READ: Genesis 15-17
THINK: Have you ever had that sinking feeling-that you've forgotten something important? You promised to meet someone for lunch, or maybe you missed an important practice or special event after committing to attend. Because we're human, we're all prone to making promises-and then forgetting. Abraham waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of God's promise. As he and his wife grew older, it may have seemed like God had forgotten. Abraham and Sarah even tried to help God fulfill His promise by bringing Ishmael into the world through Hagar. But God had other plans. He hadn't forgotten His promise; He was just waiting for the right time to fulfill it. When it comes to trusting God, one of the most important things we must realize is that He doesn't work according to our schedules. Yet, He never forgets His promises. He will fulfill His plans for your life as long as you keep following and believing Him, no matter what.
RESPOND: What do you think God meant when He described himself as Abram's shield and reward? (See 15:1 note.) What does it mean that God credited Abram's faith to him as righteousness? (See 15:6 note.) In what way is Abraham an example of true, godly faith-the kind that allows us to enter a right relationship with God? Why is faith necessary to receive and maintain a right relationship with God? (See 15:6 note, subpoint 3.) What does it mean that "the LORD made a covenant with Abram"? (See 15:18 note.) What's the connection between God's promise to Abram and the "new covenant" God makes with all who follow Jesus? (See article on God's Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, p. 64 in the FBSE.) In what way did Abram and Sarai take God's plan into their own hands, and what consequences stemmed from their actions? What message and what demand did God personally deliver to Abram at the beginning of chapter 17, and what is significant about the timing of God's appearance? (See 17:1 note.) Why did God change Abram's name to Abraham? (See 17:5 note.) What promise was at the core of God's covenant with Abraham, and how does this relate to you personally? (See 17:7 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for His constant blessings and protection and for how His promises to Abraham have benefitted you through a relationship with Jesus. Pray that you'll always remain patient regarding God's promises.
ACT: Perhaps there is an aspect of life in which you are struggling with faith or growing impatient regarding God's plan. If you've taken matters into your own hands, trying to force results, then back off, let go and let God accomplish things His way.
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