Is anything too hard for the Lord? F260- Week 3- Day 1

Scripture Reading- Genesis 18-19

This Week’s Memory Verse:

(20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Romans 4:20

Highlight:

(9) And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
(10) And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
(11) Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
(12) Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
(13) And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
(14) Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
(15) Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Genesis 18:9-15

Explanation:
A key question needs to be answered about this passage.

Who are they?

For sure, at least one of the trio is a theophany, a term we use for an appearance of God in the Old Testament. Abram calls him Lord, which some would say was just a respectful greeting. Yet as you see Abram interact with this man in this interchange, it becomes abundantly clear that this is Jehovah. The man speaks authoritatively about Sarah having a son. He speaks authoritiatively about judgment of Sodom. In verse 17 the name that is used for Lord is Jehovah. Later in chapter 19 two angels head toward Sodom. Is this Jehovah accompanied by two angels? That seems to fit.

What happens in chapter 18?
We see that God affirms his covenant with Abraham, especially that Sarah would conceive and bare a son. When he declares it yet again, Sarah, who is listening in responds in laughter.

(12) Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

Genesis 18:12

Another evidence that this is the omniscient God is that He perceived the internal doubt characterized as laughter that Sarah expressed. He challenged her doubt with a relevant question:

Is any thing too hard for the LORD?

Genesis 18:14a

Application:
What an incredible question! Allowing to be asked in our own lives will generate an incredible answer. No! There is nothing too hard for the Lord. He can do anything that is within His character to do, and since He is holy, righteous, just, omniscient, ominipotent, ominisapient, and omnipresent, He can and will do everything that must be done for His own glory and for the good of those who trust in Him! When God makes a promise He keeps it, even when that promise seems impossible.

What should that cause us to do? We should want to know the promises of God, and to trust God to complete those promises!

Response:
Lord, help me to trust you today with my family, with my time, with the direction of our church. Help me not to go out on my own, but to follow you.

Avoid Pain through Trust – F260- Week 2- Day 5

Scripture Reading- Genesis 16-17

This Week’s Memory Verse:

(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8

Highlight:

(1) Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
(2) And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
(3) And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
(4) And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Genesis 16:1-4

Explanation:
God had told Abram that he would be the father of many nations. This obviously meant that he needed to have children. I’m sure it must have been difficult waiting for them both to wait for Sarai to conceive. Their faith was put to the limits when God was making promises and the fulfillment of those promises seemed to be delayed. Sarai decided to rely on social tradition for the fulfillment of God’s promise rather than waiting on the miracle. She told Abram to do something sinful in conceiving a child through her servant, and the implications of all that happened through that pregnancy were both immediate and lasting.

Application:
When we rush ahead of God we make life way more complicated. We sin, and suffer the consequences. It is in moments where God does not seem to be doing what He promised that we need to trust God and be faithful and obedient. I’m so thankful that we have the example of people in the scripture to learn from. It’s far easier to read and learn than live and learn. Our God is a promise keeping God. We must believe and behave accordingly.

Response:
God, help me to trust You today, and express that trust through obedience.

Abram’s Justification by Faith- F260- Week 2- Day 4

Today’s Reading:
Genesis 15

This Week’s Memory Verse:
(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8

Highlight:

(1)  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
(2)  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
(3)  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
(5)  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
(6)  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:1-6

Explain:

“(1)  After these things …”

Genesis 15:1a

Today’s verses start out with the expression “After these things” which gives us a chance to refer to what had happened in the past few chapters. Abram was called by God to leave his country and kindred in chapter 12. He and his wife Sarai go to Egypt. There Sarai was noticed by the princes of Pharaoh in an ungodly way. God plagued Pharoah’s house because of this. In chapter 13 we see God was blessing him with wealth. Abram left Egypt and went to Bethel where he had sacrificed earlier. There was a division between his workers and Lot’s so they separate. Lot ends up going into Sodom. Abram intercedes for Lot in prayer and rescues Lot out of that city. Then we see this very interesting figure, prophet, priest, and king Melchizadek, who blessed Abram, and even tithed to Abram.

After all of this happened, God comes to the Abram in a vision and says this expression to him.

“…the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

Genesis 15:1b

God says this to Abram and certainly it could describe Abram’s past, present and his future. God had proteceted (shielded) Abram. God had exceedingly blessed (rewarded) Abram. By putting this in the present tense it is as if he is stating that this is a constant and ongoing reality for Abram.
But that brings up a question for Abram. God had promised him that He would be the father of a great nation, and that all of the families of the earth would be blessed by him. How is this going to happen if he doesn’t have a child?

(2)  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
(3)  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

Genesis 15:2-3

Abram asks the question about his servants child. There were traditions that made chlidren born to the servants part of the lineage of their masters. Was this how God was going to fulfill his promise to Abram? It was a relevant enough question for Abram that He brought it up to God.
Here was God’s answer.

(4)  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Genesis 15:4

God was reaffirming this promise. The older that Abram and Sarai grew without children, the more and more implausable the fulfillment of this promised must have seemed to be. Yet God clearly declared to Abram, you are going to have a son. He will be your biological son. He then illustrates this answer with a object lesson.

(5)  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Genesis 15:5

What were the objects in the object lesson? The countless stars in the sky that God had made. If you have ever been outside of the city lights on a clear night and were able to see the stars, you know just how countless the stars really are. That many stars must have seemed pretty incredible as a promise to a man who didn’t even have 1 child. Yet look at Abrams response to God.

“(6)  And he believed in the LORD; “

Genesis 15:6a

Abram took God at His word. Even though he didn’t have any kids, he believed that God would give him countless numbers of children. When Abram believed God responded, too.

“and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Genesis 15:6b

There it is. Justification by faith found in the first book of the Bible. God didn’t justify or count Abram as righteous because of his works. He counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Apply:
We are made right with God by believing HIs word. It’s a good thing, because if we were made right with God because of our behavior, we would be in trouble. Our good deeds can never outweigh our bad deeds. Many of our good deeds are done for the wrong reason and with the wrong motivation. On our own we have no hope. But when we believe God, because of Jesus’s righteousness and His atoning, sacrificial death, we can have his righteousness imputed to our account and our sins taken away. How? By faith. We must have the simple yet profound response to God that says, “God, I believe you. I believe what you say.” And we must then act on what He says.

Respond:
Lord God, I know that you desire for me to grow in my faith and trust in what you say. Help me to do that today. Grow my faith in You. Amen.

Faith, Action and Blessings: F260- Week 2- Day 3

Today’s Reading
Genesis 11 and 12

This week’s Memory Verse:
(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8

Highlight:

(1)  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
(2)  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
(3)  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:1-3

Explain:
Verse 1 shows the difficult part of what God was asking Abram. Leave your country. Leave your family. Go to an undisclosed location that I, the invisible God, will show you.
Can you imagine the conversations that could have happened around Abram being obedient to this command?

“I’m moving”.
“Really? Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. God told me He would show me.”

There are all kinds of conversations that could have come out of this circumstance, and all kinds of complications that it could mean for Abram and his family.

There were also a lot of blessings that would come from Abram’s trust in God and obedience to His commands. That’s what we see in verse 2 and 3. Not only would Abram be blessed personally, all the families of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s family. God was for him. Who could be against him?

Abram believed God, and trusted God, demonstrating that trust in obedience as we see in this weeks memory verse.

(8)  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:8

Apply:
It is often very difficult to believe God. We are asked to trust in Him. But like Abram, there are blessings that are promised to those who believe. Blessings often come with belief. We must trust God and allow that trust to inform our behavior.

Respond:
God, help me to trust you today with all that you bring across my path. Amen.