DAILY DISCIPLINE #49
By Colleen M. Donahue
In our last two studies on Abraham we've seen how God called a man almost from obscurity and began to mold him into a man of God. When we promptly and fully obey God's voice to our hearts then we too can be made into vessels "fit for the Master's use". We talked of the importance of separating ourselves from the things and people that hinder our walk with God, as well as the necessity to believe God absolutely when He gives His word to us about something.
God had given Abraham several promises but as the years had passed there was still no sign of fulfilment. Despite this test of faith, Abraham had now settled the issue of his heir forever. "He believed God..." that an heir would come from his own body. Yes, he would wait patiently. But God who knows our hearts draws Abraham out further to settle still another issue. Let's continue our study...
ABRAHAM-Part 3--Learning to Believe
Day 1- What does God reaffirm to Abraham that draws out another question on his heart?
Day 2 -Abraham at this time had waited with God concerning this promise for many years. There was no encouragement in sight that it would ever be fulfilled. He was restless and wanted something more definite than God's word! He had not yet learned the substance of real faith.
Day 3- When God gives us His word about something for our lives we can be sure He has His own plan and time in mind for its fulfilment. What are we exhorted to do while we wait for it?
Proverbs 3:5 / Isaiah 50:10
Day 4- It is very touching to see how God stoops to our weakness and answers our questions. In Abraham's story He does this in a very tangible way.
(In days when written agreements were yet unknown, men bound one another to their word by solemn religious ceremony. The contracting party was required to bring certain animals - divide them in two - and lay them out so that a narrow path was between them. The covenanting party would then pass up and down to ratify and confirm his solemn pledge).
Day 5- God spares us from undue anxiety by letting us see only one step ahead of ourselves. Abraham in demanding to know more, was probably not prepared for the "thick and dreadful darkness" that came over him (Genesis 15:12). What was going to happen in the years ahead?
What would happen to Abraham?
Day 6- Ten long years had passed for Abraham and Sarah in the new land but they still had no children. Abraham had settled this matter with God and believed Him that he would have an heir. Yet, at a weak moment he listens to the voice of expediency and proceeds to fulfil the promise himself. What does Sarah suggest which Abraham follows?
Genesis 16: 1-4
Day 7- Disobedience to God and His word is nothing less than sin. Sin never leads to anything good - only misery and discord. Read the results of Abraham's action.
Genesis 16: 5-16
Day 8- Thirteen years now pass from the time that Ishmael is born to the time that God speaks again. What two commands does God give Abraham this time?
Notice that this same standard was later given to us by Jesus.
Day 9- Perfection and what it means for each of us is a study in itself. But in studying various texts we can see that wholehearted devotion to God involving the entire surrender of our being is what He holds very dear.
I Kings 2:4 / I Kings 8:61 / Deuteronomy 6:5
Day 10- It is to the ones who walk with God and are blameless that He can trust His promises to. A covenant is a promise made with the most solemn sanctions so that it binds the consenting parties together in a definite way. What was God's part of the covenant?
Genesis 17: 2-8
Day 11- What was to be Abraham's part?
Day 12- Circumcision as a sign of this covenant goes deeper than just a physical action. It was symbolic of a spiritual circumcision that believers in Christ would all need to partake of.
Deuteronomy 30:6 / Romans 2:28-29
The ceremony of circumcision illustrates three conditions that must be fulfilled if we are to enjoy the blessing of friendship with God as Abraham knew.
Day 13- SEPARATION. The physical ceremony separated Abraham and his seed from all the peoples around him. If we are to know true friendship with God, we must also be ready to be separate from the world.
II Corinthians 6:17-18
Day 14- PURITY. Circumcision, as a cutting away of the flesh, was to be a sign for all times of putting off our sinful nature. We are meant to walk in purity amidst a corrupt world.
Day 15- OBEDIENCE. Notice WHEN Abraham fulfilled God's requirement for circumcision.
Genesis 17:23-27 (vs.23,26)
Who does Jesus say would be His friends?
Day 16- Within the same year Abraham has some visitors. Who were they?
Day 17- Abraham is not aware that God has come to his home. How does he treat his three visitors?
Day 18- Abraham's example of hospitality is one for us to heed. For Christ Himself may come to us in many disguises. In fact, this is one of the surprise tests that He will use to separate the sheep from the goats!
Day 19- What did the visitor announce to Abraham that caused Sarah to laugh to herself inside the tent?
Day 20- Notice that Sarah's laugh was to herself- inside the tent and out of sight to her visitors. It was a laugh of incredulity. Her thoughts were NOT spoken aloud. The divine nature of this visitor comes forth as he immediately confronts Abraham with the unbelief he "hears" from inside the tent.
Day 21- God knows when we don't believe Him. We may think we've "kept it to ourselves", but we have no secrets from God.
Hebrews 4:13 / Jeremiah 32:27
Day 22- Then comes the Lord's question which He speaks in reality to each of us.
Genesis 18:14/ Jeremiah 32:27
From the meeting with these three visitors to the next episode in Abraham's life, he and Sarah have moved on to Gerar in the region of the Negev. It is here that God exposes a great weakness in Abraham's character that was no longer compatible with being a friend of God.
Day 23- What secret agreement had Abraham made with Sarah years ago when they first left Haran?
Day 24- Why?
Genesis 12:11-13 / Genesis 20:11
Day 25- What situation were they now in that required use of this agreement?
Day 26- This secret agreement between Abraham and Sarah exposed a weakness of Abraham's faith in God's power to take care of him. How did God prove Himself in this situation?
Genesis 20: 3-7
Day 27- It is heartbreaking to see a man like Abraham rebuked and corrected by a godless ruler that had a higher standard than his own.
Day 28- God allows and uses this great humiliation to expose to Abraham his sin of unbelief and distrust. Yet, God does not tear down without building up again. Despite his failures, Abraham was still a prophet having power with God. How does God exalt Abraham after his humbling rebuke?
Genesis 20:7a, 17-18
If you as a child of God have sinned and brought disrepute on the name of God, then you need to do what Abraham and others have done.....
Day 29- TRULY REPENT. Turn completely away from sin and back to God.
Joel 2:12-13 / Acts 3:19 / Acts 8:22/ Luke 15:21
Day 30- Then, as a child, trust in the patience and forgiveness of God. Let His love as a consuming fire totally cleanse and purify you from all sin. Make this your prayer as King David did.
Psalm 51: 10-12
Day 31- Now, as your repentance is real and complete, count on God to keep His Word.
I John 1:9 / II Chronicles 7:14/ Ephesians 1:7
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