{May 2, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

Invited In

By Allison Antrim

I’m much more comfortable with contracts than covenants. With a contract, I’m making an agreement with someone that is my equal. But with a covenant, it requires that one of the parties involved be stronger than another, and usually that makes me the weaker one involved. It’s humbling to admit that you need someone with more strength to make good on a promise.

Abram didn’t seem to take issue with being the weaker party in the covenant between himself and God, though. In fact, in Genesis 15, he boldly questions God twice to suss out the details of what this covenant will be, what God means when He says, “‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward’” (v. 1). 

First Abram asks, “‘Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus…You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir’” (v. 2-3). Rather than taking offense or smiting Abram down, God answers him, using the night sky as an example to show Abram how very numerous his future offspring will be. 

Then, when God promises him the very land Abram is standing on, Abram asks his second question about the covenant: “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” (v. 8). God doesn’t just tell Abram to blindly trust Him, nor does He rebuke him for the question. Instead, He gives him proof by enacting a human practice that was common at the time: having Abram sacrifice a few approved animals, and then split the bodies into two to create an aisle to be walked down. In verse 17, God shows up as “a smoking firepot with a blazing torch” and walks the aisle between the sacrifices to make good on His covenant with Abram. 

One of the best things about the Old Testament is how God used the culture of the time to foreshadow what He would do when Jesus comes to earth, thousands of years later. In this covenantal scene between God and Abram, we see a glimpse of how Jesus would become the sacrifice that seals the new covenant between God and all those who believe in Him. He would be torn apart from His Father in that hour, bearing the weight of every sin of mankind throughout the past, present, and future. And because of His unfathomable sacrifice, we who believe are able to have our sins forgiven, to know God personally, and see Him face-to-face when our time on this earth is over. 

If you have questions about who God is and what He offers you, like Abram, you can ask Him. The Bible is full of God’s covenantal promises, and God can handle your questions. Ultimately, though, He asks you to take a step of faith to believe that Jesus’s life and death sealed the deal for you. What questions have you asked God about His promises? Where have you seen God be faithful in your life? How will you accept His strength in your life this week?

 

{sunday 5.2.21}

Read John 11:25-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Just as the verses pose, do you believe this? If not, how might you explore the promise of Jesus and make a decision for yourself? If you believe in the promise of Jesus, and the power of his sacrifice and resurrection in your life, how might you share that with others?

 

{prayer for the week}

Join us this week in a shared community-wide prayer.

God, thank you for loving us enough to invite us into a covenant relationship with you. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin. God, help me comprehend the depth of your love for me, the power of your promise to me, and the freedom I can find in relationship with you. Amen.

 

{bible reading plan}

By Chris Woodward

{monday 5.3.21}

Read Genesis 14:17-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Each day it seems that we wake up and the world changes, shifts and moves under our feet. The pace of life has accelerated over the past five years let alone the past forty plus that I have been around. We sometimes feel that we are in a battle with time, with energy, family, commitments, with who we are as a person. In the story of Abram going out with his trained men and bringing back his relative, Lot, I know that God and family fight to bring us out of the enemies’ hands. In Genesis 14: 17, God can return our family to us, but we have to be willing to train and fight to allow the work to be complete. Abram makes a promise to the Kings that were there with him to only take what was his. What training do we need to complete in order to be ready for the moment when God calls us out into the next thing? Where are the battles in your life that seem to keep you from your family? How do you involve God in the fight?

{tuesday 5.4.21}

Read Genesis 15:1-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: While counting the stars in Genesis 15, Abraham and God have a conversation. This conversation from God to Abram reminds me of a conversation with my child. It seems that Abram was just not getting it. Or, perhaps it was too big to believe. God came to him in spirit, with a promise. He took him outside to show him an example, then using the context of his experience, God askes him to make a blood sacrifice. In much the same way, God takes us through the process of declaring his promise and proving his word in ways that we can understand. As a parent, I lead my children through hearing my words, and learning to trust in me through reassurance and example. What are the stars in your life that are proof of God’s work in you and your family? Does the promise that God makes to Abram make sense to you? What advice helps you make sense of the Abram’s situation?

{wednesday 5.5.21}

Read Genesis 16:1-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Abram and Sarai attempted to make their own way. Sitting at a red light a voice comes from the back set, “Go Daddy, go!” Responding to the urging of my child I say, “Well, it is a red light and there is a car in front of us." Using his four-year-old logic he quickly shot back, “Use the horn. They will move, and we can be going fast.”  With a chuckle, “Yes son, that might happen, but we need to follow directions, so we don’t crash.” How often do we see God’s commands and promises as things to be avoided, things that need to be hurried, things that need to be managed, in our attempt to control the outcome? And how many times do we fail? Abram and Sarai tested and failed God, they also found him to be faithful to his promise, even though they attempted to accelerate the process. Have you ever made other arrangements for God? Why is waiting on a promise difficult for so many of us?

{thursday 5.6.21}

Read Genesis Genesis 17:1-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I am. I will. I have done. These statements are like cement for our faith. Solid words declaring who God is and setting up his truth. My dad used to tell me that you can understand the Bible and God by accepting two statements. Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God, created the heavens and the earth.  And I Am…God describeing himself as I am, declaring exactly who he is and what he is capable of. This I am statement is God telling Abraham, “I got this, I got you, trust the process.” Knowing and trusting the I am, is what he keeps urging in Abraham throughout Genesis. Genesis 15: “Do not fear, I am your shield,” Genesis 17: “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless.”  What statements in this passage solidify your faith that God’s promise will be completed in you?

{friday 5.7.21}

Read Genesis 17:15-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Work, soccer practice, PTA, church, Bible study, get ready for bed, forgot to pay the water bill, get out of bed, pay the bill, back into bed, now try to get some sleep…the alarm goes off at 5:30 AM, if the kids don’t wake us first. It seems our lives are in fast forward. Today, attempt to stop and imagine God’s promise through Abraham and Sarah’s eyes. He, being over one hundred years old, and Sarah over 90. They are preparing to take on a new-born, taking care of a thirteen-year-old, running a house, starting a nation that will be as numerous as the stars. What stressful days and sleepless nights this news must have brought them. Finding acceptance of this reality must have taken a while. It was a God-sized moment for this couple.

Nearing the end of the week most of us are fading in energy and needing rest. How can you put extra time away to rest and build margin in your week? How can we practice readily accepting the process of change from God? What do we need to grasp in order to accept his plan for our lives?

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

 

© 2021 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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