Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 19- Keturah, Hagar, Sarah, Rebekah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

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Read Genesis 25

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Questions to Consider

1. Who are the three women named in verses 1-18? What was the relationship of each to Abraham? To the Abrahamic Covenant? Based on your answers to these questions, why don’t we hear anything else about the sons of Keturah and Hagar after Genesis 25? Why does the Bible follow the story of Abraham’s lineage through Sarah (Isaac) instead?

2. Why, in terms of inheritance and the Abrahamic Covenant, would Abraham have sent the sons of Keturah and Hagar away from Isaac? (6)

3. Briefly describe Sarah’s, Keturah’s, and Hagar’s “callings” in life.ย Did Hagar and Keturah have less intrinsic value as people in God’s eyes than Sarah did simply because their roles in Old Testament history were different from hers? Does the fact that God calls different people to different roles in life mean that He values or loves people with “important” roles more? Who places or allows people to be in the roles or life circumstances they’re in? Does God view our status in life the same way people do?

4. Do you see some similarities between Sarah and Rebekah in this chapter?

๐Ÿผย What is the first similarity we see in verse 21 (compare with 11:29-30)?

๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผ Compare Isaac’s age when he married Rebekah (20) to his age when Jacob and Esau were born (26). How long did Isaac and Rebekah wait for God to open her womb? How long did Abraham and Sarah wait (compare 12:1-4ย with 21:5)?

๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผย After opening their wombs, how many sons of the Covenant did Sarah have? How sons of the Covenant did Rebekah (24) have?

๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿผย How did Rebekah (23) and Sarah (17:19) find out about these Covenant sons?

5. Consider Rebekah’s possible concerns and emotional state at being barren for so long, and then bearing only two sons, when God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be “as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore”. How might God have used these circumstances in her life to teach her to trust Him? (22-23)

6. How do the motifs of barrenness, miraculous conception, and the one, promised, long-awaited son of the Covenant foreshadow the birth of Christ?

7. How does the story of Esau despising his birthright and Jacob redeeming it further confirm what God told Rebekah in verse 23 – that Jacob would be the son of the Abrahamic Covenant?


Homework

Think about the roles and statuses God has placed you in. Are you famous? Unknown? Do you wield a lot of power and influence, or very little? Are you wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between?

Read the Parable of the Talents. “Talents” were units of money the master entrusted to his servants to invest. What kinds of blessings, influence, resources, and abilities has God entrusted to you? Your marriage? Your singleness? Your home? The position you serve in at church? Money? Your children? Your job? Your relationships with friends?

What matters to God – how many of these things He has blessed you with, or how you steward them for His glory (see verses 21 &23)? List three ways you can faithfully make the most of the roles and statuses God has called you to for His glory.


Suggested Memory Verse

And the Lord said to her, โ€œTwo nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.โ€
Genesis 25:23

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 18- Rebekah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

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Read Genesis 24

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Questions to Consider

1. Review lesson 17 (link above) and briefly set the scene for chapter 24. Who are the main characters? What events have recently transpired? Approximately how old is Isaac in chapter 24? (v.67)

2. Why didn’t Abraham want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman? (3) Why did Abraham tell the servant notย (6,8) to take Isaac back to his native land? (7) Think in terms of the Abrahamic Covenant and Abraham’s concept of possessing the land. What might the future ramifications of possessing the Promised Land (Canaan) have been if Isaac had intermarried with a Canaanite and had descendants who were partially Canaanite? What might have happened if Isaac had gone back to Abraham’s native land and stayed there- would Abraham’s lineage still have had a physical presence (possession) in the Promised Land after he died?

3. What impact would all of the issues in #2 have had on Rebekah when she married into this family?

4. What can we learn about marriage and betrothal customs of the time from this chapter? What else can we learn about Mesopotamian culture, such as hospitality, gender roles, authority and submission, etc.?

5. How do Abraham, Isaac, the servant, Rebekah’s family, and Rebekah each demonstrate their trust in God in this chapter? How does God demonstrate His trustworthiness in each of their situations?

6. Examine Rebekah’s words and actions in this chapter and write a brief character sketch of her. What are some ways she sets a good (or bad?) example for you as a Christian woman today?

