HUMAN OBSTACLES, DIVINE PROGRESS
GENESIS 20:1 – 21:34
1. Abraham Misleads Abimelech vv 1-18
Obstacle: Abraham is in danger of losing claim to be the father of Sarah’s child. God intervenes to save Sarah and removes the doubt.
Progress: God works through Abraham, despite his fear, to make Himself known to the Philistines and heals them of barrenness.
2. Sarah Gives Birth to Isaac vv 1-7
Obstacle: Sarah’s womb is twice dead in terms of fertility. God promises and fulfils His promise to Sarah at the right time.
Progress: Isaac, the heir to Abraham’s covenant promise, is born.
3. Abraham Sends Ishmael Away vv 8-21
Obstacle: Ishmael is a potential threat to Isaac as an heir. Abraham’s attachment to Ishmael makes the threat feasible. God tells Abraham to separate Ishmael from Abraham’s family.
Progress: Ishmael’s family will become a great nation, too, on account of Abraham.
4. Abimelech Makes a Treaty with Abraham vv 22-34
Progress: Abimelech testifies to God prospering Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do” (v 22). Abraham is establishing roots in the land – digging wells, planting trees, and establishing relationships.
————————questions for sermon discussion-———————–
a. Name all the weaknesses of Abraham you can find in these two chapters.
How does God work through Abraham even with his weaknesses? Does this fact encourage or discourage you? How? What are the weaknesses we can excuse? What are those we cannot excuse?
b. How does our story affirm God’s ability to perform miracles and fulfils His promise?
What are some testimonies that God has answered your prayers or healed you? What are some prayers God has not answered the Church yet? Can you trust God to fulfil them?
c. God elects Isaac but not Ishmael for His purpose of blessing the nations.
What does it mean that the Church is elected?
For what purpose.
What is the Church relationship with the nations of the world?
d. “God is with you in everything you do” (v 22).
How can God be with the Church in everything that she does?
Do the nations sit up and feel afraid of the Church because God is with her?
Or the nations look down on the Church?