October 25, 2020 – Genesis 11 – 13

Lesson Date: October 25, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 11:27-30; 12:1-8; 13:14-18

AIM: To lead students to discover and discuss the promises God made to Abram, and to accept and thank God for some of the promises He has made to those who belong to Jesus Christ.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 11:27 – 13:18 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Before class: Be sure the “Map of the Ancient World” is on display in the classroom. Become familiar with it so you can point out the locations of Ur, Haran, Canaan, and Egypt. Be sure the “Map of Canaan” is also displayed in the classroom. Be prepared to point out Shechem, Bethel, Sodom, Mamre, and Hebron on the map. Write the following scripture references on index cards or small pieces of paper: Matthew 28:20b; John 14:3; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Peter 1:3-5. Enlist some students who are comfortable reading aloud to look up one or more of the scriptures and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon. Have the “Life Span Chart” available to show the class in steps 1 and 2.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “Have you ever attended a wedding?” (yes). Tell the class one of the important parts of a wedding ceremony is the exchange of vows. Ask them to name some of the promises that are usually included in these vows. After several promises are named, ask: “Does the bride make these promises to the groom, or does the groom make them to the bride?” (they each make the promises to the other). Stress the fact that both the bride and groom make promises or vows.

Ask: “Have you ever attended a wedding in which only the groom made vows or only the bride made vows?” (no – the vows are always made by both parties). Tell the students it would be very strange for only one partner to make promises and the other to remain silent. Tell the class the same is true for any type of contract, such as when we buy a car or a house: both parties make promises of what they will do as a result of that contract.

