you are asked to read only the passages that are found in bold print.
The other Bible passages are listed only if you are interested in reading
more about the material. You are not required to read those
What kind of
covenant did God make with Abraham?
It is important
to note that Abraham (Abram) was already 75 years old when he first traveled
to the land God promised him.
It is also important
to note that God promised this land to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis
12:7) -- and He promised Abraham that his descendants would be so many
that they could not even be counted.
Yet it is also
important to note that his wife Sarah was only 10 years younger -- thus
65 years old.
It seems way too
old for them to be having children!
Yet God promised
-- and they believed
God repeats his
promise--and seals it with a covenant agreement (like a legal
Note that this
agreement required Abraham to sacrifice animals. Did Abraham burn
these animals himself? Who or what burned them? Why do you
think this sacrifice was important?
considered the “father of faith”?
Now turn to the
New Testament and read Paul's letter to the Romans
Paul is declaring
that it is by faith in God--not by works (religious works or social
works)--that God views us as being
righteous (fully good
in God's eyes)
Why is it most
important of all that we trust God with our lives--rather than just do
nice things for Him?
Why did Abraham
succeed--where Adam and Eve failed?
How does trusting
God gives us strength and power for life?
How does God
test Abraham's faith?
Why was Jacob
considered such a schemer?
he tricked his brother Esau into giving up his birthright by catching him
when he was hungry and offering a bowl of soup in exchange for Esau's birthright.
Then Jacob and
his mother Rebekah trick Isaac into giving his blessings to Jacob
by making his old and blind father Isaac believe that he was blessing Esau!
Then Jacob ran
away from his angry brother Esau--to live with his uncle Laban in
[But note: along
the way, Jacob had a dream in which God promised to Jacob the same things
he promised his grandfather Abraham. Note also how Jacob responded
to God much as Abraham did. (read Genesis
His uncle proves
to be an even bigger schemer--by giving Jacob his older daughter Leah in
marriage, when Jacob thought he was getting Rachel instead! (Genesis
But Jacob tricks
his uncle Laban back by getting most of his herd of animals --by
following the instructions of an angel of the Lord that showed him the
trick (Genesis 30:25-43 and 31:1-16)
Then after many
years of service to his uncle Laban, Jacob sneaks away from his uncle and
takes his own family and animals back to his home. (Genesis
Was it his
schemes--or was it Divine mercy--that finally delivered Jacob?
Isn't it strange
that even after all these underhanded schemes, God was especially kind
to Jacob--simply because God keeps his promises!
32:7-12). Notice how Jacob prayed very much like this as he was
returning home--and was still very afraid of the anger of his brother
But God had softened
the heart of his brother Esau--and Esau received him in joy, not anger.
Even here, God had provided!! (Genesis
In the end--God
renewed with Jacob (now also called Israel) at Bethel the covenant he had
once made with his grandfather Abraham. (Genesis
Isn't this story
a reminder that we are, above all, to have complete faith in God--to trust
Him with our lives, even when we mess up--because our God is
How did God
prove to be the author of Joseph’s dreams?
in his youth, Joseph made his older brothers jealous, not only because
of the pretty coat his father Jacob gave him, but because of Joseph's dreams
that showed his brothers (and even his parents) bowing down to him!!!!
Rather than kill
this detested Joseph, the older brothers agreed to spare his life and sell
him as a slave to people journeying to Egypt. (Genesis
But Joseph was
a capable and honest man--who gained success among the Egyptians--until
the wife of his master failed in her effort to seduce Joseph, and then
lied and had him put in prison to cover her shame and anger. (Genesis
was with him in prison--and Jacob proved to be not only a leader but also
a very capable interpreter of dreams--which eventually brought him to notice
Moreover, it was
his ability to interpret Pharaoh's dreams about the 7 years of plenty and
the 7 years of famine that brought Joseph to be the manager of much of
Egypt's public works.
This in turn brought
his brothers to Egypt during the famine to find grain for their families--only
to bring them in their need to the powerful Joseph--whom they do not recognize
(though he recognized them).
Joseph is not
angry with them, but does play them along a bit, mostly in a desire to
see his younger brother Benjamin, who was not among them in their visit
In the end, he
reveals himself to them as the brother they had intended to do away with,
the one who in the end, by God's own intended purpose, was able
to save them from starvation.
In turn, all of
Jacob's (or Israel's) family was invited to settle in Egypt, where over
the years they quickly grew in number.
Note: we do not always
understand what God is doing with our lives as we go through life!!!
But we may be sure that if we trust Him, God will use us to best
advantage to glorify or bless us, others and ultimately Him