Chapter 5: Abraham, Our Father UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) ANTICIPATORY SET Reading of Genesis 11: 27— 13: 20, the narrative of Abram’s call. God did not choose Abram because he was already what we would call a saint. A class discussion using the following question: What imperfect values did Abram exemplify?
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) BASIC QUESTIONS What was God’s call to Abram? What three promises did God make to Abraham, and how were they fulfilled? KEY IDEAS God called Abram to leave his family and home when he was seventy‑five years old, and Abram obeyed. God promised Abram land, kingship, and a worldwide blessing, promises that would be fulfilled later in Moses, David, and Christ.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) FOCUS QUESTIONS What are some features of Abram’s home town? Ur was a large, cosmopolitan port city with a towering ziggurat. Abram’s family was most likely involved in what type of work? They were probably caravan traders who were used to making long journeys over land, grazing their cattle along the way. Who was Lot? Lot was Abraham’s nephew. He was raised by Abraham’s father, Terah, as his own son.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) FOCUS QUESTIONS How old was Abram when his story began in the Book of Genesis? He was seventy‑five years old when he heard the call from God. What did God ask Abram to do? God told Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. ” According to the Catechism, no. 2570, how did Abraham express his prayer? Abraham was a man of silence whose prayer was expressed primarily by his obedience.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) GUIDED EXERCISE Read the Catechism, no. 2570 (p. 87). Then write a short essay responding to the following question: If God were to call me to leave my home and family and go to a different land, what would be my response? Share some responses.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) GRAPHIC ORGANIZER Complete the following table to organize the promises God made to Abram.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89)
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a think / pair / share using the following question: What are two explanations for the change of Abram’s name to Abraham?
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) CLOSURE Write a well‑organized paragraph about God’s three promises to Abraham and how they were fulfilled using the completed Graphic Organizer on page 88.
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1– 7 (p. 104) Workbook Questions 1– 9 Read “The Journeys of Abraham in Canaan” through “God’s Oath: Kingship and a Name” (pp. 90– 94)
1. The Call of Abraham (pp. 86– 89) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner for a few minutes to rehearse answers to be given orally to the two Basic Questions of the lesson: What was God’s call to Abraham? What three promises did God make to Abraham, and how were they fulfilled?
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) ANTICIPATORY SET Read the Catechism, no. 150 (p. 106). Then take part in a class discussion using the following question: How can this explanation of the virtue of faith be applied to Abram?
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) BASIC QUESTIONS How did Abram respond to God’s promises, and how did God respond to Abram’s faith? Why did Sarai urge Abram to have a child through her slave Hagar? What promise did God make to Sarai? What do the names Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac signify? What was the outward sign of God’s covenant with Abraham and his male descendants? KEY IDEAS Abram believed God’s promise, and God formed a covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. Sarai and Abram tried to fulfill God’s plan themselves by having a child through another woman. God promised kings from Abram and Sarai’s line. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah, and he named their child Isaac. God made circumcision an outward sign of the covenant.
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why would God’s promise to Abram to give him a multitude of descendants have been hard to believe? Sarai was barren and beyond childbearing age. What did the idea of many descendants mean in the time of Abram? Having many children was considered the greatest possible blessing. What was Abram’s complaint to God? Despite God’s promise, Abram had no heir. Left this way, one of his slaves would have inherited all his wealth.
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) FOCUS QUESTIONS What did God promise Abram with respect to his heir and the number of his descendants? God told Abram his own son would be his heir and his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. What was Abram’s response to God’s promise? Abram “believed the Lord, ” and the Lord reckoned it to Abram as righteousness. How did God make his promise to Abram? God promised in the context of the most solemn oath, sealed with animal sacrifice. Though Abram prepared the animals, God made the sacrifice himself by having the fire pot and flaming torch pass between the halves of the animals.
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) GUIDED EXERCISE Read silently Commentary on Genesis (p. 102), and then take part in a class discussion to apply it to the story of Abram thus far. GUIDED EXERCISE A class discussion about the virtue of faith using the following questions: What is faith? Have you ever felt like you were losing your faith? What do you think brought about this feeling of losing faith? Where might you seek help when you have doubts or questions about your faith?
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) FOCUS QUESTIONS What did Sarai suggest Abraham do to ensure an heir? She urged him to obtain an heir through her servant Hagar, whose child, according to custom, Sarai could claim as her own. What made God’s next reminder of his promise of an heir seem even more impossible? It came thirteen years later, when Abraham was ninety‑nine years old. What was the external sign of the covenant God made with Abraham? It was circumcision.
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) FOCUS QUESTIONS What does the new name God gives to Sarai mean? Sarah means princess or queen. Why did God choose the name Isaac for Abraham and Sarah’s child? Isaac means he laughs or she laughs. Abraham and Sarah laughed when God promised Isaac since it seemed impossible. Though the promise seemed impossible, how did Abraham nevertheless behave? Abraham obeyed God and was circumcised.
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) CLOSURE A class discussion using the following question: How did Sarah show herself to be a person of weak faith?