7. How does this chapter showcase God’s sovereignty over our personal lives as well as over history?


Homework

Examine the decision-making process, and list the steps the servant took, to determine whether or not Rebekah was the right choice. (12-14) Does this serve as an instruction to Christians today on how to make godly decisions? Are we to pray for a sign or for wisdom to make godly decisions? Are we to expect God to verbally tell us what to do, or depend on His fully sufficient written Word for guidance? Do you have an upcoming decision to make? My articleย Basic Training: 8 Steps to Finding Godโ€™s Will for Your Lifeย may be helpful.


Suggested Memory Verse

And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
โ€œOur sister, may you become
thousands of ten thousands,
and may your offspring possess
the gate of those who hate him!โ€
Genesis 24:60

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 17- Sarah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

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Read Genesis 21:22-23:20

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Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 15 (link above) as you read 21:22-34. What happened the last time Abraham and Sarah had an encounter with Abimelech? Why did Abimelech and Phicol think God was with Abraham? (22) How had they dealt kindly (23) with Abraham and Sarah?

2. Read 22:1-19. Why, according to verse 1, did God ask Abraham to offer Isaac? How is Abraham’s sacrifice of his one and only son a type and shadow of God’s sacrifice of His one and only son? Which elements and details of this story point ahead to elements and details of the crucifixion? (Hint: check out the cross-references) See also Hebrews 11:17-19

3. How many times is Sarah mentioned in 22:1-19? Why do you think that’s the case? Do you think Sarah knew what Abraham was going to do before he did it? List a few different ways Sarah might have reacted if Abraham had told her what he was about to do. How might she have reacted upon finding out what had happened after it was all over?

4. Examine 22:20-23. Considering that familial lines, inheritance, etc., were reckoned through male offspring, why does verse 23 specifically point out that Bethuel fathered Rebekah? (Hint: check your cross-references)

5. Read chapter 23. Keeping in mind our previous lessons about Sarah, what memories of her might have come to Abraham’s mind as he was mourning her death? (1-2) What might Abraham have learned from Sarah’s life about faith, sin, and godliness?

6. How old was Isaac when Sarah died? (See Genesis 17:17 and 23:1)

7. What can we learn about Abraham’s character from his encounter with the Hittites in chapter 23?


Homework

Pretend you’re attending Sarah’s funeral. Write her eulogy. What did we learn from her life? How did her life point us ahead to Christ?


Suggested Memory Verse

Abraham said,ย โ€œGod will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.โ€ So they went both of them together.
Genesis 22:8

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 16- Sarah and Hagar

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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Read Genesis 21:1-21

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Questions to Consider

1. In lesson 13, we gave some thought to the idea that God made the formalized Abrahamic Covenant only with Abraham, not with Abrahamย and Sarah. But notice God’s attention to Sarah in verse 1. Analyze the two halves of verse 1. Who is the subject? The object? What action is performed? Compare verse 1 to Hebrews 11:11. What can we learn about Sarah’s faith and God’s faithfulness from these verses?

2. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born? (5) How old was Sarah? Imagine yourself becoming a first time mom at Sarah’s age. What might you be thinking? What are some of the things you might pray about? What are some new issues you might need to trust God about?

3. What does the name “Isaac” mean? (3- see footnote) There has been much laughter surrounding Sarah’s pregnancy and Isaac’s birth. Examine verse 6 along with these verses. How would you characterize Abraham’s and Sarah’s laughter? Scornful? Unbelieving? Shock and awe? Thinking about how absurd the situation would seem to others? (Hint: Think about how we often see God treat scorn and disbelief of His word in Scripture alongside the fact that Abraham and Sarah are both commended several times in the New Testament.) Who chose Isaac’s name? What kinds of things would Sarah have been reminded of every time she called Isaac’s name?

4. Look atย Genesis 16:16ย alongside 21:5, and factor in the fact that children were usually weaned (21:8) at 2-4 years of age in that time. Approximately how old would Ishmael have been in 21:9?

