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Sabbath School Lessons on The Promise - God's Everlasting Covenant
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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 6: Abraham's Seed *
Introduction: Last week we touched on the subject of whether and why
God would choose a certain group to be His special messengers to the
world. The Bible reveals that God chose Israel to be His "covenant
partner." This week we explore further the question of what this
meant to Israel. Does God has special messengers today? If God has
special messengers today, who are they? Is it a job we would want? Is
it a job we can have? Let's dive into our study and find out!
- The Covenant with Israel
- Read Deuteronomy 7:1-3. Is this how you would map out a
plan to evangelize the community?
- When I was a teenager, the church established a
"youth center" for the teens of the church and the
community. There was a bit of controversy over this
idea. How would you grade that idea if you had only
this text to consider?
- Read Deuteronomy 7:4-6. What is the reason behind God's
directive to destroy, rather than convert, the
neighborhood the Israelites were entering? (God says "I
have chosen you to be My special people. You are not going
to convert them, they are going to convert you.")
- These verses seem so out of character with the
commands of the New Testament and our picture of a
loving God. How would explain these texts in the
greater context of the Bible? (We do not need to look
far. Read Deuteronomy 7:9-10. There comes a time for
judgment. A time that only God knows. When that time
comes, the opportunity for conversion has ended and
the time for God's judgment has come. God, in His
wisdom, knew that the time for judgment and not
conversion had come for the people who lived in the
- We know from the stories about the Exodus that the
Israelites sinned. Why are they getting "favored
treatment?" Why did God choose them to be His special
people over these other sinners? (Read Deuteronomy 7:7-8.
God says it was because of the covenants (the contracts,
the promises) that He made to their ancestors that they
- How far does having the right relatives go? Can God's
special people go on sinning and still expect to be
favored? Read Deuteronomy 7:11-15. What does this say
about the possibility of being thrown out of the group?
(Verse 12 starts out with "if you." The promise was
conditional upon obedience.)
- Scan Deuteronomy 28. Keep your eyes open when you come to
verses 15 and following. Were God's "covenant partners"
allowed to continue sinning without adverse consequences?
- Would you want this covenant today? If it were
offered, would you take it?
- Read Jeremiah 11:6-8. Was God just "putting fear in their
heart" when He talked about the possibility of curses? Was
God serious about obedience? (God very clearly imposed the
"downside" part of the agreement on His people.)
- There is much controversy today over whether God will
ultimately fulfill His old covenant promises to Israel of
today. What do you think, is this still a standing offer
- What do the texts we have just read suggest?
(Assuming this offer still stands, it is clearly
conditional on obedience.)
- Let's look at some other texts on this. Read Isaiah
4:3 and Zephaniah 3:12-13. What do these texts
suggest about the ultimate fulfillment of these
promises? (These suggest that some of God's people
were faithful and God blessed them.)
- The Covenant With Us
- Let's look at Deuteronomy 7:12-15 again. Notice the
breathtaking scope of the covenant. We briefly touched on
whether you would today want to enter into the covenant
God offered to Israel.
- Is this covenant available to us today?
- Can we be chosen?
- Have we been chosen? (Read Galatians 3:29. This is
what we discussed last week. If you accept Jesus,
then you become part of the "favored group" - a group
that does not make distinctions based on race, wealth
or sex.(See Galatians 3:28))
- What "distinctions" are made in this group? (If this
covenant is available, the distinctions seem to be
based on obedience. Obey, be blessed. Disobey, be
- My heart immediately asks, "What about the good
people who have bad things happen to them?"
"What about my friends who have had cancer?" Is
the Deuteronomy 28 idea "obey, be blessed,
disobey be cursed" contradicted by what we see?
- Should we decide what the Biblical rule is by
what we see? Or, should we decide what the
Biblical rule is by comparing Bible texts, and
not life experiences? (Deuteronomy 28, and
similar texts, show the sovereignty of God. If
we believe, as we learned last week, that God is
like a parent to us. If we believe that God is
in charge of all (despite the sin problem), then
we must believe that God works out what happens
in our lives for our good. We also know He has
promised to destroy sin and sinners. Ultimately,
when the sin problem has been defeated, He will
give us the full blessing that He desires for
us. The "end game" is that the righteous will be
blessed and the wicked will be cursed by the
ultimate penalty - eternal death.)
- This entire discussion of the "old covenants" applying to
us no doubt makes some readers nervous. What, you may ask,
do we say about Paul's comments about the "new covenant?"
Let's read Galatians 4:24-26. What does this add to our
discussion so far? Does it suggest we are going down the
- Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-8. How can the Ten
Commandments be called "the ministry that brought
death?" Didn't we just learn that obedience brought
- Read Romans 8:3-4. What has been added to the equation in
the "new covenant?" What additional element exists?
(Praise God! He sent His Son to obey the law and thus
fulfill that requirement for us.)
- What does verse 4 suggest about our continuing
obligation, under the covenant, to obey?
- Read Romans 4:16-17. How much has the covenant promise to
Abraham varied from the covenant promise to us? (Read
- Friend, the covenant promise from God has never changed.
Abraham was given an "impossible" promise, something that
he and his wife could not fulfill in their old age. But,
Abraham believed and God did the impossible for him. That
was "credited to him as righteousness." The same is true
for us today. We cannot fulfill the law, but by faith in
Jesus, it has been done on our behalf. Does that change
the rest of the covenant? No. It is still true that God is
sovereign, and that He will reward faithfulness and will
destroy the unfaithful. The question for you today is
this: will you enter into a covenant relationship with
- Next Week: Covenant at Sinai
* Copr. 2003, 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.