Genesis 16 & 17

  1. 16:1-6. In what ways did Abram act wrongly in having a son by Hagar?
    How was he misled? Was Sarah right to blame Abram for the wrong done to her?
    What ought Abram to have thought, said and done in the face of such a situation?
  2. 17. Note the characteristics of covenant-making mentioned here.
    What were the blessings of which Abraham was thereby assured?
    What did Abraham have to do to embrace the assurance that the covenant offered?
  3. 16:7-15; 17:18-21. What do we learn here of God’s character and purposes from his dealings with Hagar and Ishmael?
    What Christian truths are prefigured here?

Notes

  1. 16:13. Hagar not only realized that God is one by whose all-seeing eye none are unseen or overlooked, but also that he had personally manifested himself to her, and that she had seen God without dying. Mention of ‘the angel of the Lord’ (verse 7) occurs here for the first time in the Bible. In verse 13 he is described as ‘the Lord who spoke to her’. This suggests an anticipation of the incarnation, an appearance in person of God the Son.
  2. Chapter 17. The covenant was pledged by God in his name. In witness of the benefits that they were to receive under it, Abram and Sarai were both given significant new names. Abraham and every male of his house were circumcised as ‘a sign of the covenant’ between God and him.
  3. 17:18-21. Abraham’s suggestion that Ishmael might be accepted by God, as the son concerning whom God’s special covenant promises were made, was not accepted by God.

Genesis 15

  1. How are God’s words in verse 1 exactly related to Abram’s circumstance and condition?
  2. In utterly hopeless human circumstances (see Gen. 11:30; 15:3) how did Abram obtain hope of having descendants?
    What else did he gain by such a response?
    What principle of the gospel of Christ does this illustrate?
    Cf. Rom. 4:2-5, 13-25.
  3. What grounds for his faith did God give to Abram?
    Why did God also make a covenant with Abram?
    Note the use of a visible token and pledge. Cf. Heb. 6:13-18.

Note. Verses 9, 10, 17 describe an ancient ritual used to seal a contract. Cf. Jer. 34;18, 19. The smoking brazier and blazing torch represent the Lord passing between the divided carcasses, and thus ratifying the covenant.

Genesis 13:5-14:24

  1. Put yourself in Lot’s place when Abram’s offer was made to him.
    What was the motive that decided his choice, and how did it end?
    What did Abram lose by letting Lot choose first?
    Cf. Matt. 16:25.
  2. What fresh light do the events of chapter 14 throw on Abram’s character?

Genesis 11:10-13:4

  1. Consider the inseparable intermingling of command and promise in God’s call to Abram.
    How, in consequence, did Abram’s faith express itself?
    Cf. Heb. 11:8. Compare and contrast Gen. 11:31 with 12:5.
    In what ways is a similar response demanded by the gospel of Christ?
  2. In what two respects did Abram’s faith fall short under the tests of famine and fear?
    When he acted unworthily how was he rebuked?
    What may we learn from Gen. 13:3, 4? Cf. Rev. 2:5.

Genesis 10:1-11:9

  1. What does Gen. 10 teach about the origins of the nations and about their relation to one another and to God? Cf. Acts 17:26; Rom. 3:29.
  2. See 11:1-9. What was wrong with the attitude and activity of these men?
    What kind of judgment does God bring on those who seek supposed success in their way rather than in his way?
    See Ps. 2:1-4; Luke 11:23; cf. Gen 3:22-24; Is 14:12-15; contrast John 11:49-52, especially verse 52.

Genesis 8:20-9:29

  1. What did Noah’s altar and burnt offerings signify?
    To what would they correspond in our lives today?
    Cf. Rom. 12; Heb. 13:15, 16.
  2. Reflect on Noah’s position after the deluge.
    How did God encourage him?
  3. What makes human life supremely precious?
    What kind of penalty is set out here for the murderer?
  4. What can we learn here concerning the place and manner of covenant making?
    Can you think of other visible tokens and pledges that seal covenants?

Note. 9:13. This does not imply that the rainbow was now seen for the first time, but that God now made it a token of his covenant of promise to Noah.

Genesis 7:1-8:19

  1. What was God’s part in Noah’s salvation, and what was Noah’s?
    Cf. Eph. 2:8; Phil. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:5.
  2. In the ark Noah was not saved from being affected by the flood at all, but he was brought safely through it.
    Cf. ‘saved through water’, 1 Pet. 3:20.
    In what similar way does the gospel of Christ offer us salvation from God’s judgment upon sin?