Family Jesse Tree Study – December 5
Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.
For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/jessepatterns.pdf. If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.
We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.
Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-21 (shorter version – Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-6) – Abraham
The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring, I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
The Lord’s Covenant With Abram
15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7 He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
8 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
9 So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard to do. God asks us to be good when it would be so much easier–and sometimes more fun–to be naughty. God asks us to go places and do things we’d rather not do. God asked Abram (later God changed his name to Abraham) to take a long trip, and to leave behind the place that Abram called home. But in return, God made promises to Abram. God promised that Abram would be blessed by God. Abram still had problems and struggles, especially when he forgot to listen to God’s directions, but God kept all of the promises made to Abram. Most importantly, God was Abram’s friend forever. God loves to make promises. Have you ever made a promise that was hard to keep? Has someone made a promise to you but then broken it? When that happens, we feel sad. The good news is that God never, ever breaks a promise! When you look up into the sky, see how many stars you can count. Give thanks to God for all the promises He has made and for all of your family members.
Name some ways that God shows you what God wants you to do. Talk with your mom, dad, or another adult about the promises that God has made to you. What are they? Do you believe that God will keep His promises?
Thank You for always keeping Your promises! Holy God, help us to obey You and do the things that You want us to do.
SOAP JOURNAL NOTE
Acting On Your Will | Becky Newman
In today’s reading, God’s omniscience and foreknowledge is showcased in brilliant color. In chapter 15, God foretells Abraham’s heir Isaac, Abraham’s numerous descendants, the land where his descendants would live, the exile to and return from Egypt, and even the timing of it all. I’m surprised Abraham’s head didn’t explode! God also knew that Abraham would obey and go, setting all of this in motion. And the fulfillment of God’s promise in 12:3b, that everyone on Earth would be blessed through Abraham, is proven in Matthew 1, in God’s timing, 42 generations later as Abraham’s descendant, the Messiah Jesus Christ, is born once and for all.
It’s hard to fathom Your knowledge and understanding, and mixing that with how free will works makes my head hurt. I know I’ll never understand it this side of heaven. But, bottom line is that we must act to put Your plan in motion. You may have foreknowledge of what choices I will make, but my choices had better be in obedience of Your will. That’s where the blessings flow. They say a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can cause a thunderstorm here in the Plains, but only God can orchestrate and organize all of this chaos into the masterpiece of a fulfilled promise. I will celebrate You and Your beautiful orchestration this Christmas season!
Thank You for Your many blessings that You’ve rained on me when I act in obedience to Your will, and thank You for the orchestration of Your masterpiece in Jesus. Help me to continue on Your path, seeking and doing Your will.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.
Posted on December 5, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham, Abram, action, Advent, Bible, Bible Study, Christmas, Genesis, Jesse Tree, Jesus, obey, promise, SOAP, will. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.