Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

God Makes a Covenant With Abraham

Genesis 13-21

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - The Offering of Isaac (Genesis 22)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ.
      And so through Him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
      2 Corinthians 1:20

Opening Prayer

Promises to Abraham (Genesis 12-15)
    What promises did God make to Abram when He called him? = Write on board
      Genesis 12:2-3 = great nation, bless you, name great, be a blessing, all blessed thru you
    What was Abraham's responsibility under this agreement, and did he fulfill it? = Sep. column
      Genesis 12:1, 4 = Leave & follow God

    What did God promise after Abram let Lot choose the choice land? = Add to board
      Genesis 13:14-16 = All visible land, offspring like dust of the earth
    What did God promise Abram after he rescued Lot and gave a tithe? (Genesis 14)
      Genesis 15:1 = I am your shield (protect you) & great reward (bless you)

Blessed Abram (Genesis 15:2-6)
    Did Abram get to see God's promises to him fulfilled?
      Hebrews 11:8-9, 13 = No, but he accepted them by faith, fulfilled later
    Did God fulfill any of His promises during Abram's life?
      Genesis 13:2 = Yes, God blessed him materially
    Did Abram feel fully blessed?
      Genesis 15:2-3 = Didn't see how promises could be fulfilled without an heir
    How did God respond to Abram's confusion and doubt?
      Genesis 15:4-5 = Restated promise and elaborated on size

    Did this help or did Abram continue to doubt?
      Genesis 15:6 = He trusted God - his faith was credited to him as righteousness
    Was Abram considered righteous because he obeyed God's instructions?
      Romans 3:10, 20 = No, no one obeys the law perfect enough to be righteous
    Then why was he considered righteous?
      Romans 4:1-3 = His faith was credited to him as righteousness
    Did Abram's good works and obedience help earn this righteousness at least a little?
      Romans 4:4-8 = No, righteousness can only be received as a gift through faith
    How does Paul explain this in a summary of the gospel?
      Ephesians 2:8-9 = By grace you have been saved through faith ... gift of God

God's Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15)
    Did Abram have any further doubts after God restated His promise of descendants?
      Genesis 15:7-8 = He asked for help believing the promise of land
    How were pledges and promises formalized in the days of the patriarchs?
      Genesis 31:44-45, 48-50 = Jacob & Laban made witness heap, God is witness

    Blood Covenant - Used as an absolute and unbreakable guarantee of critical agreements
      Bound two parties together as one
      Very serious & solemn - Reserved for only special & critical agreements
      3 large animals split down the spine, halves spread on ground opposite each other
        "May this happen to me if I break this covenant"
      Parties exchanged coats - exchange of authority, What I have is yours
        Exchanged weapons - My strength is yours, Your enemies are mine
        Walked twice through The Way of Blood - Trail of blood between halves
      Met each other in the center
        The Blessing of the Covenant - Stated pledges of agreement
        Pronounced a curse for breaking the covenant
        Parties swore by their god, making him a third party
      The Cut of the Covenant - Cut hands & wrists, bound together to intermingle blood
      Joined names together
      Ate a covenant meal of bread & wine together (Bread for flesh, wine for blood)
        Represented willingness to lay down lives for each other

    How did God show Abram how serious He was about His promises?
      Genesis 15:9-10 = God had Abram prepare a blood covenant
    How did God make this a one-sided covenant where all Abram had to do was accept it?
      Genesis 15:11-12 = Waited all day until Abram tired and fell asleep
    What was The Blessing of the Covenant? = Land from Brook of Egypt (Wadi, SW of Gaza) to Euphrates
      Genesis 15:13-16, 18 = Told details of when, how and what

    How did God handle the covenant ritual of walking twice through The Way of Blood?
      Genesis 15:17 = Smoking firepot & blazing torch passed between pieces
    What was the meaning behind the smoke and fire? = Represented God's presence
      Exodus 13:21 = God stayed with Israelites in pillars of cloud & fire
    How did God guarantee His covenant with us?
      Hebrews 7:22; 9:12 = Jesus guarantees the better covenant by his own blood

God's Covenants with His People = What other major covenants did God make with His people?
    Genesis 9:8 = With Noah, never destroy creation with a flood, rainbow
    Exodus 19:3-6 = With Israelites on Mount Sinai, be my people
    2 Samuel 7:8, 12-13 = Promise of an eternal kingdom from David's offspring
    Jeremiah 31:31, 34 = Make a new covenant with Israel, all will know me, I will forgive
    John 14:2-3 = In my Father's house are many rooms, I go to prepare a place for you

