Icebreaker: What do you consider a great reward?
Text: Genesis 15:1-6
1) Even though Lot and Abram parted ways, Abram comes to Lot’s rescue when he and his family are kidnapped. There was still the covenant of blood between the two. Q: Have you ever had to help someone that you’ve decided to back away from?
2) In doing so, Abram came against several kings and armies, and won. However, he may have created many enemies for himself. The king of Sodom expected Abram to keep the spoil from this skirmish, but Abram refuses. This next chapter begins with God telling Abram not to fear, but that He is Abram’s shield, AND that He is Abram’s reward. Perhaps Abram was afraid that by protecting Lot, he had opened a can of worms politically for Himself. Perhaps He was second guessing his decision not to take any of the spoil, but here God tells him that He is his reward.
3) Abram responds with “What will you give me?” He understands that God means to bless him. He sounds like he’s reminding God of His former promise. Q: Have you ever had a child remind you of something that you’ve promised them?
4) God decides to give him a point of contact…the stars in heaven, so that whenever he sees these stars, his faith can be encouraged. I have a friend whose husband had to go out of the country for three weeks. His two year old daughter was starting to lose sight of how long it would be before daddy would be home. So, she made her daughter a chart.
My friend gave her little girl a picture of faith…something that she could look at when she started to believe that Daddy would never come home. Q: Has God ever given you a visual so that you were able to keep the faith?
5) Richard Foster says: “Faith in the promise itself is also a gift of the Promise Maker. Even our faith is a gift from God! We can ask God for more faith. He will encourage us when we feel weak in faith.
6) Now, God says that Abraham believed, and He counted it as righteousness to Abraham. There still was no proof that God would do what He said, but Abraham believed nonetheless. He trusted God at His Word. Hebrews 11:1-2 and 6 says, 1Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. 2God accepted our ancestors because of their faith…6No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Here we see again reward and faith spoken of together. a) We must believe in God. b) We must believe that God is a rewarder.
7) Hebrews 11:8 says, “Faith led Abraham to obey when God called him to go to a place that he would receive as an inheritance. Abraham left his own country without knowing where he was going. “ Faith causes obedience to God’s instructions. God’s instructions lead to an inheritance (or reward). Faith leads you to the unknown. Q: Tell of a time faith has led you to the unknown.
8) By faith Abraham stayed and waited for the promise according to Hebrews 11:9-10. I am sure there were many times Abraham looked up at the stars for encouragement. Q: What can we look to for encouragement in our faith? Romans 10:17
9) Q: How can we increase our faith? In Luke 17, the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith.
10) Jude 20 says that praying builds up our faith. Let’s pray and ask God to build our faith the way He did for Abram. Remember: Faith in the promise itself is also, a gift of the Promise Maker. Richard Foster