Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 16

Here’s the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 16, written by Bryan D. Gill, D.Min., Director of the Office of Faith, Learning and Vocation, Samford University in Birmingham.

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 16

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By Bryan D. Gill, D.Min.
Director of the Office of Faith, Learning and Vocation, Samford University


Genesis 12:1–3; 15:5–7; 17:7–11

“Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord!” Dutch songwriter Pierre Kartner wrote that catchy children’s tune in 1971.

I cannot read Genesis 12 without it getting stuck in my head. I must admit that as a child I was confused as to how I was one of his sons; I already had a daddy. But as I grew in understanding of Scripture, I have learned the significance of this fun song.

God’s covenant with Abram brings blessing to all of us. (12:1–3)

When I read Genesis 12, these two things stick out to me: God blesses Abram, and He tells him he will be a blessing.

God did not intend for Abram to simply receive the blessing He bestowed upon him. God intended and knew that by being blessed, Abram would bless others.

I fear that we often confuse the purpose of blessings. Blessings are not able to be earned, nor are they to be hoarded. God blesses those He wants to bless. While we refer to Abraham’s descendants as God’s chosen people, they did nothing to deserve this honor.

In fact, time and time again, they disgraced this title by taking the Lord’s name in vain, acting out of selfish desires and withholding good from others. They were judged accordingly.

Blessings are not to be hoarded and used for our own selfish desires but should be used to bless others.

God’s promises call for us to trust Him and take Him at His Word. (15:5–7)

When I think of the gospel, some lyrics from “Sometimes by Step,” a song by Rich Mullins, come to mind.

“Sometimes I think of Abraham/ How one star he saw had been lit for me.”

When my family and I go camping, we like to look up at the stars. On a clear night away from city lights, the sheer number of visible stars is overwhelming.

I imagine our sense of being overwhelmed pales in comparison to Abram’s when God told him his offspring would be more numerous than the stars.

Reflecting on the song “Father Abraham,” the only way this song and the passage in Genesis make sense is through Jesus. While I am not Jewish, Jesus allows us access to this blessing through His death, burial and resurrection.

Paul writes in Romans 1:16 that salvation is first for the Jew and then the Gentile. Because of Jesus I am an offspring of Abraham, and you can be one too.

God calls His people to be distinct. (17:7–11)

God has always set His people apart from their culture. He gave them a land of their own before they were a nation, delivered them from Egypt in the cover of night, explained how their God is the only true God in a world of polytheism, established dietary restrictions in a world of gluttony and instituted circumcision.

But why does God desire for His people to be different?

When God told Abraham he would be circumcised, God was testing Abraham’s obedience once again. Every time God sets His people apart, He is demanding their obedience.

We may not understand all the details and all of God’s reasons, but when we obey God, we express our love to God.

As Jesus reminds us in the Book of John, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15).

God calls us to obedience in the same way He called Abraham, so we will submit to Him and depend on Him for all our needs as a people set apart for His purposes.