Abraham and Sarah Believe God's Promises
- Tell how Abraham and Sarah trusted God’s promises.
- Trust God even when we don't know what will happen.
If anyone remembers anything about the Heidelberg Catechism it's the poignant words at the very beginning: "My only comfort in life and death is that I belong . . . to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ." That comfort of belonging is the theme for this unit.
But the road to ultimate comfort in Jesus Christ begins long before the events of the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb. It begins even before this story of Abraham and Sarah. It begins in the loving heart of the Creator God, who made this world and all its creatures, with human beings as its crowning glory.
Even after we defaced God's good creation with our sinful rebellion, God did not let us go. He determined to redeem his world and restore us as his magnificent, image-bearing children. This began already in the garden as Adam and Eve hid in shame. But in today's episode, the story of God's redeeming love takes a whole new direction. Starting with just two people, then a family, a tribe, and a nation---and one very special person, his Son, Jesus Christ---God begins the long, long journey of reclaiming a world and a people that belong to him.
The author sets the scene for this story in chapter 11. It's like Google Earth: the "camera" swoops in from far away in Ur with a list of names and then zeros in closer and closer until the whole screen is filled with just two people, Abram and Sarai.
In their faces we see lines of sadness. These two relatively old people have no children, an especially tragic circumstance in that day. What we're really seeing is a dead end. From Adam and Eve slinking out of the garden to the tragi-comic bewilderment of Babel, human effort comes to this: barrenness.
Right there, at the end of the rope, in the bitter reality of human helplessness, God enters the scene. A call, a voice? Who knows what the experience was really like, but Abram heard its compelling invitation: "Go!" Amazingly, Abram and Sarai follow that stunning invitation to a new land, leaving everything behind. But more than a command or even an invitation, it's a promise: "I will bless you . . . and all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you."
God is on the move! And here's the wonderful thing: God determines to use the very creatures that rebelled to be partners in blessing (redeeming) the world God made.
Belonging to God doesn't just mean that God finally does something to redeem us from sin and death, but that we humans will be his covenant partners in bringing it about. Belonging involves God's claim and God's call; his purpose includes our partnership.
Step 1 Breathe
Use this time to focus your attention on God.
Do this with me: calm your head, heart, and hands as you slowly breathe in . . . and out. (Demonstrate a few deep "in and out breaths" with eyes closed.)
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