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WOFCF Bible Explosion - 9/26/18

                                                                                  Sept 26, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                       WOFCF Bible Study Explosion
                                    Making God’s Promises Yours (Gen 15:1-6)
Have you ever had the experience of doing something brave or of making a bold decision which later came back to trouble you? At the time you did it, you were strong. You thought you were acting in faith. But in the aftermath, you were gripped by fear as you thought about the possible repercussions. You may have taken a strong stand or spoken out boldly on some issues. But later, when criticism hits, you may begin to worry and to second-guess your earlier boldness. You started wondering, “Did I do the right thing?” Maybe you’ve gone through something similar or can share your testimony. The point is we were challenged to step out in faith and trust God for something.
Topic #1 make God’s promised blessings yours by trusting Him
One night as Abram was wrestling with his fears, the word of the Lord came to him in a vision. We don’t know exactly what that vision entailed. Perhaps as Abram thought of the shields of the warriors and of the spoils of the battle, God spoke to him and said, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your very great reward”.
No doubt Abram was comforted by these words, and yet there remained a void in his heart. God had previously promised to give him a son and to multiply his descendants as the dust of the earth. But he had been in the land nearly ten years now (16:3), but he still had no son. Sarai wasn’t getting any younger. And so out of confusion, not in defiance, Abram asks God about His promise of a son: “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?... Since You have given no seed to me, one born in my house is my heir.” This show realistically the words of a man who is confused about God’s delay in fulfilling His promises.
The Lord graciously clarifies the previous promises by stating that Abram’s servant would not be his heir, but, rather, one who came forth from his body. The Lord made the lesson vivid by taking Abram outside, showing him the stars, and saying, “So shall your descendants be.” Abram’s response was to believe “in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (15:6). This crucial verse shows us that even at this early time, justification (right standing with God) was by faith. The apostle Paul expounded on this verse twice ( & ), to argue that we are saved by faith apart from any works. It shows us that trusting in the Lord is the means of obtaining His promised blessings.
When we’re experiencing distressing emotions, the most practical thing we can do is to trust in the Lord. From cover to cover, the Bible proclaims the blessings that come to the person who trusts in the Lord. It is the solution to our problems. Rather than shrugging it off as useless advice, we need to learn what it means to trust the Lord in all the distressing ups and downs of life.
What are your thoughts and/or scriptures you like to share?
Topic #2 trust must be in the Lord
Abram “believed in the Lord.” Biblical faith is always in God who has revealed Himself in His Word. It is not vague; it is specific, based on His Word. Biblical faith is not an uncertain wish that says, “I sure hope it’s true, so I’m going to take a blind leap in the dark.”
The essence of the Hebrew word is firmness or certainty. In another Hebrew verb stem, the word has the idea of the strong arms of a parent supporting an infant. In , it means that Abram relied on the Lord and His word as true and certain. This trust must be both personal and propositional. That is, it must be both in the personal God and in His Word.
What are your thoughts and/or scriptures you like to share? 
Topic #3 trust personally in the personal God
Abram trusted in the Lord, in Yahweh, the personal, covenant God. In verse 2 (and v. 8), Abram addresses God as Adonai Yahweh. This is the first recorded time Abram speaks to God. Adonai means Lord, Master, or Sovereign. It points to God’s absolute right to rule. So even though Abram is confused and asking God to clear up matters for him, he is asking submissively, not defiantly.
There are two ways you can ask God for things. You can ask defiantly, shaking your fist in God’s face, demanding, “Why are You letting this trial happen to me?” You’re challenging God’s authority to deal with you as He pleases. That kind of asking is always wrong. You don’t rage at the Sovereign Lord of the universe! You submit to Him!
But you can come to God as Abram did here, submissive, but confused. In this approach, you’re saying, “Lord, I don’t understand why things are going as they are. If You would reveal Your purposes to me so that I could more fully obey You, I would be thankful. But if not, I’ll trust You, even though I don’t understand.” Often the Lord will grant the wisdom we need to endure the trial, if we ask with that kind of submissive spirit (). We can’t trust God if we aren’t submitting to Him as our Sovereign Lord.
There’s a very personal flavor to these verses, as God comes to Abram in his time of fear, assures him, and then in response to Abram’s confusion, takes him out into the night to look at the stars to give further confirmation of His promise. You’ll recall that when Abram was left with the dusty, famine-stricken land of Canaan after Lot chose the lush land near Sodom, the Lord told Abram that his descendants would be as the dust of the ground. Here, as Abram is afraid of retaliation in the night, God takes him out into the night and reassures him with the stars. God was personally tailoring this experience to meet Abram at his point of need. Abram’s response was to believe God.
Do you have that kind of personal trust in the personal God who created the universe? Even though He spoke into existence the billions of galaxies each with billions of stars, He cares about you to the extent that the very hairs of your head are numbered. When you’re fearful or anxious, you can go personally to Him and tell Him your problems and know that He cares for you. It is personal trust in the personal God.
What are your thoughts and/or scriptures you like to share?  
                                    Topic #4 God gives us Himself to calm us in life’s storms
Trust is the channel through which God pours out His blessings on His people. You can gain everything this world offers, but if you don’t have God, you don’t have anything. This very night He can say to you, “Your soul is required of you,” and then where is all that you’ve gained? Or you can be a nobody by this world’s standards, but if you’ve got Christ, as Paul said, you possess all things ().
It’s significant that God revealed Himself to Abram at times of crisis. When he left his home and set out for the uncertainties of Canaan, God promised to bless him and make him a great nation (12:1-3). When Abram got to Canaan and we read that threatening parenthesis, “Now the Canaanite was then in the land,” the very next verse tells us that the Lord appeared to Abram and promised to give him that land (12:6-7). After Lot selfishly took the best land and left Abram in famine-stricken Canaan, God renewed and expanded on His promise to give Abram the land and to multiply his offspring (13:14-17). And so now, as Abram wrestled with the fear of retaliation, God said, “I am a shield to you.” As he worried about poverty after refusing the spoils of Sodom, God reassuringly said, “I am your very great reward.”
You never lose anything when you give up something to follow the Lord. If you’re facing a crisis in your life, look in God’s Word for a fresh insight into who He is. Abram didn’t know God as his shield until he was afraid of retaliation from his enemies. He didn’t know God as his very great reward until he was worried about his financial condition.
Are you lonely? Look to Christ as your Friend! Are you depressed? Come to know the Lord as your joy! Are you fearful and anxious? He is your refuge and peace! Are you confused and need direction? He is your wisdom and guide! One reason He allows trials into our lives is so that as we trust Him, we will come to know more of His sufficiency for our every need. Trusting in the Lord is the means by which His precious and magnificent promises become ours in experience (). He graciously reveals more of Himself to us as we trust Him in our trials.

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