NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: Genesis 16:1-5, 17:1-9
- When have you seen failure lead to something positive?
- Why do we often want to take matters into our own hands when things don’t go our way?
- What has God made new in your life as you’ve walked with Him?
Food for Thought:
We all fail at times. When we make mistakes, it’s so easy for us to beat ourselves up. Whether our tongue gets the best of us, we drop the ball where we volunteer to serve, or we run back to an old addiction, our sins and failures can completely crush our confidence. When that happens, how do we respond and get our heads back into the game of life?
This account from Abram’s life is one of failure and getting ahead of God. At this point in the story, Sarai was still childless. Her patience had run out, and so she took matters into her own hands. In that time, since Hagar was Sarai’s servant, if Abram had offspring from her, Hagar’s children could be considered Sarai’s children. Abram went along with the plan. He could’ve said no, but Sarai’s reasoning apparently made perfect sense to Abram. The consequences of taking matters into their own hands was the birth of a son, Ishmael.
Thirteen years passed between Genesis 16 and 17; now God came to Abram again with a word of reassurance. God had not forgotten His promise! God was about to make it clear that Abram would have another son – the son of the promise (Genesis 17:19-21). Abram didn’t hear a rebuke from God, but he did hear a call to live in God’s presence and move forward in obedience.
We don’t need to wallow in past defeats or keep reminding ourselves of our past sins. Instead, in those moments when we sin or get ahead of God, we need to run to Him in repentance. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Resting confidently in God’s forgiveness, we then move forward in obedience.
God previously had made promises to Abram related to the land and his descendants, but now He formalized it with a covenant. Abram would, from this point on, carry a sign and remembrance of this covenant: a new name, Abraham (Genesis 17:4-9).
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.