Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr MASIMBA Mavaza
The Covenant With Abraham
Memory Text: “But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ ” (Genesis 15:2, NKJV).
With Genesis 15, we come to the crucial moment when God for-malizes His covenant with Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant is the second covenant, after the covenant with Noah. Like Noah’s covenant, Abraham’s covenant involves other nations, as well, for ultimately, the covenant with Abraham is part of the everlasting covenant, which is offered to all humanity (Gen. 17:7, Heb. 13:20). This episode of Abraham’s life is full of fear and laughter. Abram is afraid (Gen. 15:1), as are Sarah (Gen. 18:15) and Hagar (Gen. 21:17). Abram laughs (Gen. 17:17), and Sarah (Gen. 18:12), and Ishmael, too (Gen. 21:9, ESV). These chapters resonate with human sensitivity and warmth. Abram is passionate about the salvation of the wicked Sodomites; he is caring toward Sarah, Hagar, and Lot; and he is hospitable toward the three foreigners (Gen. 18:2-6).
It is in this context that Abram, whose name implies nobility and respectability, will have his name changed into Abraham, which means “father of many nations” (Gen. 17:5). Thus, we see here more hints of the universal nature of what God plans to do through His covenant with Abraham.
SABBATH: God didn’t forsake His world when sin increased after the Flood. Abram was called to step into faith. Abraham’s covenant is the second after that of Noah. All involved blessings for people (Gen. 15, 17:7, Heb. 13:20). There was a change of name; Abram (nobility & respect) to Abraham (father of all nations) (Gen. 17:5). His life was full of fear & laughter (Gen. 15:1, 18:15, 21:17, 17:17, 18:12, 18:2-6).
SUNDAY: Abram took God at His word that he’ll have a child from his “own body” (Gen. 15:4; 2 Sam. 7:12). He knew God keep promises because of His mercy & not human works as Egyptians believed works earn salvation. The animal gifts to God showed Christ’s future death; preying birds showed Israel’s 400 years slavery in Egypt; & the torch meant God keeps His promises (Gen. 15:1-21; Rom. 4:3, 4, 9, 22).
MONDAY: Ten years later after the promise of a son, Abram was still childless. Like Abram, we’re also tested to a point where our faith seem to be lost. Abram & Sarai lost hope. Sarai suggested He lays with Hagar, her servant, to fulfill God’s promise (a norm in the Near East). Like in Eden, Sarai & Eve take the lead in sin while Abram & Adam obey their wives without trusting God (Gen. 16:1-16, Gal. 4:21-31).
TUESDAY: Abraham’s sin led him away from God. But God spoke to him again after days of silence. In His agreement with the patriarch, God have him circumcision as a sign (Gen. 17:1-19, Rom. 4:11). This sign involved the spilling of blood, pointing to God’s sacrifice for us & the messianic prophecy (see Gen. 15:18, Exod. 4:25, Rom. 6:23, Titus 1:2). God also changed the name of Abram & Sarai (see Gen. 17:17).
WEDNESDAY: Every man child that was born in Abraham’s house was to be circumcised (Gen. 17:23-27). Thus, God’s promise of salvation was inclusive in nature. After “all/every” male is circumcised, God appeared to Abraham & promised him a son. Abraham’s hospitality (to Christ) brought him favor (Gen. 18:1-15, Rom. 9:9, Heb. 13:2, Gen. 20:4, Exod. 15:17, Matt. 25:35-40). Christ came again (Phil. 2:7, 😎.
THURSDAY: Abraham lived to his name as the “father of nations” by hoping to save Lot in Sodom. He did not enjoy the good news of a son by being indifferent about the lives of others (Gen. 18:16-19:29). Abraham was a prophet who not only received God’s will but one who also intercedes for sinners. He prayed (Gen. 18:22). Sadly, not even 10 saints were in Sodom (Gen. 19:1-10, 15:16, PP, p. 157, 158).
FRIDAY: God has not called us to be judges over the lives of others but intercessors for people. The plea of Abraham to God on behalf of the people of Sodom bid us to pray for the wicked. How God was ready to listen to Abraham testifies His mercy to spare “the whole” for the sake of the righteous. Souls are perishing every day & we’re to be the voices of warning to a dying world (read Gen. 18:22-33).
—Ellen G. White, “The Law and the Covenants,” pp. 370–373 & p. 140, in Patriarchs and Prophets.
PP- Patriarchs and Prophets
Abraham’s Covenant- It’s a covenant God made with Abraham to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham. The covenant with Abraham is part of the everlasting covenant, which is offered to all humanity.
Abram- It meant “exalted father.” God changed it to Abraham to mean “father of all nations.”
Sarai- The wife of Abraham. It meant “my princess.” Her name was changed to Sarah to mean “princess for everyone”/ “mother of all nations.”
Isaac- The name means “he will laugh.” It is a reminder of Abraham’s first laughter (the first laughter recorded in the Bible; Gen. 17:17).
Ishmael- The firstborn of Abraham and son of Hagar. The name means “God hears” (Gen. 16:7). It echoes how Abraham “heeded” the voice of Sarah.
Boundaries of the Promised Land- We find it in Genesis 15:18. It reminds us of the boundaries of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:13, 14). It conveys the idea of the end-time salvation of God’s people and their return to Eden.
Christ- He was the one whom Abraham called, “my Lord” among the strangers (Gen. 18:3).
Sodom- It was reversed (God “overthrew”) just as the Flood reversed the original creation.
Egypt- In the Near East culture, judgement was made on the basis of counting one’s human works of righteousness against the righteousness of the goddess Maat.
SUNDAY- The Faith of Abraham
MONDAY- Abraham’s Doubts
TUESDAY- The Sign of the Abrahamic Covenant
WEDNESDAY- The Son of Promise
THURSDAY- Lot in Sodom
📌 Only the rainbow and circumcision are called “sign of the covenant.” What are the common points and the differences between the two covenants?
📌 Though called of God, and though often used in the New Testament as the example of what it means to live by faith, Abraham at times faltered. What lessons should we learn and not learn from his example?
📌 Some people argue against the idea that God will punish the lost, saying that this act would be against God’s love. How do we, as those who believe that—yes, God will punish the lost—respond to the argument that He doesn’t?