BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
Scripture: Genesis 12:1–4, Hebrews 6:13–17
Memory verse: Genesis 12:3
"All peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
Today's study is about an agreement between God and Abraham. This agreement is referred to by Bible scholars as the "Abrahamic Covenant."
Ask: Is there a difference between an agreement and a covenant?" What do you think? (Allow responses.)
The dictionary defines “agreement” as "An arrangement accepted by all parties." For example, a group of students at school may make an agreement to meet at a certain location to play football.
“Covenant” is defined as "A formal agreement." An example would be a wedding ceremony where the bride and groom make vows to one another in the presence of a pastor, a church and before God. The husband and wife enter into a binding covenant relationship.
Ask: What are other examples of an agreement and of a covenant?" (Allow responses.)
Hearing God's Word
Abram's father had died and now the leadership of the family was his responsibility. Abram needed a sense of direction concerning the future. The Lord spoke to him and laid out a plan for him. He was to leave his country, his people (tribe) and his father's family to a new area, a land that God promised to show him.
Ask: Has your family ever moved to a new village or to the city? What adjustments did you have to make? (Allow responses.)
Blessed to be a Blessing
This was a new journey for Abram. He had never travelled to this area before and he would face new challenges. So, God gave him a word of encouragement, a promise that he would be successful in the new location.
God's promise to Abram was very personal. Five times God used the personal pronoun "I" and seven times "you/your." This was a direct agreement between God and Abram.
God would pour out His blessing on Abram by:
- Making him a great nation—to become the father of the nation of Israel,
- Making his name great—become famous and very well known,
- Blessing those who bless him--his friends would enjoy God's favour too.
Blessing is Jesus Christ
God's blessing was to be shared: "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3). (Ask the class to say the memory verse.) Abram was to be a channel through which all people groups (tribes) everywhere in the world would receive a blessing.
Ask: What was the blessing to be received by all people groups, all tribes? (Allow responses.)
God gave Abram a new name in Genesis 17:5, "No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations." (We will use his new name, "Abraham," through the rest of the study.)
The blessing that was to come through Abraham's seed to the Jews and all Gentile tribes was "Jesus Christ, the Saviour." The apostle Paul makes this clear in Galatians 3:14–16: "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.... Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is Christ."
The agreement between God and Abraham is a binding agreement, a covenant, because of the oath God made at that time. An oath is defined as, "A solemn appeal to a deity (god) to witness one's determination to speak the truth or keep a promise."
The writer of Hebrews clearly explains this fact in Hebrews 6:13–17. (Ask a student to read this passage of Scripture.) Notice the key statements in this text, "He swore by himself.... People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said...he confirmed it with an oath."
Basis for the Great Commission
The Abrahamic Covenant is a major theme, a truth woven into the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. It is the basis for the Great Commission, a fountain of truth from which Jesus draws when He gives the command to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Jesus does not introduce a new concept to His disciples at the time of His departure. Rather, He reaffirms God's faithfulness to the Abrahamic Covenant by articulating it in contemporary language—language of the New Covenant that He established.
The apostle Paul builds his missionary ministry on this same truth revealed to him by the Holy Spirit in Colossians 1:26–27, "…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Accepting God's Word
Abraham understood that he was blessed by God in order that he could bless others. The blessing was to extend to every tribe on earth. The blessing to be shared was Jesus Christ and the salvation He purchased for every individual within all people groups.
Jesus understood this and freely gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, then commanded His disciples to go everywhere preaching the good news. (Read Matthew 28:19.)
The apostle Paul understood this and that it was important for him to obey the command of Jesus to go into all the world and preach the gospel. (Read Romans 1:14–16.)
Do you understand that 4,000 years ago God revealed His plan to bless His people and for them to be a blessing to all peoples/tribes in the world? If so, what is your responsibility to God and the command of Jesus?
Present the information about the Hararghe Oromo tribe given below
Meet the Hararghe Oromo
Born-Again Believers: 5,000 (estimate)
The Hararghe Oromo tribe is distinguished by its language, one of ten Oromo Oromiffa dialects. They live in the Hararghe Zone about 200 kilometres east of Addis Ababa.
The Hararghe Oromo are underdeveloped and most of the people are poor. Farming, the primary source of income and food, consists of raising maize and sorghum, barley, teff and wheat, and vegetable crops, such as onions and potatoes. Peanuts are grown in the lowlands. Later rains are also responsible for the growth and development of perennial crops, such as coffee and khat.
Only 55 percent of all eligible children are enrolled in primary school, and just 8 percent are enrolled in secondary schools. Concerning health, 92 percent of the zone is exposed to malaria. There are frequent droughts in the region.
The family is headed by an authoritarian father who has the right to expect total obedience. One basic value of the Hararghe Oromo is tokuma, which is identification with the group. Cooperation is central to this system, especially in work arrangements.
Some have moved to towns, attracted by employment opportunities and modern schooling. Others have entered national security forces, the industrial labour force, or fields of trade, transportation and education.
During the 19th century, the Hararghe Oromo converted to Islam through the influence of the Harar city-state. The majority primarily practices Sunni Islam. Approximately 11 percent of the population professes Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity while traditional animistic religion is still practiced by a minority of the population.
There are a number of churches established among the Hararghe Oromo with various tribal groups attending. These churches estimate that 5,000 Hararghe Oromo have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour, most of them coming from the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Currently the Bible is not available to the Hararghe Oromo in their own language. However, training materials in Oromiffa are being developed for Hararghe Oromo leaders.
I visited one church established in a small Hararghe Oromo town with an attendance exceeding 200. The pastor explained that about 100 of the church members were from the Hararghe Oromo tribe, but only three of the converts were from a Muslim background.
The challenge confronting Hararghe Oromo believers is to present an adequate witness of the gospel to those in the Muslim community. They will need to be intentional in making friends at school and on the job in order to build relational bridges. This will provide an opportunity for unbelievers to observe a true Christian and find answers to their questions.
Acts 2:32 "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it."
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Hararghe Oromo Tribe
1. Hararghe believers in Christ Jesus to recognize the need to intentionally make friends with Hararghe Muslims.
2. Youth who know Jesus as their Saviour to find creative ways to share their faith with Muslim youth.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of Hararghe Oromo Muslims to receive a witness of the gospel.
"For I am the Lord your God...Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13).
MORE INFORMATION: www.linkupafrica.com
Remember: BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
Memory verse: Genesis 12:3
"All peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
1. A covenant is a formal agreement.
2. "All peoples" refers to all tribes.
3. Abraham's blessing to all peoples is Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:14-16).
Pray for the Hararghe Oromo Tribe.
Study 1 | All Peoples/The Prophets | africaatts.org/go-teach