The last few months have been incredibly unpredictable.
What we have experienced as a nation and in our own personal lives is beyond what we anticipated when we rang in New Year for 2020.
As we strive to move forward, we’re facing much of the residual upheaval. We might be wondering about what we’ve seen inside ourselves as we’ve had time to hear our own thoughts. We might be wondering about our relationships as we’ve had to navigate conflict. We might be wondering about the future we thought was secure. We might be wondering what our once stable group dynamic will be like this fall.
Even though the specifics that moved us into this state of upheaval might be unique to this time and place, we know we are not the first ones to experience hardships and difficulties. In fact, trials, temptations, and challenges have been endured by believers for centuries.
What if we could learn from others? And not just anyone, but characters within the Bible?
They were human, just as we are. They struggled, just as we do. They made mistakes, but they also learned. As we all strive to continue seeking the Lord and growing through these challenging times, we can learn from their stories recorded in the Bible through a free 7-Day Characters devotional.
Learn from Abraham, Ruth, Josiah, Malachi, Jesus, Philip, and Barnabas. The first devotional (centered on Abraham) is excerpted below. Use it to equip your group during this challenging time. You can download the entire 7 day devotional here, at lifeway.com/charactersdevotional.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone (other than Jesus) who figures more prominently in the Bible than Abraham. His story is referred to frequently by the biblical writers, and even by Jesus Himself.
But in the beginning, Abraham is just Abram, an aging and childless man who heard a simple call from God to go. Abram obeyed, and his story began as he followed God in faith, waiting for the fulfillment of the promises given to him. These promises frame the entire biblical story, for from Abram would come the nation of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. And in the New Testament, we find that Abraham’s fatherhood extends beyond blood to all those who believe in the same way that he did.
God told Abram to go, and that is what Abram did. Abram had a clear word from the Lord. God wanted him to leave the land where he lived and go to a new land. Abram was faced with the decision of obedience or disobedience.
This was a significant decision, and God knew it. To obey meant leaving everything he knew behind to pursue God’s promise. If Abram was willing to act in faith, then he would be the father of a great nation. He would be blessed, and his name would be made great. And in the end, every nation on the earth would be blessed through him. God chooses to use ordinary people who put their full faith in Him as conduits of His blessing to the ends of the earth. Those great blessings begin with people willing to take
God at His Word and step out in faith.
In Abram’s case, this promise was fulfilled in the person of Jesus. Through Jesus—born of the lineage of Abraham—people of every tongue and tribe can be blessed with the greatest gift, eternal life. When we turn from our sin and trust in Jesus we are grafted into the line of Abraham by faith. The blessing God promised Abraham belongs to us in Christ. And it all begins with a step of obedience, a willingness to trust Christ and respond to His call.
To learn more about the Characters Bible study series, visit lifeway.com/characters.