Introduction: This week we continue with our study of the covenant with Abraham. God promised Abraham great things.
Do these promises extend to us? If so, what exactly did God promise to Abraham? Let’s jump into our lesson and find out!

  1. Shield and Reward
    1. Read Genesis 15:1-3. What did God offer to be to Abram? (A shield and a very great reward.)

      1. What do you think God meant when He said He was Abram’s shield? (I think God meant He would
        protect Abram because God prefaced His statement by saying “Do not be afraid.”)

        1. Does God make this same offer to us? Can we have peace in our life knowing that God will be our

      2. What do you think God was offering to Abram when He said He was Abram’s “very great reward?”

        1. Is having a relationship with God, in itself, a “very great reward?” Or, is there a material side to

      3. To what part of God’s offer did Abram respond? (It seems Abram was concerned about the “reward” part
        because he speaks only of that.)

        1. What was wrong with the reward promised to Abram? Was Abram missing the material part of the
          reward? (Abram obviously had a material reward because he is worried about who is going to
          inherit his estate.)

          1. Why would Abram care? After you are dead, do you care about your stuff if you have no
            family left? (I asked earlier if the “very great reward” was material. Abram is not
            complaining about a lack of “stuff,” he is complaining about a lack of children. He felt very
            keenly that he had no children.)

        2. Are we wrongly assuming that Abram was rich? What does Abram think about his wealth? (He
          thought he was rich because he says to God, “What can you give me?” Abram clearly was not
          asking God for more stuff.)

      1. When you were growing up, who was your shield and your reward? (Most people would answer, “My
        parents.” The picture I love here is that God comes to us with the same attitude as a loving parent.)

    1. Read Genesis 15:4-6. If you were Abram, would this promise (this answer to your complaint) be hard to believe?

      1. What do you like about God’s answer? (God has grand plans.)

      2. Verse 6 is very important. It tells us that Abram was credited with righteousness. Is that the goal of our
        life – to have God credit us with His righteousness?

      3. What, exactly, did Abram do to obtain this credit? Explore beyond the simple answer of just believing
        God. (Abram started out with a complaint about how God was fulfilling His part of the contract (the
        covenant). God gave Abram a fantastic promise, no part of which had been fulfilled. Abram believed a
        very big story. He displayed much faith on the basis of very little evidence. God called that righteousness.)

      4. Read Hebrews 11:11-13. Did Abraham become a great nation during his lifetime?

        1. Was part of Abraham’s righteousness the fact that he believed God even though he never saw most
          of the fulfillment of the promise?

        2. Is that what God calls on us to do today?

  1. Great Name, Great Blessing.

    1. Read Genesis 12:1-2. God promises Abraham several things in addition to his descendants becoming a great
      nation. What are they? (God will bless Abram, God will make his name great and Abram will be a blessing to

      1. Would you like to have a great name? Why?

      2. We all want to be blessed by God. Would you like to be a blessing to others? Why?

    2. Read Genesis 12:3. The first part of this verse deals with good or bad things happening to other people. Why
      would you care about this if you were Abram?

      1. What does this suggest about Christians working together? (This is a very important concept. God
        promises that He will bless those who bless Abram and curse those who curse Abram. We will learn later
        that these promises to Abram also apply to us. What a comfort this is in our daily struggles.)

        1. Does it seem “un-Christian” to want God to curse those who curse you? (It is a sobering idea to
          think that God will curse those who curse us. In the last year I started thinking about those who
          have opposed my clients in my religious freedom litigation. In my last two major cases the primary
          witness on the other side died during the litigation (and not during my cross-examination!) It also
          seems to me that negative things have happened to some of my opposing counsel.)

  2. How Great is the Reward?

    1. Read Genesis 28:13-15. We have moved forward in time to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. Is God sticking to
      His covenant with Abram?

      1. Has anything been added? (God tells Jacob “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your
        offspring.” This was part of the original promise to Abram. See Genesis 12:3)

        1. What does this mean? Abraham was the father of the Jewish race. Are all nations blessed by the
          Jews? (When I think about Jews, I think about industrious, productive people who create wealth.
          However, I believe this is a reference to Jesus.)

    2. Read Galatians 3:26-29. To whom are we related according to these verses? (We are “sons of God” and
      “Abraham’s seed.”)

      1. This text in Galatians makes clear that Jesus is the blessing that was promised to Abraham ( Genesis 12:3)
        and his descendants.)

      2. Notice this text ( Galatians 3:28) says that being Jewish no longer makes any difference. Why is that?

        1. Do you think this was the original plan? (There is a school of thought that says that if the Jewish
          leadership had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, then the Jewish nation would have been a source of
          light to the world. (Much as the nation under King Solomon was world renowned for his
          God-given wisdom.)

          1. If the ultimate goal is to convert everyone, then what difference would it make whether the
            Jewish nation, as a whole, followed Jesus? (The series of covenants that we have been
            studying show that God had the practice of picking certain people to be His partner in doing
            His work. The thought that God would have worked only through the Jews, if they had been
            faithful, is promoted by those who believe that God works only through them today.)

          2. What do you think, is God on a mission to find another “group” through which He can work
            today? Has God’s program changed from the time of Noah and Abraham? (The idea that
            God works through one specific church, or race, or sex, or economic strata, is very difficult
            to reconcile with this text (Gal.3:28) which says that the only “grouping” that makes a
            difference is being “one in Christ Jesus.” If you serve Jesus, then you are part of the “group.”
            The new “Jewish nation,” for purposes of spreading the good news about Jesus, is all those
            who believe.)

        2. Galatians 3:29 tells us that we are also heirs of the promise to Abraham. Remind me what promises
          we have inherited? (The first promise, of course, is that of Jesus. Remember that Abram was asked
          to leave his country and go to a place where God would bless him. We look forward to a “new
          country,” heaven, where we can be blessed by the presence of God.)

    3. Friend, would you like to be an heir of the promise made to Abraham? You can become one today by accepting
      Jesus as your Savior.

  3. Next Week: Abraham’s Seed