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6. Abram Listens to God (Genesis 12; 13; 15)

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Main Point: When we have faith, we will listen to God and obey Him.

Key Verse: Abraham had faith. So he obeyed God. God called him to go to a place he would later receive as his own. So he went. He did it even though he didn't know where he was going. - Hebrews 11:8

Introduction

Say: Raise your hand if you’ve ever moved from one house to another. Did you help pack? Did you help move things? If you did, you know that moving is hard work! The more stuff you have to move, the harder it is! But what if your parents told you that your family was moving, and yet they had NO IDEA where they were moving? How would that make you feel? The Bible tells us that’s exactly what happened to a man named Abram.

Abram’s Faith (Genesis 12:1-9)

Listen to what God told Abram:

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The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country and your people. Leave your father's family. Go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation.
I will bless you.
I will make your name great.
You will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you.
I will put a curse on anyone who calls down a curse on you.
All nations on earth
will be blessed because of you.”

So Abram left, just as the Lord had told him. Lot, his nephew, went with him. There were many people in this family. In these days, families always stayed and moved together. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. - Genesis 12:1-4

God’s blessing came with God’s instructions. Isn’t it wonderful that God revealed His blessing to Abram at the same time that He told him to move?

Say: Abram was 75 years old when God told him to move. Abram obeyed God and left for a land that God would show him. Abram had a lot of faith in God. Abram trusted God to lead him. He didn’t have a map or a compass, and he didn’t know where he was moving! Everything was unknown! Abram listened carefully to all of God’s directions. Abram’s life depended upon how well he listened to what God said. God led Abram to the land of Canaan. It was there that God made a promise to Abram:

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“I will give this land to your children after you.” - Genesis 12:7

Say: So Abram built an altar there to honor the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Ask: Did you notice what God said to Abram? “I will give this land to your children after you.” Did Abram have any children? No. So we have to try to imagine how hard this must have been for Abram to believe.

The Bible tells us that Abram had faith (Hebrews 11:8). In fact, many people call Abram the father of faith (Romans 4:11). Even though Abram didn’t have children the he could see and touch, he knew that God promised that he would have children one day. Because God promised it, Abram was absolutely CERTAIN it would happen. To Abram, those children were as real as you and I.

Application: The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is being CERTAIN that what God says WILL happen. The Bible tells us the way to increase our faith is by studying God’s word, the Bible.

So faith comes from hearing the message. And the message that is heard is the word of Christ. - Hebrews 10:17

When we have faith - when we are CERTAIN that God CAN and WILL keep His promises, we will listen to and obey God.

Abram Falters (Genesis 12:10-20; Genesis 13)

Say: Remember Abram was 75 years old when God told him to move. He took his wife, Sarai and his nephew, Lot, and all the things and servants he had accumulated. But he had no children - YET! God always keeps His promises, but sometimes there is a time of waiting. Later, God even told Abram:

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The Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky. Count the stars, if you can." Then He said to him, "That is how many children you will have.” - Genesis 15:5

Say: Abram’s faith was not perfect. Although Abram showed great trust in God by leaving his home country and going to an unknown land, there were times that he tried to handle things on his own. Soon after Abram moved to Canaan, there was a severe famine in the land. This means that there was very little food, and the people were hungry.

He took his wife, Sarai, down to Egypt. Sarai was very beautiful, and Abram was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him so that they could have Sarai to themselves. So he told Sarai to pretend that she was his sister. He thought that perhaps the Egyptian people would treat him well for her sake.

When Pharaoh, the ruler of the land, saw how beautiful Sarai was, he wanted her to live in the palace with him. But God protected Abram and Sarai and sent terrible diseases on Pharaoh. When Pharaoh realized that Sarai was Abram’s wife, he became very angry with Abram for lying to him, and he sent Abram and Sarai away.

This is an example of a time when Abram chose not to listen to God. And because of this, he endangered himself and his wife. But God remained faithful even when Abram was not. Because of God’s blessing, Abram had accumulated a lot of wealth. He had many flocks, herds, and tents. His nephew, Lot, also had many animals. Soon, the land they were both living in became too crowded. The servants began to fight and argue, and they didn’t have enough pasture for the animals.

So Abram told Lot to look at all the land around them and choose whichever land he wanted. Lot chose the whole plain of Jordan because it was well watered and the land was fertile. But the Bible also says that Lot chose to live near Sodom.

Lot made a very poor choice. Sodom was filled with wicked people. The Bible warns us to make choices that honor God. When Lot moved his family near a wicked city, he made a very bad decision, and this ruined his family. Sin always spoils things, and Lot’s entire family was harmed.

Abram, on the other hand, continued to be in God’s blessing. Listen to what God said to Abram:

The Lord spoke to Abram after Lot had left Him. He said, “Look up from where you are. Look north and south. Look east and west. I will give you all of the land that you see. I will give it to you and your children after you forever.

“I will make your children like the dust of the earth. Can dust be counted? If it can, then your children can be counted. Go. Walk through the land. See how long and wide it is. I am giving it to you.” - Genesis 13:14-17

Say: Because Abram had faith, he listened to God. And even when his faith was weak and he struggled to obey God, God was still faithful to His promises. Even though Abram had to wait a very long time for a son, God kept His promise. And even though it would be nearly 800 years before Abram’s descendants lived in the land God promised, God kept His word.

This is a very important lesson to remember: God ALWAYS keeps His promises. It is VERY important to LISTEN to God and to obey Him in every way!

Application: Just as God made promises to Abraham, God has made promises to you. There are many promises in the Bible for you. For example, God promises that if you put your trust in His Son, Jesus, He completely forgets your sins! (Isaiah 43:25). Will God keep this promise? Yes! And God promises to be with you always. Will God keep this promise? Yes! God’s promises are awesome, and they are ALWAYS for your good (Romans 8:28). When you dig into His word, you will find His promises and your faith will grow.

Optional for Older Students: And, by studying God’s word, you will find out what promises God did not make. For example, God does not promise that you will not have problems in your life. God uses difficult times to grow your character, and to bring glory to Himself (Romans 5:3-4, John 9:3). But what God does promise is that He will be with you IN your difficult time (Psalm 91:15). You must always seek to understand God’s promises fully in order to have faith in Him and live the life God wants you to live.

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Key Verse: Abraham had faith. So he obeyed God. God called him to go to a place he would later receive as his own. So he went. He did it even though he didn't know where he was going. - Hebrews 11:8

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Main Point: When we have faith, we will listen to God and obey him.

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