Job 1-4, 23-24, 29-32, 38-42
Class Notes from Abraham
Key Concepts (How to Read)
1. Pattern of Salvation - God saves/calls/acts, we respond. Acceptance always precedes repentance and transformation.
2. Covenant - God's self-limiting promises to us, especially at this point Noah and Abraham.
3. Election - God's choice of who receives the promises, without regard to outward appearances, morality, etc.
4. Faith = Trust. As God accepts us and then calls us to change, so too we trust his promises BEFORE receiving them. Faith is not believing in the existence of God, but believing that his promises are true and acting upon that belief.
Key Sections (What it says)
Genesis 12:1-7 - God’s call to Abram
Yahweh makes a 7-fold promise in Genesis 12:1-4, plus the promise of land in Genesis 12:7. This is critical for several reasons. First, Abram is not likely a monotheist when he is called, and he certainly doesn't have a perfect character. Thus we see God calling and saving us before are worthy, through his sovereign election. Second, we see in Abram's response, "So Abram went," our response to God's call. We also see a dramatic demonstration of faith as trust that proceeds the fulfillment of any of God's promises. Third, we see in God’s covenant with Abram a plan to bless every nation on the earth. This is not just about the Jews; this is the beginning of God's solution to the problem of sin and human/divine separation.
Genesis 15 - God's Covenant with Abram
God reaffirms his promise to Abram, and we are told that Abram believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness. This again affirms the Faith = Trust concept.
In this section, we first have the word covenant used in reference to God's promise to Abram. Note that it is God who puts his own integrity on the line; it is Yahweh who passes through the sacrifices, not Abram.
Genesis 17 - Circumcision and covenant
God prepares to give Abram, now Abraham, a glimpse of the completed promises in the birth of Isaac. The decision to trace the blessing and covenant through Sarah, and not through Ishmael, has great significance. We see here the theme of election - it is through Sarah, not Hagar; Isaac, not Ishmael, that the promises will be continued.
Genesis 18 - Negotiation for Sodom and Gomorrah
Here we see a glimpse of the promise relating to Abraham being a blessing to all the nations, as he intercedes with Yahweh for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is an archetype for Jesus himself, who is our intercessor with God. Like Abraham with the people of these cities, Jesus intercedes for us while we are still sinners.
The Land – Why does God promise this land to Abraham's descendants? Part of this is strategic; every major empire for 2,000 years will pass through this space.
Isaac and Jacob - God chooses Isaac, and then Jacob, as those through whom the promise and covenant would be continued and reaffirmed. God to this day is known by the promises he made to them, and in Scripture God even names himself by his relationship with these Patriarchs - "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (Exodus 3:6). Like Yahweh, we too are who we promise to be.
Jacob - Jacob is renamed Israel - "He who wrestles with God" - and has 12 sons who will soon become the ancestors of the 12 tribes. In the book of Genesis, the most important of these brothers is Joseph.
Egypt - This section ends with the family of Abraham in Egypt, where they will remain for 400 years.
Conversation: Discussion Questions for this Blog
If you have time, read the following passage: Genesis 18:16-33
1. This is the beginning of the story about Sodom and Gomorrah, which ends with the cities
being destroyed with burning sulfur. What strikes you as interesting about this interaction
between Yahweh and Abraham?
2. God’s covenant with Abraham (affirmed a third time in the previous chapter) gives Abraham a special status in the LORD’s eyes. Abraham becomes an intercessor for non-Jews. We have a special status in God’s eyes because of Jesus’ covenant with us. How are we called to use that status to intercede with God for non-believers, and to be a blessing to all the nations?