Abraham and Sarah Obey God
- Tell what God asked Abraham and Sarah to do.
- Name something God wants us to do.
- Ask God to help us listen and obey.
If people know anything about the Heidelberg Catechism, it’s usually the poignant words at the very beginning: “What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” The comfort of belonging serves as a broad theme for the next several sessions.
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 us human beings as its crowning glory.
Even after we defaced God’s good creation with our sinful rebellion, God did not let us go. God determined to redeem the world and restore us as his magnificent, image-bearing children. It began already in the garden as Adam and Eve hid in shame, but with 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 culminating with God’s own Son, God sets out to reclaim everything that belongs to him.
Reading chapter 11, in which the author sets the scene, helps us get into the story. If you’ve ever used Google Earth, in which a “camera” swoops in for a closeup of the world from outer space, then you have a good picture of how this story starts. It begins far away in Ur of the Chaldeans with a list of names, and zeros in closer and closer until the whole screen is filled with just two people: Abram and Sarai.
As we look at their faces, we see lines of sadness. These 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 tragicomic bewilderment of Babel, this is what human effort comes to—barrenness.
And 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 the compelling invitation: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (12:1). Amazingly, Abram and Sarai follow that invitation to a new land, leaving everything behind. But it’s more than a command, or even an invitation—it’s a promise. “I will bless you . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you .”
God is on the move! And here’s the wonderful thing: God decides to use the very creatures who rebelled against him to be his partners in blessing (redeeming) the world he made.
Belonging to God doesn’t just mean that God finally does something to redeem us from sin and death, but that we human beings will be God’s covenant partners in bringing it about. Belonging involves hearing and obeying God’s claim and God’s call; God’s purpose includes our partnership.
Children's ResourcesDwell's colorful, engaging resources come in a variety of formats designed for use in church and at home. Order them here.
OptionalNeed something for younger children? Many churches use the God Loves Me program for ages 2-3. Learn more.
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