The Called People
Theme verse: Genesis 12:2-3
Our Human Condition
The presenter, Celia Brewer Sinclair (B.A., Duke University; M.A., Yale Divinity School), is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at UNC-Charlotte.
Summary of DVD content:
· Sarah and Rebekah are often overlooked as partners in fulfilling the covenant promises.
· In the story of Sarai and Abram, God makes it clear that they are covenantal partners.
· God blesses Abraham and Sarah with a son, Isaac, who is a sign that God's promise will be fulfilled.
· The story of Rebekah and Isaac is another case of childlessness followed by a miraculous conception.
· Pregnant with twins, Rebekah is visited by God and told of God's plan. She takes the initiative and works to preserve Jacob as the promise, and the future, of Israel.
In covenant, God partners with us to realize God's promises. Listen for ways this partnership is played out in the covenant with Sarah, Abraham, Rebekah and Isaac.
1. How do you see God partnering with the characters in these stories to bring about God's promise?
2. What role does each of the characters play?
Scripture and Study Manual
We are beginning the study of the history of Israel. The nation of Israel is founded upon a covenant between God and Israel in the person of Abraham—a special covenant with a special people. The covenant theme is woven throughout the Disciple program.
Theophany: Physical appearance or personal manifestation of a god (or in our case, God) to a person.
How many times did a Theophany occur in Genesis?
As we discuss the covenant, pay particular attention the threefold promise of God’s covenant with Abraham.
(Gen 15:18 NIV) On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--(Gen 15:19 NIV) the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, (Gen 15:20 NIV) Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, (Gen 15:21 NIV) Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." (Who were the Canaanites?)
(Gen 17:4 NIV) "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. (Gen 17:5 NIV) No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. (Gen 17:6 NIV) I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
(Gen 17:7 NIV) I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
What’s the catch?
(Gen 17:11 NIV) You are to undergo circumcision and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. (Gen 17:12 NIV) For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. (Why circumcision?)
In pairs talk about the assigned daily readings, looking particularly at God’s choice of person to carry out his purposes and at ways God protected the covenant.
Each pair will choose one person from the assigned Scriptures who typify a people called for a special mission and tell the whole group what is interesting about the chosen person and about how God worked through that person.
Encounter the Word
Read Genesis 32:9-32.
What does this passage say about God?
What does this passage say about human beings?
What does this passage say about the relationship between God and human beings?
Marks of Discipleship
Disciples respond to God's call to enter the covenant community of faith and express commitment to the covenant through the tithe.
Relative to the words in “Our Human Condition”, on page 26 of the study manual, answer the following question.
What kind of call has the power to draw persons beyond themselves?
Discuss questions in study manual under Marks of Discipleship (page 32 in the study manual).
What kind of covenant can we make with each other for the remainder of this Disciple study?
Next week’s lesson tells us how God’s people where enslaved in Egypt and God answers their plea to be set free by sending Moses – another unlikely candidate.