“February 14–20. Genesis 18–23: ‘Is Any Thing Too Hard for the Lord?’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“February 14–20. Genesis 18–23,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
Abraham’s life, filled with events both heartbreaking and heartwarming, is evidence of a truth Abraham learned in a vision—that we are on earth to be proven, “to see if [we] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command” (Abraham 3:25). Would Abraham himself prove faithful? Would he continue to have faith in God’s promise of a large posterity, even when he and Sarah were still childless in their old age? And once Isaac was born, would Abraham’s faith endure the unthinkable—a command to sacrifice the very son through whom God had promised to fulfill that covenant? Abraham did prove faithful. Abraham trusted God, and God trusted Abraham. In Genesis 18–23, we find stories from the lives of Abraham and others that can prompt us to think about our own ability to believe God’s promises, to flee wickedness and never look back, and to trust God regardless of the sacrifice.
The Lord has made glorious promises to the faithful, but sometimes the circumstances of our lives can cause us to wonder how those promises can possibly be fulfilled. Abraham and Sarah may have felt that way at times. What do you learn from their experiences? It may be helpful to begin your study by reviewing what the Lord had promised Abraham in Genesis 17:4, 15–22. How did Abraham and Sarah react? (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 17:23 [in Genesis 17:17, footnote b]; Genesis 18:9–12). How did the Lord respond to help them have greater faith in His promises? (see Genesis 18:14).
What do you find in these verses that builds your faith? What other experiences—in your life or someone else’s—have strengthened your faith that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you in His own time and way?
See also Doctrine and Covenants 88:68.
What lessons do you learn about fleeing wickedness as you read about Lot and his family? For example, what impresses you about what the angels said and did to help Lot and his family escape destruction? (see Genesis 19:12–17). How does the Lord help you and your family flee or find protection from evil influences in the world?
See also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 19:9–15 (in the Bible appendix).
Fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught:
“Apparently, what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back. It would appear that even before she was past the city limits, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her. … She did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. …
“To all [people] of every generation, I call out, ‘Remember Lot’s wife’ [Luke 17:32]. Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the ‘high priest of good things to come’ (Hebrews 9:11)” (“The Best Is Yet to Be,” Ensign, Jan. 2010, 24, 27).
We don’t know all the reasons God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice; we do know it was a test of his faith in God (see Genesis 22:12–19). As you read Genesis 22:1–19, what do you learn from Abraham’s experience?
Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son was “a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5). As you ponder the similarities between Abraham’s test and God the Father’s offering of His Son as a sacrifice for us, what do you feel for your Heavenly Father?
There are also similarities between Isaac and the Savior. Consider reading Genesis 22:1–19 again, looking for these similarities.
See also “Akedah (The Binding)” (video), ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Genesis 18:14.Are there stories from the scriptures, from your family history, or from your own life you could share that have taught you that nothing is too hard for the Lord?
Genesis 19:15–17.These verses can help your family members prepare for times when they need to flee from wicked situations. What might some of these situations be? For example, you might have a discussion about inappropriate media or the temptation to gossip. How can we flee from such situations?
Genesis 21:9–20.What impresses your family about the way God treated Hagar and Ishmael after Sarah and Abraham cast them out?
Genesis 22:1–14.How can you help your family see the connection between the story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and the Savior’s atoning sacrifice? You could show pictures of Abraham and Isaac and of the Crucifixion (see “Abraham and Isaac” in Old Testament Stories) while family members discuss similarities they see between these events. You could also sing a hymn or song about the Savior’s sacrifice, such as “He Sent His Son” (Children’s Songbook, 34–35), and look for phrases that describe the Savior’s sacrifice.
What have we been asked to sacrifice as a family? How have these sacrifices brought us closer to God?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son,” Hymns, no. 187.
Listen to the Spirit. As you study, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, even if they seem unrelated to what you are reading. Those impressions may be the very things God wants you to know.
Illustration of Abraham and Isaac, by Jeff Ward