FAITH QUEST

The Call of Abraham and Sarah

Workshop Leaders’ Bible Study

This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the Call of Abraham and Sarah rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program.  It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:

·        A historical context for understanding the Bible story.

·        A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.

·        The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.

In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation.  This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts.  It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.

It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders.  Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.

 

Scripture:

            Genesis 12: 1-9

Memory verse for this rotation:

            As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24: 15b NRSV

Concepts:

·        Like Abraham, we should listen and obey when God leads us.

·        Blessing is a gift from God that brings goodness and well-being in life. (Fretheim, pg. 425)

·        God promises to bless us.

·        We respond to God’s blessing by worshipping God.

·        God chooses to work through people to fulfill God’s mission.

·        We, like Abraham, are on a journey of faith with God.

Prayer Concerns & Prayer

·        If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.

·        Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.

Reading the text

Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud.  Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.

Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study.  Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.

 

Historical, Theological, and Biblical Contexts

 

Overview

            Genesis can be divided into two parts:  Chapters 1-11 are the community of faith’s Primeval History and Chapters 12-50 are the Ancestral History (Fretheim, 326).  This lesson occurs at the beginning of Part 2 as the story narrows down to focus on one family (Freteim, 417).  The story of Abraham begins in 11:27-32 with his genealogy – a typical way to begin (see both Jacob and Joseph’s stories for examples).  In these verses we also see that Abram’s family had already begun a journey to Canaan and had stalled out in Haran.  So God’s call, although still a challenge, was not completely “out of the blue” (Fretheim, 422).

            Fretheim identifies three perspectives in the story of Abraham found in 11:27-25:18.

  1. A theology of creation:  Although the story has narrowed to one man, it can only be fully understood “in the context of [the] all-pervading presence and activity of God in the created order” (418).
  2. Promise:  Walter Brueggemann says that “promise is God’s mode of presence in these narratives” (106).
  3. Faithfulness:  Abraham’s faithfulness to God and God’s faithfulness to his promises.

 

Interesting Words/Phrases/Ideas

            Verses 1-3, according to Fretheim, are considered to be the key theologically for Genesis and the Pentateuch (422).

 

V. 1     Note that God does not identify himself to Abram – they know each other already

V. 2     The language of blessing is used 88 times in Genesis (Fretheim, 425).

V. 3     “I will bless those who bless you” – This promise “brings Abraham into relationship with those outside the chosen community” (Fretheim, 424)

 

            “curse”  Two different Hebrew words are used here for curse.  The first curse refers to “any form of mistreatment” and the second “is the opposite of blessing, reaping the consequences of such behaviors” (Fretheim, 424).  So whoever mistreats Israel will suffer the consequences.

 

V. 3b   “God’s choice of Abraham will lead to blessings for all the families of the earth” (Fretheim, 424).  This is the point of all the promises leading up to this one.  God’s election of a particular person and a particular group of people leads to chosenness for all – to salvation!

 

V. 4-6  Abraham takes family and possessions and goes obediently – no questions asked.

 

V. 7-8  “the Lord appeared”  - God is with Abraham; continues to show his presence and offer promises.

            Abraham “built there and altar” – Fretheim calls this “ personal and familial act of worship” (424).  This altar building was conducive to the life of a nomad (425).

 

            Note: Abraham’s response to God’s promises is worship, obedience, faithfulness.

Workshop Summaries

Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop.  As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces.  Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.

Holywood:  The children will view the video Abraham the Forefather and review all the concepts.

Creation Station:  The children will create a topographical map showing Abraham’s route.  They will learn about God’s covenant with Abraham and his covenant with us through Jesus.

Apostles’ Playhouse:  The children will go on a journey like Abraham and Sarah.  Along the way they will make several stops to explore the concepts and what this story means to them.

Antioch Arcade:  The children will play a game that illustrates taking a “journey,” listening and obeying God, and worshiping God in response to our blessings.   In the game they will also review the details of the story.

Good News:  The children will review the journey that Abraham took and go on a “texture walk” that will help them think about what his journey must have been like.

Praising Puppets:  Through puppet skits the children will learn about God’s blessings for Abraham and us and will explore how to respond to God’s blessings.

Review Questions

Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour.  Have they been answered?  Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?

Closing Prayer

Close the Bible study with a prayer.

References

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.

Fretheim, Terence E. “Genesis.” New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 1. Leander Keck, et. al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1994), pp. 417-426.