Sunday, Oct 25, 2009: “The Old Testament: Genesis: Chapters 12-17”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
A Discussion led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, October 25, 2009


The Old Testament

Today’s lesson continued with the book of Genesis from chapter 12 to chapter 17.  Everything starts with the word of God as he calls to Abram.  Leave everything behind and go where I tell you.  God promised Abram that a great nation would rise from him and that everyone would be blessed.  For the sake of the entire human race, Abram has a role to play for God.  Abram and his family travel to the land of Canaan, which is mostly the southern part of Israel.  Unlike in the past, God is now not confined to one land.  Abram formulates a scam in that he has his wife, Sarai, pretend to be his sister so that the Egyptians will not harm him.  The plagues on Egypt and the exodus from Egypt are recurring themes in the Bible.


Lot is the born loser in the Bible.  He chose the “choice” lands of Sodom and Gomorrah as his place of residence, while Abram got Canaan.  Lot manages to get captured and Abram forms an alliance to go an save him.  In verse 13, there is a single reference to “Hebrew.”


God made a covenant with Abram, but as Abram continued to get older and older, he became less trusting that God was ever going to fulfill his solemn promise.  If his wife is too old to have children, then there may be an alternative solution.  Sarai offers her slave girl Hagar to Abram.  He begrudgingly accommodates her wishes and a son is born to Hagar who she names Ishmael.  Sarai is very upset after that and is abusive to Hagar.  An angel appears to Hagar and tells her that Ishmael will have many offspring and be the leader of a great nation.


Abram is now 99-years-old and still no children with Sarai.  God then changes his name to Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah.  He makes the promise again and notes that the sign of the covenant will be circumcision.  Abraham, of course, is still very skeptical when the Lord tells him that Sarah will have a son who will be called Isaac.  At the end of Abraham’s life, the promise is still unfulfilled.