Here is today’s Calendar Piece (I’m finally getting handy with Instagram and Pinterest! Click on the image below for more information):
December 7th | Father of Many Nations
Bible Background: In Abram’s day, those who wanted to make a covenant would kill an animal and cut it into pieces. The pieces were placed into two columns with a gap or aisle between them. All the people making the covenant would walk down the aisle as if to say, “I obligate myself to this covenant. May I become like these dead animal parts if I break it!” (Arthur, Kay. Our Covenant God: Living in the Security of His Unfailing Love. Random House Digital, Inc., May 27, 2009). Even in our modern culture we have something similar: weddings! Traditionally, weddings are conducted with a center aisle through which the wedding party walks: the guests (like the sacrificed animal parts) are actually witnesses to the covenant of marriage made between the groom and bride. As witnesses, guests help to reinforce, encourage, and protect the seriousness of the wedding vows.
Bible Study Question: How is Jesus related to Abraham; how are believers in Jesus related to Abraham?
Today’s Main Idea: God selected Abram (later: Abraham) from all the people of the Earth to follow Him. He made a covenant that Abraham would be a blessing to the whole world and the father of many nations and countless descendants. When God made the covenant with Abraham, He passed between the pieces of the sacrifice, but Abraham didn’t. God was saying that He alone is responsible to make the results of the covenant happen. All Abram had to do was to have faith in God. For Abram, that meant behaving as if God’s promise was a sure thing (more on that tomorrow): this belief impacted his attitude and his actions.
Ultimately, Jesus is the Blessing that Abram believed in because it is through Christ that Gentiles (many nations) and Jews (one nation) are restored by faith to God. Therefore, Abraham is the spiritual father of everyone who has faith in God through Jesus, Abraham’s descendant: our faith connects us Abraham’s faith so we are spiritually related. It is because of our faith in Jesus that we can be blessed like Abraham: we are blessed with God’s righteousness.
Application: Faith is not simply thinking something is “true” or good: Faith is being so convinced about something that it changes our behavior. We can’t have faith without actions. Faith is obedience: internal obedience through total acceptance of and surrender to God’s plan; external obedience through doing whatever our part of His plan entails while depending on His resources. This Christmas, let’s not just say that we believe in Jesus as though He were a good idea or beneficial concept, let’s be obedient to Him as a real Person; let’s surrender to His truth in our hearts and carry out His wishes as we rely on His help. If God Himself really came to our level, into our plane of existence as one of us that first Christmas, how should we respond? In total faith that God loves us and desires us to be in right-standing with Him! Our actions reveal more than our words and thoughts ever will; what do our Christmas activities this year reveal about what we truly believe?
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to bless the whole world. Help me to have true faith as Abraham did: let the true importance of Christmas change my attitude and actions. Please bless me with Your righteousness as I put true faith in Your plan for me. In Jesus’ Name; Amen
Family Activity: The Faith Family Tree. Draw a tree on construction paper. On a separate piece of paper, draw 12 ovals. Inside the ovals, draw some of the people mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. Then draw Jesus, and you. Cut out all the ovals and stick them to the tree. This is YOUR family tree: all these people are related to you because of your faith in Jesus. Doesn’t it feel great to be related to so many awesome people?
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