5. Read the footnote on verse 9, and examine this verse in a few other trustworthy translations. What set Sarah off? (10) Does this sort of behavior from Ishmael seem to fit with what God had spoken about him? Compare verses 10-13 with 17:18-21. Before Isaac was ever conceived, what had God already told Abraham and Sarah about which son would be “heir” of the Abrahamic Covenant? So what sort of heirship might Sarah have been concerned about Ishmael sharing with Isaac?

6. Compare Hagar’s second “exile” from Sarah’s household in verses 14-21 to her first in 16:6-15. What are some similarities? What are some differences? Which attributes of God are showcased in both of these stories? How is God “the God who sees me” (16:13) and “God hears” (16:11) in the second “exile” as well as the first? Compare Hagar’s trust in God in these two passages to the lack of trust in God Sarah has exhibited in recent passages.

7. Briefly review Sarah’s actions in Genesis 16ย (lessons 11-12) with the consequences in both chapter 16 and chapter 21. How did Sarah’s sin of taking matters into her own hands instead of trusting God impact Abraham, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, and herself?


Homework

Consider the impact Sarah’s sin of failing to trust God had on all the members of her household. Consider the example Hagar still sets for us today because she trusted God. Think about a situation you’re going through in your own life. How could your failure to trust God hurt those around you? How could your trust in God set a godly example that might even open a door to sharing the gospel with someone?


Suggested Memory Verse

The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.
Genesis 21:1

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 15- Sarah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

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Read Genesis 20

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Questions to Consider

1. Second verse, same as the first. Compare Genesis 12:10-20ย with today’s passage. List the similarities and differences between the two incidents. Why would Abraham do thisย again? Why was Sarah complicit?

2.ย What did Abraham tell Abimelech about Sarah? (2) Why? (11) Was it true that Sarah was his sister? (12) What can we learn from this story about honesty, deception, and half truths? How did Abrahamโ€™s deception put Sarah in danger? In what way did Abraham put his own needs ahead of Sarahโ€™s well-being? How might Abrahamโ€™s actions have damaged his relationship with his wife?

3. In what ways did Abraham’s actions demonstrate a lack of trust in God? Think back over the promises God has made to Abraham. As of Genesis 20, have any of these promises been fulfilled? Yet what is Abraham fearful of in verse 11? If God is powerful enough to open the womb of a barren woman and make a couple of senior citizens parents, is He not powerful enough to keep them safe and alive until that promise is fulfilled?

4.ย In what ways did Sarah have to trust God and trust her husband in this passage? Was Abraham acting in a trustworthy way? Why or why not?

5. The New Testament tells us we are ambassadors for Christ. In a similar way, Sarah and Abraham represented the one true God to Abimelech and his people. Did Sarah and Abraham represent God well? Why or why not? What did their words and actions tell Abimelech about God’s trustworthiness and His power to protect His people? How did God step in and defend His reputation to Abimelech? (3-7,17-18) What did God reveal to Abimelech – and to Sarah and Abraham – about Himself by His words and actions?

6. Examine 1 Peter 3:1-7. What do verses 5-6 tell us about Sarah’s character that might help explain why she twice went along with deceiving a king about her relationship with Abraham? Does God require Christian women to submit to our husbands if they ask us to sin? Is our highest loyalty to God or to our husbands? Is our highest obedience to God or to our husbands? Compare Abraham’s actions to verse 7. How does he measure up?

7. What word(s) would you use to describe the way Abimelech treated Sarah in verse 16? Would you use that same word(s) to characterize the way Abraham treated Sarah in Genesis 20? Why or why not?

8. What consequence had God placed on Abimelech’s household as a result of his taking Sarah? (17-18) Why do you think God chose this particular sign instead of something like boils or famine?

9. In lesson 12, we saw Hagar say of the Lord, “You are a God who sees me,” and that her son would be named Ishmael, meaning, “God hears.” At the conclusion of chapter 20, what are some ways Sarah might have finished the sentence, “You are a God who…”?


Homework

Have you ever been through a difficult or scary situation like Sarah went through that required a lot of trust in God? Now that He has brought you through it, as you look back, what are some ways you might finish the sentence, “You are a God who…”?


Suggested Memory Verse

Then God said to him in the dream, โ€œYes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
Genesis 20:6