The Promise

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Genesis 22-24
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 8

The Promise

(Genesis 22-24)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: In our studies leading up to this one we have often considered Abram’s failures of faith. The New Testament commends Abram’s faith in questionable circumstances, and we think that is good news for us. This week all that changes. Abraham demonstrates a faith in God that is astonishing. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn more.

  1. The Test
    1. Read Genesis 22:1-2. Why would God need to test Abraham?
      1. If Abraham’s faith (shown so far) was “counted to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6), why would such a terrible test be appropriate?
      2. This test is wrong in so many ways. It commands child sacrifice on a mountain. It contradicts the promise of God’s covenant being fulfilled through Isaac (Genesis 17:21). Can you explain this test?
    2. Read James 1:2-4. Is this God’s goal, to produce steadfastness in Abraham?
    3. Read Luke 24:27 and John 5:39. What does this teach about the relationship between the Old Testament and Jesus? (Jesus says that the Old Testament is about Him. Not too long ago I started to examine famous Old Testament stories to see what they taught about Jesus. The new insights were fascinating. I think Abraham’s test is partly about his prior failures of faith, but mostly about us. It is a test to promote our understanding of what God the Father and Jesus did for us at the cross.)
    4. Read Genesis 22:3. Why do you think Abraham is in a rush? Why leave early? (I suspect he did not tell Sarah what he was doing.)
      1. Would you tell your wife? If you were over 100 years of age, would you consult with others? (I would fear I was losing my mind! I would want to assemble a committee to consult. The reason Abraham did not is that he heard the voice of God and he was certain what God had commanded.)
    5. Read Genesis 22:4-6. Why leave the helpers and the transportation behind? (Abraham probably thought they would try to restrain him.)
      1. When Abraham says to the helpers (to make them stay) we will “come again to you,” is he lying? (Read Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham is not lying, he believes God will raise Isaac to life if necessary.)
      2. Think about this for your life. Abraham has conflicting commands/promises from God. The only way to reconcile them is through a miracle. That is how Abraham resolved it. Is this a lesson to us?
    6. Read Genesis 22:7-8. Why not tell Isaac exactly what God has commanded? (It says something that Abraham does not disclose this to anyone.)
      1. Is this non-disclosure the approach you would have taken? (I would be hoping that someone who restrain me. “God, I tried to do it, but [fill in name] stopped me.”)
      2. Think back to my suggestion that the Old Testament is about Jesus, and apply it to what Abraham says in Genesis 22:8.
    7. Read Genesis 22:9-10. Why bind Isaac?
    8. Read Genesis 22:11-12. When the angel says “Now I know that you fear God,” what is your understanding of the word “fear?” (I think “committed” is the right understanding. Abraham is committed to God.)
      1. Doesn’t God know the future? How can the angel say “now I know” on behalf of God? (Abraham has free choice right up to the moment of plunging his knife down. Previously, Abram was unreliable when it came to trusting God.)
    9. Read Genesis 22:13-17. God provides a substitute, just as Abraham predicted (Genesis 22:8). What is the lesson that Abraham takes from this extraordinary experience? (God will provide.)
      1. Is this part of the promises of God that you incorporate into your life?
      2. Is this what we see at the cross?
  1. Sarah
    1. Read Genesis 23:1. This is thirty-seven years after the birth of Isaac. What do you think her thoughts were about the story we just discussed (sacrificing Isaac)? (She is the only woman, according to several commentaries, whose age at death is recorded in the Old Testament. That suggests to me that God is honoring her and her reaction to our story is honorable.)
    2. Read Genesis 23:2. Kiriath-arba, the place Sarah died, has an important fact hidden in its name. Read Joshua 15:13. What do we learn about the kind of people who lived in Hiriah-arba? (These are the Anakites - the giants in the land.)
      1. What does that say about the faith of Abraham and Sarah? (They were not afraid of giants - unlike their descendants. See Numbers 13:33.)
  2. Isaac’s Wife
    1. Read Genesis 24:7 and Genesis 24:10-12. What approach do Abraham and Eliezer take to finding a bride for Isaac? (Prayer and gifts!)
    2. Read Genesis 24:14. What do you think about this plan?
      1. What do you think about Eliezer controlling who will be eligible? Why not pray that whoever offers to water the camels is the future wife? (Read Genesis 24:16. Eliezer wanted to choose a “very attractive” woman.)
      2. What do you think about Eliezer constructing the test for the future wife?
      3. In your opinion, are “very attractive” women the best wives? Or, are generalizations based on appearance inappropriate? (This is a well-considered test. Often, extremely good-looking women (and men) are self-centered. By testing whether the future wife was willing to be “camel centered” - meaning concerned about the welfare of even the animals - Eliezer was testing both the face and the heart of the future wife.)
    3. Read Genesis 24:15-19. Does God answer your prayers so directly?
    4. Read Genesis 24:20. What else do we learn about Rebekah, the future wife? (She is a hard worker. She worked “quickly” and she “ran” to get the water for ten camels (Genesis 24:10).)
      1. How important is marrying a hard-working spouse? (This is a serious issue. One spouse complains that he or she is doing all the work. If both spouses are hard workers, that issue never arises.)
    5. Genesis 24:22. Later on the Bible (Genesis 24:47) tells us that the ring is a nose ring. The gold is far in excess of a reasonable payment for this work. What is Eliezer doing?
      1. Is there a lesson in this for young men today who are looking for a wife?
    6. Read Genesis 24:29-31. What impact does this jewelry have on the mission?
    7. In Genesis 24:33-48 Eliezer recounts the entire mission. Read Genesis 24:49-53. Is the mission a success for all concerned? What about Rebekah?
      1. Read Genesis 24:5. Whose agreement to the marriage did Abraham and Eliezer seek? (They wanted the future wife to agree to the marriage.)
    8. Read Genesis 24:58-61. Rebekah ultimately is asked and agrees to the marriage. Why do you think she agreed?
      1. What lessons should we draw from this story for marriage today? (Prayer is important. Abraham followed God’s word in marrying someone from his family. Looking for God’s direction is important. Finding someone who is attractive, hard-working, and unselfish is important. Giving gifts is important.)
    9. Read Genesis 24:67. Is this a “happy ever after” story?
    10. Friend, why do you think this story turns out so well? I say it is because of a commitment to God. Abraham was committed. His family is committed. This commitment ends up in blessings. Will you determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be committed to God?
  3. Next week: Jacob the Supplanter.