In 1969, 7 -year old Niki was in the hospital having some tumors removed from her throat. While in the hospital she met Charita, another girl her age, who had a rare form of cancer. Niki found out that because of the cancer Charita would never be able to have children of her own. The two girls formed a friendship, and one night while the two of them were alone in their hospital room, Charita was crying. Niki came over to Charita’s bedside to comfort her. She told her not to cry and that when she got married and had her own baby she would let her mentor her baby and if it was a girl would even name it after her.
After their stint in the hospital Niki and Charita kept in touch until 6 months later when Charita’s family moved from Los Angeles to New Mexico. In 1983 Niki married and in 1987 had a daughter whom she named Charita. Niki then went on the Unsolved Mysteries show looking for her childhood friend Charita so she could help mentor little Charita. In 1990 Niki and Charita were happily reunited.
In a world where people will make empty promises just to get whatever they want, 7-year old Niki stayed true to her promise even as an adult, and became married and with a child. While it’s true that our promises are like ropes of sand and we can only trust God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4) It is also true that by God’s grace we too, like Jesus and 7-year old Niki , can stay true to our word. After all, even while the Bible teaches us not to put trust in ourselves or anyone else, the Bible also speaks of those who “keep their promises even when it hurts.” Psalm 15:4 NLT
This week millions are studying the promises God made to Abraham. One of the ways we reflect the image of God is by being men and women of our word. Sure, we make mistakes and have made broken promises. This is one reason why I am careful about making promises. Instead of promising to help a friend, I tell them I will try, but make it clear I am not making a promise.
God’s promises are the only promises we can rely on. Still, by God’s grace, we can be men and women of our word. By God’s grace, we can be faithful to our promises even if it hurts.
Can you share a time when someone showed you God’s love by staying true to their promise?
Study: What was the meaning of this test? What spiritual lessons come from this amazing event?
Apply: What does the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah say to you personally about your faith and how you manifest it?
Share: Your friend tells you that it sounds like God is contradicting his own law in forbidding human sacrifices. How do you make sense of this apparent contradiction? Hint: See the note at the end of this page.
Study: How do these verses help us understand what happened at the Cross, which is prefigured in the sacrifice here on Mount Moriah?
Apply: How does what happened here help us better understand what happened at the cross and what God has suffered in our behalf? What should our response be to what has been done for us?
Share: Your friend comments, “My pastor preaches that when we become Christians God makes us highly favored and prosperous. Instead of calling us to sacrifice, God calls us to prosperity.” How do you answer your friend, particularly in light of Genesis 22?
Read Together: Genesis 24. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: Why is Abraham so concerned that his son not marry a woman from the Canaanites?
Apply: Why is it so comforting to know that while not all things are God’s will, He is still in charge? How do prophecies like Daniel 2, for instance, prove this point to us?
Share: Your friend says that God’s providence in the story of Isaac and Rebekah prove that our entire lives and predestined and predetermined. How do you respond to your friend, especially in light of Genesis 24:58?
Study: What is the meaning of these final events in the life of Abraham?
Apply: In the end, God kept His promise to Abraham. How does God’s faithfulness to Abraham encourage you?
Share: Your friend asks, “What is the greatest promise anyone ever made to you and actually kept?” How does that faithful friend help you appreciate the promises God has made to us?
Note: “They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.” 1 Peter 1:12 NLT
“The sacrifice required of Abraham was not alone for his own good, nor solely for the benefit of succeeding generations; but it was also for the instruction of the sinless intelligences of heaven and of other worlds. The field of the controversy between Christ and Satan–the field on which the plan of redemption is wrought out–is the lesson book of the universe. Because Abraham had shown a lack of faith in God’s promises, Satan had accused him before the angels and before God of having failed to comply with the conditions of the covenant, and as unworthy of its blessings. God desired to prove the loyalty of His servant before all heaven, to demonstrate that nothing less than perfect obedience can be accepted, and to open more fully before them the plan of salvation. Heavenly beings were witnesses of the scene as the faith of Abraham and the submission of Isaac were tested. The trial was far more severe than that which had been brought upon Adam. Compliance with the prohibition laid upon our first parents involved no suffering, but the command to Abraham demanded the most agonizing sacrifice. All heaven beheld with wonder and admiration Abraham’s unfaltering obedience. All heaven applauded his fidelity. Satan’s accusations were shown to be false. God declared to His servant, “Now I know that thou fearest God [notwithstanding Satan’s charges], seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.” God’s covenant, confirmed to Abraham by an oath before the intelligences of other worlds, testified that obedience will be rewarded. It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of redemption–to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly beings was enlisted. With intense earnestness they watched each step in the fulfillment of this command. When to Isaac’s question, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham made answer, “God will provide Himself a lamb;” and when the father’s hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac–then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man’s salvation. 1 Peter 1:12.” -Patriarchs and Prophets, Pages 154-155.
Ask class members to share what is the main idea of this text?
What are we ransomed from? Who are we ransomed to?
Personal Application: What has the blood of Jesus ransomed you from?
Case Study: Your coworker asks you how to know if you are saved or not. How do you respond? Do you have a Bible study presentation to lead someone to accept Jesus and salvation? Please see Salvation in Light of the Cross.
Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
Why is no man justified by the law in the sight of God? By the way it is important to point out no one was ever justified by the law in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. While we have the law in both Old and New Testaments the law itself never saved anyone in both Testaments. See Romans 3:28-31.
Personal Application: How do you know if your faith is a live faith or a dead faith?
Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.
(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).