where will you be going?” God asked her. Hagar hugged her son close and answered, “I am running away from Sarai.”
“Go back home and submit to her,” God said. “I will protect you and your son from harm. Your descendants will become a great nation and rise up to be so many, it will be impossible to count them. Ishmael will be a wild man, always fighting men, and men always fighting him. He will live near all his brothers.”
Then God caused a stream to spring up from the ground and Hagar and Ishmael drank from it and received their strength back. Hagar, knowing she had talked with God and had to obey, took Ishmael with her back to Abram and Sarai.
1. How did the Lord talk with Abram?
2. The Lord told Abram to look where and count what?
3. What was promised to Abram?
4. What was the name of Sarai's servant?
5. What did the Lord promise Hagar?
God ALWAYS keeps His promises.
A VERSE TO LEARN
“…Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them…so shall thy seed be” (Genesis 15:5).
ALTERNATE VERSES TO LEARN
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20).
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23).
Do you believe God talks to you? How does He do that? Can you think of some Bible promises for yourself? Do you think God would honor those promises? Would you continue to trust Him even if it took a long time? Did Abraham lose faith while he waited?
[After discussion:] Nowadays, God speaks to us through the Bible. He wants us to read the Bible and put our name on his promises, making them our own gift from Him. Abraham never lost faith. He continued to believe God would keep his promises. We'll be blessed as we follow Abraham's example. Which promise would you like to remind Him of today?
Dear God, thank You for today and for the
many gifts You have given to us. Please help
us to be patient and to trust that You will
answer our prayers.
In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Genesis 15 - 16
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Abraham (Bible Encyclopedia)
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The Birth of a Nation (Abraham to Joseph) - pg. 1
The Birth of a Nation (Abraham to Joseph) - pg. 2
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