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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 7: The Man Abram *
Introduction: Has God called you to serve Him? Have you let God down?
If you have felt the call, but found that you have failed God by
being unworthy, this study is for you! Abram shows us what it means
to fail God and what God will do for those who learn from their past
mistakes. Let's jump into our study!
- The Call
- Read Genesis 11:31-32. Who does it appear initiated this
- What was the destination? (Canaan).
- Did they make it? (No. They settled in Haran.)
- If you can, look at a map and tell me how Haran
is on the road from Ur to Canaan?
- Read Acts 7:2-4. What points in our story does Acts
clarify? (The call was to Abram, not the father Terah. The
implication is that Terah might have been an obstacle to
obedience because they settled in Haran and did not
complete their journey until after he had died.)
- Have you experienced God's call to change something in
your life and you did it by degrees and not all at once?
- Look again at Acts 7:3. How difficult a call would this be
for you? (God calls Abram to leave his country and his
people to go to somewhere Abram has never seen.)
- Read Genesis 12:1-3. What does God promise Abram?
- Read Genesis 11:29-30. What problem would Abram have
in believing God's promise? (God promised to make him
a "great nation," but his wife could not (or did not)
- Read Genesis 11:4. What other problem would Abram
have in believing God? (The philosophy of the day was
that sticking together, building a city and tower,
were the way to make a name for yourself.)
- I've been hammering away about the problem of pride
in Eve's sin and the tower of Babel. Is God
encouraging pride in Abram? (God promises him honor
and greatness if he will obey. The problem with Eve
and the tower builders is that they wanted to grasp
greater honor by going contrary to the commands of
- Genesis chapter 12 continues by telling us that Abram
moves to Canaan. Let's continue on with our story by
reading Genesis 12:10-13. What has happened to Abram's
faith? (If God was telling him the truth about becoming a
great nation, he certainly could not be killed by the
- What impact might the famine had on Abram's faith in
- What does this suggest about the way that Sarai
dressed? (Given variations on the way women in that
part of the world dress, it makes me wonder how Sarai
dressed. This tells us that Sarai must have dressed
in a way that at least showed her face.)
- Read Genesis 12:14-16. Is Abram's lie turning out well for
him? Was his prediction correct? (Abram's prediction is
correct. He is "making money" from his lie.)
- Guess where Abram acquired Hagar (a subject we will
deal with later) who was an "Egyptian maidservant?"
- Read Genesis 12:17-20. Why did God do what He did? Why not
just let Abram continue on his path and find someone else
to be a great nation? (This shows several sides of God.
First, he disciplines (lightly, I might add) Abram for his
lie. Innocent Pharaoh seems to suffer the most. Second,
God is more faithful than Abram. (For which we can all be
thankful.) Third, God intervenes to be sure His will is
- Abram has gotten "off track." How does he get back on
the track? Is it based on repentance and voluntarily
turning back to God's way? (He gets tossed out of the
country under a cloud of scandal.)
- Conflict Resolution
- Read Genesis 13:1-7. Abram has a good problem in many
ways. Abram left this area years before because of a
famine. He returns wealthy. Lot has also been blessed.
The two of them have more grazing animals than the land
can support, and that creates a serious problem. Assume
they come to you, as a judge, to decide how this should be
resolved. How would you resolve it? (I would say that
Abram had been the benefactor of Lot. Abram was also
senior. He was no doubt more wealthy. Lot should be the
one to leave the area and find his own grazing land. Plus,
Abram had been given this place by God! Genesis 12:7.)
- Read Genesis 13:8-9. Does Abram follow my "wisdom" in
resolving the problem? (No. He lets Lot decide.)
- What does this show about Abram's character?
(Unselfish. Doesn't claim rights which are his.)
- Read Genesis 13:10-12. On what basis does Lot make his
- Is this the choice you would make? Or, would you
"divide" the plain of Jordan so your Uncle Abram
could have a part of the best land?
- What other advantage does the plain of Jordan have
for Lot? (It has cities. That would mean that
entertainment and trade were near at hand.)
- Read Genesis 13:13. What does Lot not take into account
when he moves to Sodom?
- Is this an issue for us today?
- Read Genesis 13:14-17. I thought we just had a property
division and Abram "lost." What is this? (God negates the
decision of Lot. He tells Abram that he has not given up
any land. It will all be his.)
- Is there a connection between Abram's decision with
regard to Lot and God's announcement to Abram? (I
think so. As we show unselfishness, God is generous
- What life lesson is there for us in this part of the
story? (Humans can decide whatever they want. It is
God who orders the course of humans. Abram depended
- The Rescue
- Read Genesis 14:8-12. What other result comes to Lot from
living among the cities? (He gets caught up in local
politics which end up in war. Lot's decision causes him
to lose everything he has acquired - including losing his
- Read Genesis 14:13-14. What do you think it means to have
"318 trained men born in his household?" (Abram had a
"standing army." When it says, "trained," I understand
this to mean trained to fight.)
- We just got through looking at a story where Abram's
complete dependence on God gets him all of the land -
notwithstanding the decision of Lot. Would you say
that Abram having a trained army shows a lack of
faith in God?
- When I was growing up, I knew of a pastor who did not
have any insurance on his house because he trusted
God to protect his home and furnishings. What does
Abram's example suggest about the wisdom of going
- Read Genesis 14:15-16. What new skills do we see in Abram?
(He understands the art of war.)
- Read Genesis 14:18-20. What entitled Abram to give a tenth
of what he had captured? Did all of the booty belong to
- What message does giving a tenth of the booty to
Melchizedek send? (I've been talking about the human
wisdom of a standing army and Abram's military skill.
This act shows that Abram credits God with the
- Read Genesis 14:21-24. Is the King of Sodom being
generous? (I don't think he is in a position to bargain.
This is pure bluster.)
- Even though Abram could keep the plunder, why does he
refuse it? Why care about what the King of Sodom will
say? (We see "growth" in Abram. God has blessed him.
He does not want the King of Sodom taking credit for
what God has done for him.)
- Friend, what lesson do you learn from our study of Abram?
God was faithful to Abram, even when he was not faithful
to God. However, God's patience with Abram resulted in a
generous attitude and a trust in God. God blessed him for
- Next week: Faith and Frailty.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.