Monday, July 20, 2009

Sarah-Stand By Your Man

Day One: Leaving and Cleaving

As women we graduate from one relationship to another. We transition from being a daughter to becoming a wife. With this transition, our alliances also shift from father to husband. "Daddy's Little Girl" is transformed into her spouse's "better half." While one bond breaks, another forms into the tie that binds. Jesus said,"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate: (Matthew 19:5-6). In other words, you must stand by your man through thick and thin.

We learned through (Noah's wife's) life that anonymous does not mean inconsequential. Like many unsung heroes, she happily served behind the scenes as her husband and sons became renowned.

Sarah, Abraham's wife, is truly the matriarch of the faith. We'll see a complex woman who would at one moment exhibit a meek and quiet spirit and the next stand up to her husband when there was conflict in the home. As she walked through her life, she came to understand that the hand of God is more powerful than the wishes of man.

The scripture for today's lesson is Genesis 12:1-9.

1.a. List all that Abraham was asked to leave behind.

Abraham was asked to leave behind his country, his family, and his father's house.

b. How might that have made him feel?

I would think that it would make him feel uncertain, and unsure of what God wanted from him. He would definitely leave his place of security, where he understood the language and knew those around him. He may have wondered whether or not he was walking to his own death at the hand of those in another land.

c. What do you imagine Sarah felt about this?

I would think she might be wondering what she had gotten herself into by cleaving herself to Abraham! I'm sure this was unexpected, and she had to wonder if Abraham was going mad. Nevertheless, she followed him without argument, which shows her patience, faith, and loyalty to her marriage vows.

2. What phrase in God's instructions indicates that Abraham did not know exactly where he was going?

God tells him to leave it all for a land that "I will show you."

3. a. List the blessing that would follow Abraham's leap of faith.

Make you a great nation
Bless you
Make you famous
You'll be a blessing
Bless those who bless you
Curse those who curse you
All families will be blessed through you.

b. How might this promise have influenced him?

It had to be 'heady' to have this blessing made to you and to know that if he followed God's will, these things would happen! I'd say it would definitely impress upon him positively!

c. What might Sarah's reactions have been?

It had to make her feel good to know that these things could be done through her love! I know it had to make her happy to hear that she would have children as well.

4. List those who accompanied Abraham on this journey and what kind of supplies they might need.

Abraham left with Lot, Sarah, and all the possessions and people that they had gotten in Haran. They would have needed food, animals, tents, and other supplies for them to survive on their trip to the unknown place.

5. What places were included in their journey, and where did they finally set up camp?

They went through Sechem and the Oak of Moreh, Bethel, and finally set up camp between Bethel to the west and Ai to the East, and then Abraham traveled south to Negev.

6. Abraham did something twice. Underline the activity. Why do you think he did this?

He built two altars, to give God praise and glory for keeping them safe and leading them thus far, as well as for the promises He had made him. He also did this to show the Lord that he was keeping up 'his part of the bargain' and honoring Him in his travels.

7. Abraham and Sarah were asked to leave all that was familiar to them. Jesus asks the same of His followers. Rewrite the following passage into a personal prayer relinquishing all that you possess into God's hands. (Matthew 16:24-26)

Lord, I want to follow you, and let you be the One in charge of my life. If I am to do this, I rejoice in the troubles that I might face because they will show others how You are working in my life. I cannot do this alone, I must have You to show me the way. When I follow You, You will be revealed through me as I become the true person You desire me to be. Yes, I will lose myself, but I will gain myself in You!

8. Abraham would empty his arms only to be filled with the promises of God. So, too, as we deny all to follow the Lord, He fills our lives with great and precious promises. Read Galatians 3:26-29.

a. Who does God consider as members of His family, and how does this happen?

Anyone who has been baptized in the name of the Lord.

b. What divisions has Christ abolished?

God has abolished all divisions such as Jew or non-Jew, slave or free, or male or female.

c. What additional benefit does the believer experience in Christ?

We are all descendants of Abraham, and are heirs in his covenant promises!

9. This season in Abraham's life consisted of tents and altars. The tent was where he spent time with people, and the altar where he communed with God. In the columns below, list the places you lived and places you have worshipped. Then write about one memorable encounter you had in each of these places.


Holston View: my true 'church home
Prospect: where I learned the love of those outside my family for me
Ft. Blackmore Camp: first experienced a love of nature
Vermont: where I accepted Christ into my life
Buffalo Mountain Camp: started learning about how BIG God is!
Trinity, Big Stone Gap: learned about love of friendship--and had my first kiss!
Jr. High Assembly: learned how I could learn from other Christians
McFarland: Learned about God's unconditional love
Sr. High Assembly: Learned to put my relationship into order--Jesus, Others, Yourself
Camp Lookout: selfless love
Emory UMC: love of community
Cherokee UMC: learned of Christ's love for me as an adult
Loudon UMC: learned about how people could love me without truly knowing me, but love me because I'm a part of the family of Christ

Holston Terrace: the love of a family
Bloomingdale: how love can hurt, and that not everyone has been loved unconditionally as I have
in "Town": first experiences with romantic love
Mission Ridge Road: that my mother and I were more alike than I thought
Greenleaf: that God would help me if I only asked
MaWa: how to survive on my own
Brenda & Dale's: love of my nieces and nephews
Bonita Drive: that God would be there for me when no one else would or could
my cute little apartment: self-protection
Mom and Dad's house: my first home with my husband! That I need to care for ME
our home: the love of being a parent

Abraham might have been a baseball player who knew that you can't get to second base if you keep your foot on first. He willingly left his home and went where God told him. His beautiful wife Sarah left everything to go with him. There were some hits and misses on the journey, but God considered their pilgrimage a home run.

The lesson ends with a quote by Billy Graham:
Let your home be your parish, your little brood your congregation, your living room a sanctuary, and your knee a sacred altar.