This is the third in a series exploring the key people and stories of the Old Testament, and how they point the way to Jesus.
Introduction: Waiting Game
Play a game that requires speed or patience.
Have a discussion about how we like things to happen quickly (for example, fast food etc) and what they don’t like having to wait for.
Introduce today’s topic – Abraham, who had the longest wait…
Hand out the following 9 cards to individuals/pairs (depending on the size of your group). Give them a few minutes to look up their assigned verse/passage and discover the answer to the question on their card. Get everyone back together as a group, and go through the cards in order, getting each person/pair to retell their part of the story and share their question and answer. As you go through, help link together the parts of the story and point out the lengths of time between events. Together use the information to create a timeline of the events with Abraham’s age.
- CARD 1: Read Genesis 12:1-3. What 3 things did God promise Abram?
- CARD 2: Read Genesis 12:4. How old was Abram when God made those promises to him?
- CARD 3: Read Genesis 15:1-21 (or for a younger group: 15:1-10, 17-19). What did God promise Abram this time?
- CARD 4: Read Genesis 16:1 & 15. What did Abram do when he got tired of waiting for God’s promises to happen?
- CARD 5: Read Genesis 16:16. How old was Abram when he had Ishmael?
- CARD 6: Read Genesis 17:4-8, 15-16, 21. What did God promise Abram this time?
- CARD 7: Read Genesis 17:1, 17. How old were Abraham and Sarah?
- CARD 8: Read Genesis 18:1-2, 9-15. What did God promise Abraham this time?
- CARD 9: Read Genesis 21:1-7. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born?
- What do you think Abraham learnt when he tried to make the promise happen through Ishmael?
- How many of God’s promises did Abraham get to see fulfilled? (the promise that could be fulfilled in his lifetime was the birth of his son – and he had to wait 25 years for just that).
- What qualities did Abraham show as he waited? (e.g. patience, commitment, trust, FAITH)
Receiving God’s promises
This is how the Bible defines faith: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11v1. God wants us to have faith – to have faith like Abraham.
(Optional – Read Hebrews 11:8-22)
God wasn’t just using Abraham to teach us a nice lesson about faith. God was using Abraham to show us what we need to do when it comes to Jesus. God was showing us that we receive his promises – not by making them happen ourselves – but by faith.
Read Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:16-25
Discuss/explain the difference between salvation through works and salvation through faith
Salvation isn’t something we get because of anything we do. It is by faith we receive God’s promise of salvation. With Abraham, God set the ball rolling to show us how to receive salvation that he was one day going to bring through Jesus Christ
Response: Faith like Abraham
Recap: God made a promise through Abraham about what he was going to do in the short term, but ultimately what He was going to do through Jesus. And through Abraham he showed us how we are to receive the salvation he was going to bring through Jesus – by faith.
Hand out sheets with this prayer printed on them “Sometimes I find it hard to believe… help me to have faith like Abraham” & Hebrews 11:1. Explain that it is good to bring our questions and doubts to God and to ask him to help us to have faith. Invite them to prayerfully finish the statement – you may like to play a quiet worship song in the background as they do this. Then get them to pray for each other in pairs/small groups about what that they have written on their sheets.
Bible Reading Challenge
If you started the Bible reading challenge, check in with them on how they are going. You may like to have some motivational prizes for people who have completed the week’s readings.