This week we look at Chapter 2 of The Story, which deals with how God starts to build a nation. We’ll look at the early patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and see how God blessed them to be a blessing to others.
If you don’t have The Story Bible, you can read Genesis chapters 12-13, 15-17, 21-22, 32-33 and 35. (There’s also a little of Romans 4 and Hebrews 11 from the New Testament thrown in, which gives you a clue as to how some of the New Testament writers understood these stories.) Remember, the Story is easier to understand because it has eliminated chapter and verse numbers and some of the more confusing parts, but it’s exactly the same wording as in the NIV Bible.Reading for Chapter two - The Story pages 13-27
–Class Discussion Questions for Chapter two
In Sunday School class we discussed Covenant agreements: how they are the same and how different. I shared a video with the class and have posted both the video and the covenant handout sheet here:
Covenant Study Sheets
Chapter 2 – God Builds a Nation
In chapter 2, we look at the beginnings of the nation God builds for God’s people. It is important to remember that even though God works through and with ordinary (and flawed) people, everything begins with God and God’s promises to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation, to give this nation a land in which to dwell, and to bless all other nations through the nation of Israel.
We then see how God uses broken people (remember those are the only kind of people God can use – we are all broken), to fulfill God’s unbreakable promises. On a day-to-day basis, God’s people continue to make bad choices that reflect their brokenness and the prevalence of sin in our world. Abraham and Sarah, waiting for years for the child God promised, opt for a workaround to conceive an heir through Sarah’s servant, Hagar. Isaac and Rebekah raise a very dysfunctional family. Jacob perfects the “workaround method” by conniving and cheating his way through life.
But despite their many failures, God’s people also respond in faith. Abraham picks up stakes and travels to a foreign land just because God said to. He gives his relative Lot the choice real estate, having faith God would still bless him. Abraham and Sarah, through laughter and tears, finally see God fulfill God’s promise through the birth of a son, Isaac. And in a dramatic (and today very morally ambivalent) episode, Abraham shows he is willing to go so far as sacrificing his only son, Isaac, just because he trusts God. (This foreshadows the willingness of God to do the same to his own Son.) Despite his many flaws, even Jacob (one of my least favorite biblical “heroes”) takes some significant actions based on his faith in God’s promises.