What is your favorite story about Abraham and Sarah? When God called him to leave his home and family? When God promised to bless him with descendants too numerous to count? When he and Sarah decided to “help God out” and provide a descendant through Ishmael? When they laughed at God’s promise to give them a child in their old age? The lives of Abraham and Sarah are full of lessons from which we can learn much. But will we? Because Abraham believed God was faithful to His promises, he stepped out in faith and followed God’s leading. Because Sarah believed God was faithful, she gave birth to a son well past her childbearing years. They believed God would do what He said He would. It was not always easy for them to believe, but, in the end, God honored them for their faith. Looking at their lives causes me to search my own heart. How will I respond when God calls me to step out in faith and follow Him? Can I wait on God’s timing in my life? Am I able to trust Him for the impossible? Am I looking forward to my heavenly home or am I settled into my temporal one? My prayer for you as you study the lives of Abraham and Sarah is that you would give your complete heart to God. I pray that you would trust Him in obedience to do whatever He asks of you, that you would believe He is faithful, and that you would look ahead to your eternal home while just passing through this temporal one.
“Lord, teach me from the lives of Abraham and Sarah. Give me a willing heart to step out in faith and trust You. Help me trust You even when I cannot understand what You are doing. Help me believe You for the impossible. Show me what temporal or earthly things are entangling me and keeping my focus off of the eternal. Give me the faith to believe that nothing is impossible with You.”
1. Let’s begin by looking at Abraham’s background:
His wife and her childbearing situation:
Where did Terah and his family set out to go?
How far did they get?
His father’s spiritual background (Joshua 24:2)
2. What did God specifically tell Abraham to do?
3. Why would this be a step of faith for Abraham?
4. How did Abraham respond to God’s leading?
5. How do you know when God is leading you to do something?
6. Abraham was asked by God to leave everything he knew behind and step out in faith. What would be the hardest thing for you to leave behind and why?
7. Would you be willing and able if God asked you to step out of your comfort zone in a step of faith? What would enable you to obey and follow wholeheartdly?
When we step out to follow God’s leading, all that matters is that He knows our path. We just need to keep our hand in His so that we will not lose our way
1. List the seven things God promised Abraham.
2. What does this tell you about God’s relationship with Abraham?
3. Whom and what did Abraham take with him? Did Abraham completely obey God or not?
4. Was God’s promise dependent on whether or not Abraham obeyed God? Explain your answer.
5. In what ways can we rationalize our disobedience or refusal to follow God’s leading?
6. How has obedience to God been costly in your life?
Looking further at Genesis 12:4-9, trace Abraham’s journey and what occurred at each location.
Today’s reading is lengthy but important to the story of Abraham.
1. What insights do you gain about Abraham from the incidence in Egypt?
2. What additional insights does this passage give concerning Abraham in the way he dealt with Lot?
3. What does God promise Abraham in verses 14-17?
4. God made a covenant with Abraham. What do Abraham’s questions and responses in this chapter reveal about what was going on in his mind and heart?
5. God had already promised Abraham land, blessing, and seed. Why did He need to make a covenant with Abraham?
6. In what area(s) is your faith weak, and how do you respond when your faith wavers?
Genesis 15:6 tells us that “Then he believed in the LORD; And He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Was this the point of salvation for Abraham? If so, why does his faith continue to waver? Explain your answer.
Again, today’s reading is lengthy, but we cannot overlook these chapters as they give us great insight into the lives of Abraham and Sarah.
1. Why was Sarah’s idea to give Hagar to Abraham wrong when it was acceptable according to the custom of that time?
2. What do you learn about Sarah from this passage?
3. How did Abraham respond to Sarah each time she “confronted” him (vv. 2-6)?
4. What was the result of their decision to take things into their own hands and what can we learn from this?
5. God appeared again to Abram when he was 99 years old to remind him of the covenant he had made, and he changed their names to Abraham and Sarah.
6. How does Sarah respond when she hears the promise that she will have a son within a year (Vv. 10-15)?
7. Why do you think God included them in the chapter of men and women of faith (Hebrews 11)?
It is helpful to look at a timeline of the events in Abraham’s life to understand why he might have had trouble waiting on God to fulfill His promises. Trace the timeline through the key events from these passages.
Age of Abraham when God called him: Genesis 12:4 ____
Age of Abraham when Sarah gave Hagar to him as his wife: Genesis 16:3 _____
Age of Abraham when Hagar bore Ishmael to him: Genesis 16:16 ____
Age of Abraham when God revisited him, changed his name, and established the covenant of circumcision: Genesis 17:1–14 ____
Age of Abraham when Isaac was born to him: Genesis 21:5 ____
God’s timing is perfect. It is never too late in His timing. Don’t give up on something because God has not answered yet. Trust His timing.
1. Why was Abraham considered to be an “alien” or foreigner in the land of promise?
2. What evidence do you see in these verses that he had an eternal perspective?
3. How are Abraham and Sarah examples of lives lived by faith in this passage?
4. Which of the promises made to Abraham did he see fulfilled before he died?
5. How do you balance making this your home but realizing it’s not your permanent home?
6. If you truly have an eternal perspective, what would characterize your life?
The more comfortable you are in this temporary home, the harder it will be to look forward to your heavenly home.