Community Group Study “Genesis: Fear and Faith”
Before your community group meets:
Read Genesis 12:4-13:1 and list out 10-12 observations you have from the text like geography, repeated actions, who is talking and who is remaining silent, etc.
How did Abram demonstrate trust in God’s blessing and promise?
What motivated Abram to create his plan to lie about Sarai?
How does God respond to protect his blessing and promise to Abram?
If we were to graph Abram’s faith and active trust in God it would not be a straight line, in a 45 degree angle, going from left to right with constant growth. Many of us expect growth in faith and holiness to always be moving up and to the right. It is true that Abram believed God when he left his home land to go to the place that God would show him, and it is true that he believed God when God made his covenant with him in Genesis 15, and it is true that he believed God when he offered up his son Isaac in Genesis 22. Yet, as we walk through the text of his story we see Abram give in to fear, try to rush the promise of God and express unbelief through his actions. Faith, in terms of trust and walking with God, has hills and valleys and ups and downs. In our text today we learn that Abram demonstrated active trust when he entered the promised land, but in response to the challenge of a famine, he begins to walks in fear.
Genesis 12:4-9 shows us Abram essentially taking a tour of the promised land. Genesis 12:10 introduces conflict into the story a famine affects the land and Abram, with family, leaves to Egypt where there was a more dependable supply of food. While on the border of Egypt he schemes up a plan to protect himself from the problem of his exceedingly beautiful wife. His fear was that a powerful Egyptian would kill him to take his wife. So the lie he created was, “tell them you are my sister”. We learn in Genesis 20:12 that this is a technicality and a half truth that he could lean on to justify his sin in his own mind. Fear creates many complications in the lives of God’s people. What are we to make of this failure when the Bible credits so much faith to Abram?
Romans 4:19-20 is incredibly helpful for us to interpret what happens in Genesis 12:4-13:1. Romans tells us that he “did not weaken in faith” or “waver with unbelief”, but it also said that he “grew strong” in his faith. Meaning that even in these moments of fear and failure, God was using that time to grow Abram’s faith and trust in him and that his active trust was not automatically perfect, it grew over time.
Our hope as you read and study this passage is that you will notice God’s ability to protect his blessing and move his plan forward, as well as, God’s use of imperfect people and you’d take heart in the midst of your failures and fear to see that God is gracious to meet you there and pull you out. He desires your repentance and trust. God is gracious to the weak and fainthearted, or as 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “he is faithful when we are faithless”.
At your community group:
Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.
How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?
Scripture and Discussion Questions:
Abram demonstrated a lot of faith in leaving the land of Haran and going into the promised land. The text gives us a few obstacles to God’s promise, what are those and how does God reassure Abram in Genesis 12:7? What is Abram’s response?
Challenging circumstances are introduced into the story and Abram reacts with fear. How does Abram’s fear affect other people in the text?
How does God intervene to protect Sarai? How does this demonstrate that his plan and promise are not at risk?
The message mentioned that fear comes down to an idol of control and safety. How how you experienced a desire for control and safety? Are there any areas of your life you are trying to control that are hindering your walk with God?
Read Genesis 13:1-14:16 write down 10-15 observations of the text like what are some of the problems addressed, who the main characters are, what places are mentioned, etc.
Genesis 13:3-4 highlights something particular about where Abram goes, what is that and is there significance to it? (See Genesis 12:4-9).
What is the main conflict between Abram and Lot? How does God work to settle Abram in the land of Canaan and why is this important?
What does the text foreshadow about Sodom? What affect does living near Sodom have on Lot?