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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 2: Abraham and Isaac

This entry is part 2 of 29 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 2: Abraham and Isaac

Weekly memory verse:

Genesis 12:2 – “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”

Weekly hymn:

“The God of Abraham Praise” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

Why did God make you and all things?
God made me to glorify him and enjoy him forever.

Day 6: God Establishes Human Government

Reading: Genesis 8:20–9:17; 11:1–9

Notes

Chapter 9, Verse 9. Covenant. God made this covenant not only with his people, but with “every living creature.” This passage (8:20–9:17) is the establishment of God’s common kingdom by which he rules over the earth through the means of human government, including the death penalty in cases of murder (9:6) based on the fact that people are created in the image of God.

Chapter 11, Verse 4. Top in the heavens. God established human government as the means through which he rules his common kingdom, but very quickly government was corrupted as a means to establish human autonomy and rebellion against God.

Verse 5. Came down. This is an ironic statement made by the narrator. The people wanted to build a high tower to heaven, but even then God, who is always high above all, had to “come down” to see what they had made.

Verse 9. Babel … confused. The Hebrew word translated “confused” is Balel, which sounds like the name of the city. Later this very city would be called Babylon (see Rev 17–18), the epitome of a worldly city.

Summary

God intended human government to be the means through which he would rule the common kingdom of the world. God intended human government to enforce his moral laws, protect the innocent, and punish evil. However, although human government was created by God, it regularly seeks to establish humanity as autonomous and self-sufficient. Thus God divided the people through confusing their languages, creating multiple people groups with their own governments.

READ
Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 17: Saul's Rise and Fall

Discussion Questions

Day 7: The Call of Abram

Reading: Genesis 11:26–12:20

Notes

Chapter 12, Verse 1. This is the initial introduction to the Abrahamic covenant, an everlasting, unilateral covenant God makes with Abram.

Verse 7. Land. Part of God’s covenant with Abram is that his offspring would inherit the land of Canaan, a promise still yet to be completely fulfilled. Altar. Abraham worships in response to God’s self-revelation and covenant.

Summary

God’s covenant with Abram has ramifications for his offspring to this day, the promise having yet to be fulfilled. Yet the promise to bless all the nations of the world through Abram has and is being fulfilled through Jesus Christ, Abraham’s seed, who offers salvation to all who believe in him.

Discussion Questions

  1. If God promised that Abraham’s descendants would inherit the land of Caanan forever, will he keep his promise?
  2. What can Abram’s response to God’s covenant teach us about worship?
  3. How can we non-Jews been blessed by the Abrahamic covenant?

Day 8: Lot

Reading: Genesis 13:10–14:16

Notes

Chapter 13, Verse 14. God reaffirms his promise to Abram that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan.

Chapter 14, Verse 13. Hebrew. This is the first time this ethnic title is used. It means “descended from Eber” (see 11:15–17).

Summary

God reaffirmed his promise Abram after Lot chose the fertile land of the Jordan Valley. His defeat of Lot’s captors confirm that God will indeed bless Abram and his descendants.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think motivated Lot to choose the land that he did?
  2. What is revealed about Abram when he allows Lot to choose the land first?
  3. What is revealed about Abram in his successful rescue of Lot?
READ
Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 9: Worshiping God at Sinai

Day 9: Blessing and Promise

Reading: Genesis 14:17–15:21; 16:1–16

Notes

Chapter 14, Verse 18. Melchizedek. This mysterious priest-king over Jerusalem has no biography or genealogy, leading later biblical authors to use him as a type of Christ (see Psalm 110:4; Hebrew 7:17, 21). Priest of God Most High. This phrase indicates that Melchizedek did not worship one of the Canaanite pagan gods; rather, he worshiped the true God, the same God that called Abram (see v. 22).

Chapter 15, Verse 6. Believed. Abraham was justified, not by works, but by faith in the promises of God (see Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23).

Verse 7. Land. God’s promise that Abram would inherit land is intricately tied with his covenant and confirmed in a formal ceremony (vv. 9–21).

Verse 12. Sleep. God put Abram to sleep because the covenant did not require any action on Abram’s part; the covenant was completely unilateral—God would fulfill his promises regardless of what Abram or his descendants did.

Chapter 16, Verse 3. Hagar. It was a customary practice to marry a maidservant in the case of no male heir, but this demonstrated lack of faith in God’s promise.

Verse 7. Angel of the Lord. This individual appears many times in the Old Testament and is often identified as the reincarnate Christ, one who is in some way both distinct from and identified with Yahweh.

Verse 12. Against. Ishmael’s descendants are modern day Arabs.

Summary

God will keep his promises, no matter how impossible they seem. Some of God’s promises are dependent upon how we act, but others are unilateral, meaning that God will keep them no matter what we do.

READ
Bible Narratives Family Devotional Aids

Discussion Questions

  1. How can you be sure God will keep his promises?
  2. Why is it important to believe the promises of God, no matter how impossible they seem?
  3. What promises has God made to you?

Day 10: The Birth of Isaac

Reading: Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7

Notes

Chapter 18, Verse 3. Lord. Abraham recognized one of the three men as the true God.

Chapter 21, Verse 1. Visited. This conception and birth was clearly a miracle of God.

Verse 4, Circumcised. Cutting away the male foreskin was what God had commanded of Abraham’s descendants as a sign of the covenant (see 17:11).

Summary

God can do anything, and we should trust that when he says he will do something, he will.

Discussion Questions

  1. Are there any promises God has made to you that seem impossible?
  2. Why do you think God makes promises to us that seem impossible?
  3. What can you do to be sure that you trust in God’s promises no matter what?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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