Bible Study – Think Bigger – Genesis 17

Written by Dave Urbanski

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There is something much bigger in life awaiting you!

Existing as a human being on Planet Earth means we’re saddled with endless limitations, not to mention a sin nature that doesn’t take a vacation even after we’ve become Christians. Plus, the never-ending cares of life have a funny way of wiggling their way through the cracks: Bills, childcare, bills, job responsibilities, bills, to-do lists, bills, car repairs, bills — you get the picture. (Did we say “cracks”? Maybe “gaping chasms” is more accurate!)

But God doesn’t view our temporal challenges the way we do. In fact, the Lord wants all of us to set our hearts on things that exist in his heavenly realm and rise above the cares and concerns of this world! Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to live? Hey, I’m game — are you?

The thing with God is that he always has something waiting for us that’s bigger than we can possibly fathom. A glorious plan he hopes we’ll latch onto. And isn’t that what all of us need in our lives? Direction from the Lord toward something bigger?

Now, as we’ve been studying the life of Abraham in recent chapters of Genesis that we’ve studied with Pastor Scott, we’ve encountered a man we can truly relate to. Abraham may be the undisputed, heavyweight DAD of the Kingdom of Israel, but he had flaws — sometimes really serious issues — that probably sound familiar to us. He was married to a woman he couldn’t have children with (Sarah), so he unfortunately agreed to have a son by someone else (Hagar). But what’s different about this familial train wreck is that fact that we see the Lord at work amid the wreckage.

How does such a notion hit you? Has your family life been less than perfect? Have things with your marriage turned out less stellar than you wanted? Do you dread reengaging with and reentering less-than-savory situations? Well, look no further than this portion of Genesis, and you can watch God step into the lives of people just like you and me and work his miracles.

In chapter 17 we saw Abraham doing well in his work live — his vocation — but like a lot men today in the same position, he abdicated his responsibilities at home and proved an inadequate leader there. But amid the difficulties, God still managed to reveal the steps we need to take if we’re in such a position — and the inspiration to THINK BIGGER.

What are those steps? First, we need to recognize how big God is. One of the difficulties of being stuck upon our earthly plane is that we continually fall victim to challenges and emotions we weren’t meant to take on. But the Lord is certainly big enough to take on those things. (So, give them over to him, already!)

Second, we must recognize how small — yet valuable — we are. In this chapter we saw God once again reminding Abraham of his eternal promises — primarily that he will become the father of many nations. In fact, this is the point where the Lord conducts a famous renaming: “Abram” to “Abraham” (which means father of multitudes). But it also seems quite poignant that God has remained so patient with Abraham all this time, after having repeated his promises to him over and over. We have the benefit of getting the low down well past the rear-view mirror, but Abraham was living it all out in real time — and clearly latching on to God’s pledge that he would have an heir, a son, was quite hard for him to fathom. (OK, right now, imagine you are Abraham at 99 years of age with a wife who can’t give birth and declare in all honesty that you wouldn’t have doubted God the same way Abraham did! Thought so.)

And this chapter also reveals the third step we must take in order to get to the next level of the kinds of lives God would have us life — and that is simply to take the necessary next steps that will take us there! It means saying “yes” to the Lord’s leading, even when the result may be difficult and uncomfortable.

So, are stuck in a rut? Adrift without a paddle? Stranded on the highway without a drop of gas in the middle of the night — and wondering when help will arrive? Do not fear. Such temporary difficulties are just that: Temporary. And the present opportunities for you and me to rise above the mundane bumps in the road of life and really start living on that “other” level are there for the taking.

Truly, the Lord has stored up really cool and exciting things we can be up to — things that will get us exclaiming that the mundane stuff we’ve been focused on aren’t worth more than the absolute minimum focus and energy. But getting there starts only with acknowledging how big God is, how small — and nevertheless meaningful — we are, and finally putting one foot in front of the other so we get to where the Lord wants us to go.

Ready? I’ll race ya.

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