Tell the class in today’s lesson we are going to learn about some very special promises God made to Abram, and see whether God required Abram to make any promises in return. Today we will discover and discuss those promises.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the book of Genesis.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s instructions, promises, and warnings after the Flood).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Gen. 9:16).
  2. Abram’s Family.
    • Remind the class that last week’s lesson ended with the incident at the Tower of Babel.
    • Tell them that Genesis 11:10-26 name the descendants of Noah’s son Shem.
    • Show the “Life Span Chart” to illustrate the fact that life spans diminished greatly in the centuries following the Flood. The post-Flood world is not as healthy or conducive to long life as the pre-Flood world was.
    • Read Genesis 11:27-30.
    • Explain the following:
      • Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
      • Terah and his family lived in Ur of the Chaldees (locate on the “Map of the Ancient World”).
      • Haran died, but his brothers Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves.
      • Abram’s wife was named Sarai.
    • Ask: “Could Sarai bear children?” (no).
    • Summarize: Abram and his family lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram’s wife Sarai could not bear children.
  3. God’s Call and Initial Promises to Abram.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Abram to do?” (leave his homeland and family and go to a land God would show him).
    • Ask: “Have you ever left your home and family to move far away?”
    • Tell the students that leaving one’s home and family can be very difficult.
    • Show the “Life Span Chart” once again to illustrate the fact that all of Abram’s ancestors back to Shem were still living when God told Abram to leave home. Leaving our parents and grandparents might be tough, but imagine leaving nine generations of your family to move away to an unknown land, from which you might never return!
    • Ask: “Did Abram know where he was going?” (no).
    • Tell the class that God made seven important promises to Abram in verses 2-3.
    • Ask them to identify the following promises, and briefly discuss what each one meant.
      • God promised to make of Abram a great nation (even though he had no children).
      • God promised to bless Abram.
      • God promised to make Abram’s name great. Even today, Christians, Jews, and Muslims still revere Abraham.
      • God promised that Abram would be a blessing. This was ultimately fulfilled through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Abram’s greatest descendant, Jesus Christ.
      • God promised to bless those who bless Abram. This promise still applies to Abram’s descendants, the Jews. It is wise to bless the Jews.
      • God promised to curse those who cursed Abram. This, too, still applies to the Jews. It is foolish to curse the Jews. Many have tried to destroy them, but the Jews remain.
      • God promised that all the families (nations, races, and tongues) of the earth would be blessed through Abram. This promise is fulfilled through Abram’s most important descendant, Jesus Christ.
    • Tell the class these were God’s promises to Abram.
    • Ask: “What did God ask Abram to promise in return?” (nothing – these were completely one-sided promises).
    • Summarize: God called Abram to leave his family and homeland and move to a land God would show him. God made some very special promises to Abram.
  4. Abram Obeyed and Abram Worshiped.
    • Read Genesis 12:4-8.
    • Ask: “Did Abram obey God?” (yes).
    • Ask: “Do you obey the Lord when He tells you to do something?”
    • Ask: “How old was Abram when he left his home and family?” (75).
    • Direct the students’ attention to the “Map of the Ancient World” and explain that Abram left Ur (in modern Iraq), traveled 600 miles northwest to Haran (in modern Syria), and then traveled more than 360 miles southwest to Shechem (in the modern Palestinian territory of the West Bank). Locate Shechem on the “Map of Canaan.”
    • Tell the class that Abram’s nephew Lot accompanied them. Canaanites (descendants of Ham’s cursed son Canaan) lived in the land.
    • Ask: “What happened at Shechem?” (the Lord appeared to Abram).
    • Ask: “What did God promise Abram at Shechem?” (to give that land to Abram’s descendants).
    • Explain that even though that land is disputed today and has been for thousands of years, it rightfully belongs to the Jews who will one day possess all of it.
    • Tell the class that Abram built an altar and worshiped God at Shechem.
    • Abram then moved on to Bethel (locate on the “Map of Canaan”) where he built another altar and called upon the name of the Lord.
    • Summarize: Abram obediently journeyed into Canaan. The Lord appeared to him at Shechem, promising to give the land to Abram’s descendants.
  5. Abram’s Failure and Return.
    • Tell the class that Abram was not some sort of “superman” who never failed; he was a real person. In fact, the Bible tells us about one such failure in Genesis 12:10-20.
    • Explain the following:
      • There was a famine in the land.
      • Abram did not trust God to provide for him, so he left Canaan and went to Egypt (locate on the “Map of the Ancient World”).
      • In Egypt Abram lied about Sarai’s identity to protect himself from harm.
    • After that embarrassing event Abram returned to Bethel and called upon the name of the Lord again (Gen. 13:1-4).
    • Abram and his nephew Lot separated, and Lot chose to move toward the wicked city of Sodom (Gen. 13:5-11). Locate Sodom on the “Map of Canaan.”
    • Summarize: Abram failed to trust God, left the place God told him to live, and lied about Sarai’s identity. After this failure, Abram returned to Bethel and called upon the Lord.
  6. God Made More Promises to Abram.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 13:14-18.
    • Ask: “What did God promise Abram in verses 14-15?” (his descendants would possess the land in all directions forever).
    • Stress that this is a “forever” promise. That means the land of Israel belongs to the Jews, in spite of what men and governments may say.
    • Ask: “What did God promise Abram in verse 16?” (that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth).
    • Ask: “Did Abram and Sarai have any children?” (no).
    • Tell the class that’s a big promise to make to a man who has no children at all!
    • In verse 17 God told Abram to walk throughout the land.
    • Ask: “What did God promise Abram in verse 17?” (He was giving all the land to him).
    • Abram traveled about 25 miles southward to the plain of Mamre near Hebron (locate both on the “Map of Canaan”), where he built an altar to the Lord.
    • Ask: “Did God ask Abram to make any promises to Him?” (no: these were again one-sided promises).
    • Summarize: God promised that Abram and his descendants would possess the land of Canaan, and that Abram’s descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that most contracts and agreements require promises from both parties. At weddings both the groom and the bride make vows to one another. When you purchase a house or car, both parties make certain promises. The promises God made to Abram, however, were one-sided. Because God graciously chose Abram, He made many promises to him without asking anything in return.

Similarly, God has made many promises to those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Like the promises God made to Abram, these promises are not contingent upon our behavior; they are the gracious promises of a loving God to His children. Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read the promises found in the scripture references you gave out before class. After each verse is read ask the students to tell what God promised. Note that those verses do not require any particular behavior on our part. In fact, we don’t even have to believe the promises for them to be valid. Similarly, God’s promises to Abram did not require his belief; but the Bible makes it clear that Abram did, in fact, believe God.

Tell the students to accept and thank God for the promises He has made to those who belong to Jesus Christ. If anyone present does not belong to Jesus Christ then those promises do not apply to him or her. Urge anyone who has never repented of their sins and trusted Jesus for salvation to do so while you pray. Tell everyone to silently thank God for His promises while you lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Genesis 12:2-3. Encourage them to listen to God’s voice from the Bible and then to obey what He says. Also encourage them to accept and believe the many wonderful promises God has made to them.

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