God Confirms His Covenant (Genesis 17:1-14)
    What did God decide to do around 14 years after making this Blood Covenant with Abram?
      Genesis 17:1-2 = Confirm His covenant, Greatly increase Abram's numbers
    How did God point out that this really was the time? = Name change indicates change point in life
      Genesis 17:3-5 = Changed his name; I have made you a father of many nations
      Abram / Abraham = the (my) father is exalted / father of many
    What promises did God confirm?
      Genesis 17:6-8 = make fruitful, nations & kings from you, your God forever, Land of Canaan
    Was this another one-sided covenant or did Abraham have a responsibility?
      Genesis 17:9-10, 14 = All males circumcised, visible sign reminding Israel of special calling
      Circumcise = to separate, cut off - become a separate people cut-off from evil world
    How long did it take Abraham to complete what God commanded?
      Genesis 17:23 = On that very day

God's Covenant Through Sarah (Genesis 17:15-19)
    How did God point out that the life change was not only for Abraham?
      Genesis 17:15-16 = Changed Sarai's name to Sarah
      Sarai = Possibly name of moon goddess in Haran
      Sarah = means princess, royalty would come from her - Mother of nations & kings
    How did this differ from Abraham's understanding of God's plan?
      Genesis 17:17-18 = He thought God would fulfill promises thru Ishmael
    Why did God wait until Abraham & Sarah were old before bringing Isaac?
      Genesis 17:19 = Only possible by God, Ishmael came from A taking matters in his own hand
    How had God introduced Himself to Abram, and why?
      Genesis 17:1 = El Shaddai (God Almighty), total control over nature, inc. Sarai's barrenness
      Jeremiah 32:27 = I am the Lord ... Is anything too hard for me?
    What is the significance of circumcision instituted before Isaac?
      Colossians 2:11-12 = Chosen to be cut off from sinful world before child of covenant can come

Justified by Circumcision? (Romans 4)
    Was Abraham justified (deemed righteous) & blessed because of circumcision?
      Romans 4:9-11a = Abraham was righteous by faith, before he was circumcised
    Are God's promises to Abraham's descendants only to the Jews (circumcised)?
      Romans 4:11b-12 = promises to those of faith, not circumcision
    How did Abraham receive the promise? By obeying the law?
      Romans 4:13-15 = No. Through the righteousness that comes by faith
    How can we be heirs to the promises God made to Abraham?
      Romans 4:16-17 = Promise comes by faith; Abraham is father of the faithful in God's sight
    Why did Abraham believe God's promise of offspring when he was past age?
      Hebrews 11:11-12 = By faith Abraham became the father of multitudes
      Romans 4:18-22 = He believed God had the power to do what he said
    How can righteousness be credited to us?
      Romans 4:23-25 = Righteousness will be credited to those who trust in Christ

God Visits (Genesis 18:1-15)
    How did Abraham recognize God among the three strangers?
      Genesis 18:1-2 = Recognizing God is possible when you live in a right relationship with God
    How did Abraham react to this visit by God & angels?
      Genesis 18:3-8 = Welcomed them heartily, washed feet, gave food & rest
    What was God's message to Abraham?
      Genesis 18:9-10 = To announce the coming of a promised son
    How did Sarah respond to God's message?
      Genesis 18:11-12 = She laughed since she & Abraham were too old
    Would Sarah's laughter or age (90) interfere with God's plan?
      Genesis 18:13-14 = Is anything too hard for the Lord? She will have a son

They Called Him Laughter (Genesis 17:19)
    Isaac means laughter. Why did God pick such a name?
      Genesis 17:17 = Abraham laughed at the idea of having a child at 100
      Genesis 18:10-15 = Sarah laughed at idea of child, then denied it
      Genesis 21:6-7 = Sarah said, God has brought me laughter & everyone will laugh with me
      Genesis 17:19 = God said to call him Isaac, God laughs with pleasure in giving His grace
    What other biblical birth was received skeptically?
      Luke 1:31, 34-37 = Jesus born of virgin, John the B born to old E

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

Use of this material is provided free of charge for use in personal or group Bible Study, no permission needed.
The author reserves all rights for use in published material or in uses where fees are involved.
For permission, or to provide your comments, insights and feedback, contact the author at:


Return to Bible Stories for Adults Home Page