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 8– 12 (p. 104) Practical Exercise 2 (p. 105) Workbook Questions 10– 19 Read “Sodom and Gomorrah” through “The Binding of Isaac and God’s Third Oath” (pp. 95– 101)
2. God’s First Two Oaths (pp. 90– 94) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT In Genesis, God brought the creatures before Adam to name them. God often changed the name of a person when he gave him or her a new vocation. A member of the Western Catholic Church often takes a new name at Confirmation. Choose any five Old Testament persons and brainstorm a new name in English for each one based on his or her life and character. In one sentence, explain why each name was chosen.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) ANTICIPATORY SET Read the Catechism, nos. 2357– 2359 (pp. 95– 100), and then take part in a class discussion using the following questions: Why does the Church teach homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”? What should be a person’s attitude toward someone with homosexual inclinations? What is the vocation of a person with homosexual inclinations?
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) BASIC QUESTIONS What is the Church’s teaching about homosexual acts? What was the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? What was the consequence of Lot’s daughters’ incest? How did Abraham lose Ishmael? How did Abraham respond to God’s demand to sacrifice Isaac? What is the relationship between the sacrifice of Isaac and the Sacrifice of Christ? KEY IDEAS Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered; persons with such inclinations are called to live in chastity. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah to show he will ultimately deal with evil. Lot’s daughters’ incest resulted in disaster; their descendants became two of Israel’s enemies. Abraham lost Ishmael because of Sarah’s jealousy. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. The sacrifice of Isaac is a type of the Sacrifice of Christ.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why did God decide to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? God wanted Abraham to know how the Lord dealt with unrighteousness. How did Abraham bargain with God? Abraham tried to dissuade God from destroying Sodom, where Lot and his family lived. God agreed to spare the city if there were but ten righteous men living there. What did the people of Sodom demand of Lot? They demanded Lot turn over his two visitors so they could rape them.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS What did people consider the worst sin during Lot’s time? They considered inhospitality the worst sin. Why was Lot willing to offer his daughters to the rapists? Lot was desperate to keep the mob from harming his guests, for whom he was responsible, so he offered his daughters instead. What happened to Lot’s wife and sons-in-law? Lot’s sons‑in‑law refused to believe the angels’ warning and perished. Lot’s wife did not heed the angels’ warning; she looked back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was Lot’s daughters’ wicked scheme? They got their father drunk and tricked him into fathering children for them. What became of the children born from these incestuous relationships? They were the founders of the Moabites and the Ammonites, two of Israel’s worst enemies. What does the Catechism, no. 2388, say is wrong about incest? Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) GUIDED EXERCISE Read silently the Catechism, no. 2571 (p. 106). Then work with a partner to explain how Abraham’s faith formed his heart to care about the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS What sacrifice did God ask of Abraham? God asked Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Why was this a difficult task for Abraham? Abraham had waited for many years for God’s promise to be fulfilled in Isaac, and now it seemed God was taking Isaac away. Did Abraham’s lie to Isaac, “God will provide himself the lamb for the burnt offering, ” come true? Yes; the angel told him to offer the ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Extension: Isaac is a type of Christ, and God ultimately gave his own Son, the “Lamb of God, ” for the Sacrifice.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) GUIDED EXERCISE Do a think / pair / share on the paragraph “Sarah saw Ishmael. . . ” (p. 99). Prepare two examples to demonstrate the following statement: In the Book of Genesis, breaking the marriage covenant resulted in jealousy and pain. GUIDED EXERCISE Do a think / pair / share using the following question: What did Abraham possibly think God would do for Isaac?
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS How do we know Isaac was not a little child when he was to be sacrificed? Isaac carried the wood for the offering. Why did Isaac not fight his father? Isaac was willing to cooperate with God’s plan. According to the Fourth Book of Maccabees, how did ancient Jewish readers view Isaac’s cooperation in his own sacrifice? The text reads, “Isaac would have submitted to being slain” for the sake of religion.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) FOCUS QUESTIONS What is an ancillary lesson of the sacrifice of Isaac to the people of Israel? Though the peoples living around them practiced human sacrifice to their false gods, their one true God would never demand this. Were the promises God made to Abraham fulfilled immediately? No; they would not be fulfilled for many centuries. Through whom was the ultimate fulfillment of the promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham? This promise was ultimately fulfilled through Abraham’s descendant Jesus Christ.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) CLOSURE Using the chart on page 101, write a paragraph about the sacrifice of Isaac as a type of the Sacrifice of Christ.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 13– 19 (p. 104) Practical Exercises 1, 3 (p. 105) Workbook Questions 20– 29
3. Sodom and Gomorrah & God’s Third Oath (pp. 95– 101) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT The Church requires persons with homosexual inclinations “be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (CCC 2358). Free write for five minutes, responding to the following question: How can a Christian perform this duty and, at the same time, oppose efforts to grant marriage‑style recognition of their relationships (e. g. , same‑sex “marriage” or civil unions)?