Great Cloud of Witnesses – Esau. What can we learn from his life?

Read & Reflect: Genesis ch.25:19-34, ch.27, ch.33:1-17 and you might want to watch this children’s video!

Poor Esau: firstborn who forsakes his inheritance; outwitted and outraged at the injustice of his situation.

Respond: Esau makes some bad decisions but is also seriously a victim. He has a big grievance against his brother. But what an amazing reconciliation! (33:4) Who have we been hurt by? Can we be inspired by Esau’s story to do God’s work through being reconciled to those with whom we have fallen out?

Noah. What can we learn from his life?

Read & Reflect: Genesis 6-9. The story of Noah is so well known. Where can we go with it to find something fresh? Maybe we can focus on “faithfulness”? God is so true to Noah and Noah remains loyal to his God throughout. Maybe we can ask questions to get inside the story? Why did God cause the flood? What was Noah’s response? Should we judge Noah when he becomes drunk? Is the judgment laid upon Ham a harsh one?

Respond: “Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord”- is that true of us? Noah is obedient to the commands of God (6: 14- 7:5) – are there ways in which we need to be more true to what God requires from us?

Sarah. What can we learn from her life?

Read & Reflect: A second chance to read Genesis 12:10-20 and chapters 15-18:1-15 and 20-23 .

Sarai/Sarah’s story is entwined with Abram/Abraham. And whilst she is “done to” by her husband and by the society in which she lives, she is not entirely passive, as seen in her response to the divine promise of bearing a child (ch.18) and her reaction to Hagar (ch.21).

Respond: How do we respond to good news? How much do we believe that God can do in our lives and the world around us?

And finally, read Galatians 4:21-31. Are we “children of the promise”?

Abraham. What can we learn from his life?

Read & Reflect: Take time to read Genesis 12.
If you can, keep reading on until Genesis 25:11. We see that Abraham (aka Abram) trusted God as he headed off not knowing where God was taking him. But as we reflect on how he later denies Sarai is his wife (12:10-20) and look at the different way that Abraham lived compared with what we might take to be right today: we see he is very much human and flawed. Yet he is blessed, so very blessed by God. Respond: Are there untruthful areas of our life that we need to deal with? How much do we trust God, especially when we don’t know to where He is leading us?

Great Cloud of Witnesses

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes onJesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…“ Hebrews 12:1-2.
Each week there will be a suggestion of someone from “our great cloud of witnesses” to learn from and be inspired by. Some will be from the Old Testament, some from the New Testament and some will be followers of Jesus who have come
after the time of the Bible. This week, to start us off: read Hebrews 11 and 12 and reflect on how the writer is encouraging us to be challenged and inspired by people of faith who have gone before us.