October 6 Lesson

A Promise of Land

Purpose: To imagine what God promises for our future
Bible Lesson: Genesis 12:1-7; 13; 15:7-21; 17:8
Primary Text: Genesis 15:7-21
Key Verse: The Lord cut a covenant with Abram: ‘To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates.’ ”

By Rev. Dr. John Brantley
I Want a Sign
Abram is ready in his mind to trust God, but his heart has questions. He is second-guessing what others will think and say. He is wrestles and uneasy. His request reflects our human nature: curious, reflective with a bent toward sin.
When I have too many things on my plate, and God seems to be adding more to my responsibility and opportunity, it is easy to question and doubt that more is healthy or even possible. Some of my father’s final words were to not work so hard or long to neglect your family and your own health. Don’t be so busy that we not enjoy the blessing of God work through us.
The challenge for Abram was trust God and God’s word. It is the same struggle for us. It is appropriate to ask for a sign, but not so helpful to demand what the sign must be.
Land comes with a price
The past five years have seen highs and lows in the value of property. Some families have lost homes and homesteads while others have found bargains and once in a lifetime deals on land. No matter the price, the lands value always comes at a great price. Our family farm has little value in the market place, but in our hearts it is priceless.
While Abram is comforted by God during his dream and find assurance that God will provide the land, he is also aware if the price and struggle that acquiring the property will demand. The claiming of land will come through conflict and strife, but God will be present through all parts of the journey.
Think of the few churches near the new Georgia Dome in Atlanta that negotiated for millions and millions of dollars to exchange their churches to the city for the new structure. What will God have in store for the opportunity they now hold? Think also of the churches among us that are millions in debt and know that God has equal possibilities for blessing. The value of the land for God and the People of God is not determined by the price it will bring. The value in our place is set by our relationship with God. It is in the willingness to sacrifice our resources that God chooses to reveal the promises and plans.
God cuts a covenant.
While we frequently make promises and practice building and/or restoring our integrity with broken promises, covenants are a deeper relationship of promise.
If I could remove a word from the terminology of property contracts I would preclude the use of ‘covenants’ in community property. In my experience, communities use covenants to restrict rather than include; they are generally only binding for a generation and are regularly up for renegotiation. God covenants are inclusive and eternal.
Abram experiences Gods one-sided covenant of grace and presence. God promise is to be God and ask of us to trust. Before there were laws and commandments, rules of order and books of discipline, there is a foundation of trusting with our very lives God’s word and work. God has cut the deal and we accept or reject it. There is no room for middle ground, but there is grace to get us heading back into the relationship God hopes and dreams we will sacrifice it all to share.
Faith in action:
Easy- Walk around the property of your church in a prayer walk of thanksgiving for the faithful who made it possible through faith to worship in that place.
Challenge- what is God asking you to sacrifice to become aware that God can be trusted in your life?
Prayer: god we thank you for your unwavering faithfulness. We may experience peace and wars. We maybe at home oron  journeys far from security and acceptance. In all things and times you are our God. May we be your faithful people now. Amen.
Hymns and Praises: Great is you Faithfulness, Above All