Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s study or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?
Begin your study in prayer and remain faithful in those “long-term” prayers. God’s delays are not denials. Abraham and Sarah demonstrated their faith by following God’s call with patient endurance for more than 100 years. Their heavenly focus revealed confident assurance that their true treasures were in a heavenly city.
The call of God [Gk kaleo—– to call, invite, summon; the root kal is the source for the English word “call”] signifies 1) a personal invitation by name to participate in the blessings of salvation, 2) an identification as one who has been called by Christ, 3) a vocation as one walks in faithful obedience to the call, and 4) a destination toward which one is traveling.
The call of God demands a lifelong commitment, produces a purified life of faith and maturity, and promises abundant blessings in the present and future.
Be worthy of your heavenly calling!
1. What did God promise Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3?
A. Abraham left a highly developed city to live in tents the rest of his life. How does this relate to Hebrews 11:1?
B. Did he ever own personally any of the land of Canaan? How did he get it? (Gen. 23)
2. Abraham lived about 2100 B.C., and the conquest of Canaan by Israel took place about 1400 B.C. How many years elapsed before God’s promise came literally true?
A. Compare Heb. 11:11b with Rom. 4:17, 21 and list specifically what Abraham believed about God.
B. What additional insights do you gain from any of the cross-references on the calling of God in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?
3. Exactly how much of what he was promised in Genesis 12:1–3 had Abraham received when he died?
4. Hebrews 11 reveals motives not developed in the Genesis record. What do verses 10, 14, and 16 refer to? (See also Rev. 21).
5. What was Abraham's attitude toward material possessions? (Gen. 12:1, 4; 13:5–12; 14:18–24)
A. Does this mean having wealth is wrong?
B. What can we learn from Abraham regarding our possessions?
C. What additional insights do you gain from any of the cross-references on heavenly rewards in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?
6. What is implied by the phrase in Hebrews 11:13, “they admitted they were strangers and aliens on earth”?
A. Compare with 1 Peter 2:11, 12 and explain the reasons that this should be true of us also.
B. What does Peter say our conduct should be like in view of this fact?
7. The final test for Abraham is recorded in Genesis 22. Read Hebrews 11:17–19 and list the steps in Abraham’s reasoning.
What in his life previously encouraged his astonishing conclusion?
8. Sarah is the first woman mentioned in Hebrews 11. How does the Genesis record support what is said about her in Heb. 11 and 1 Peter 3:1–7? Organize your observations on the following chart.
1 Peter 3
Note what is not said in the New Testament passages about Sarah.
1. Why did Abraham’s faith grow as he walked with God?
A. Can you identify ways in which your faith has grown in the past year or two?
B. What experiences have you had that should have strengthened your faith?
2. What is your attitude toward money, things, clothes, house, cars, etc.? See 1 Chronicles 29:13–16 for David's perspective on possessions.
A. What does God expect you to do with your material possessions? (2 Cor. 8:1–7; 2 Cor. 9:6–11; Rom.12:8, 13; 1 Tim. 5:3–4)
B. What warning and antidote do we find in 1 Tim. 6:6–10?
C. Do you need to make an adjustment in this area?
3. Abraham believed God was faithful and had the power to keep His promises. Is there something you are not believing God will or can do for you? Are you willing to step out and live by faith in this area?
4. What one insight or lesson do you hope to remember from your study of the faith and endurance of Sarah and Abraham? Write it below to share in class, and then write it on the journal page entitled “Lessons Along the Way” at the back of your study guide.
Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it.
Abraham and Sarah obeyed God by leaving Ur and living as pilgrims and aliens in tents, believing in a promise that would be fulfilled in future generations, and maintaining a steadfast heavenly focus. Utilize your word-study tools to examine the meaning of the following words, and then list the insights you observe from the related scriptural cross-references. How do these insights enhance your understanding of the response of faith in immediate obedience and the heavenly rewards of faith?
Called [Heb. 11:8]
1 Cor. 1:26
2 Thess. 1:11
2 Tim. 1:9–9
Heavenly [Heb. 11:16]
2 Thess. 1:7–8
I Cor. 15:35–58
2 Tim. 4:18
Have you ever responded immediately to God’s call in your life while it was still “ringing in your ears”? Which heavenly promise motivates you to persevere faithfully?