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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!

  1. The Call


    1. Read Genesis 11:31-32. Who does it appear initiated this trip? (Terah)


      1. What was the destination? (Canaan).


        1. Did they make it? (No. They settled in Haran.)


        2. If you can, look at a map and tell me how Haran is on the road from Ur to Canaan?


    2. 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.)


    3. Have you experienced God's call to change something in your life and you did it by degrees and not all at once?


    4. 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.)


    5. Read Genesis 12:1-3. What does God promise Abram?


      1. 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) have children.)


      2. 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.)


      3. 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 God.)


  2. Wavering


    1. 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 Egyptians.)


      1. What impact might the famine had on Abram's faith in God?


      2. 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.)


    2. 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.)


      1. Guess where Abram acquired Hagar (a subject we will deal with later) who was an "Egyptian maidservant?"


    3. 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 followed.)


      1. 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.)


  3. Conflict Resolution


    1. 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.)


    2. Read Genesis 13:8-9. Does Abram follow my "wisdom" in resolving the problem? (No. He lets Lot decide.)


      1. What does this show about Abram's character? (Unselfish. Doesn't claim rights which are his.)


    3. Read Genesis 13:10-12. On what basis does Lot make his choice?


      1. 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?


      2. 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.)


    4. Read Genesis 13:13. What does Lot not take into account when he moves to Sodom?


      1. Is this an issue for us today?


    5. 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.)


      1. 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 to us.)


      2. 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 on God.)


  4. The Rescue


    1. 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 own freedom.)


    2. 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.)


      1. 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?


      2. 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 without insurance?


    3. Read Genesis 14:15-16. What new skills do we see in Abram? (He understands the art of war.)


    4. Read Genesis 14:18-20. What entitled Abram to give a tenth of what he had captured? Did all of the booty belong to Abram?


      1. 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 victory.)


    5. 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.)


      1. 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.)


    1. 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 that.


  1. 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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