Dancing in the Kingdom – Table of Contents

Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 5 – Patriarchs

Walk of faith

[Bible references: Genesis 12:1-20; 15:1-6; 16:1-5; 17:1-14; 20:1-13; 22:1-18; 24:7; 28:16: 50:24; Romans 4:9; Hebrews 11:17]

Sometime after the scattering of nations, from the line of Shem and Noah, God called a man named Abram to leave his country in the Euphrates River Valley and go to a land “I will show you.” As Abram left his home country, at the age of seventy-five, God promised not only to bless Abram and his descendants but to bless the entire world though Abram. Despite his occasional failures, Abram (later named Abraham) is noted for his faith because he believed God and showed this by being obedient in following God’s instructions even when they didn’t make sense.

When God called Abram to journey to another land, we don’t know what earlier experience Abram or his family or any other citizens of Ur or Haran may have had with God. Was there any experience at all? If not, then with what confidence did Abram have that he was following God when he took that journey to the Promised Land?[1] Then after Abram arrived in the Promised Land, what further questions may Abram have had when he experienced a deep drought in that same land, such that he needed to take a brief trip to Egypt?

After Yahweh told Abram, that he would make a great nation from him, Abram initially expressed his faith by his obedience when he took that journey to the Promised land. Again, when Yahweh showed him the stars and told him that his descendants would be as numerous as those stars, Abram believed, and Yahweh credited that to him as righteousness. Then Yahweh reiterated the promise again when Abram was 99 years old and changed Abram’s name (which meant exalted Father) to Abraham (Father of many nations).

God told Abraham that a great nation would come out of him and Sarah. Yet, this did not look promising when the only son born to Abraham and Sarah was Isaac who was not even born until Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety. No wonder that Isaac was given a name that means “laughter.”


[Bible references: Gen 18:1-8; Hebrew 13:1-2]

One day, while Abraham was sitting in the entrance to his tent, he saw three visitors approaching and offered them water to wash their feet and then went to much effort to offer them something to eat and drink. As we read this description of Abraham’s greeting his visitors, it may sound extravagant to us, but would have been normal for the culture of the time. The normal custom was to regard visitors as those who have been sent by God.[2]

Pleading to God

[Bible references: Gen 18:16-33]

We don’t know the moment that Abraham recognized that one of the visitors was Yahweh, but it apparently happened by the time the visitors talked about Sodom and Gomorrah, which they were going to destroy. Concerned about his nephew Lot, who was living down there, Abraham made a plea to save the city if there were righteous people living in the city. At first, Abraham asked what if there were fifty righteous people living there, would they still destroy everyone there. When Yahweh said no, then Abraham asked, what about if there were 45 or 30 or 20 righteous people there.[3] Each time, Yahweh said that he would not wipe out everybody if there were only that many righteous people there. As it turned out, both Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed after Lot and his daughters were given the chance to escape.

Faith and obedience

[Bible references: Gen 22:1-19]

In one of the most controversial events, God called Abraham to take Isaac and go to a mountain, build an altar, and then offer Isaac as a sacrificial offering. Abraham must have severely tested, but Abraham did as he was told and went through the whole process to the point where he was about slay Isaac when God provided a substitute, a ram. Isaac would indeed be the next link in the genealogical chain connecting Abraham ultimately to the birth of the Messiah 2000 years later.

Slow and steady

[Bible references: Genesis 17:5; 21:4-5; 26:34; 2 Peter 3:8]

The man who Yahweh would say would be the “father of many nations” had only one son born very late in his life and that son, Isaac, would have only twins. Even then, Esau and Jacob were born late in Isaac’s life, so the “father of many nations” would die only seeing two grandchildren.

[1] Although the term “promised land” is not used directly as the place of where Abram and his descendants were called to settle down in, there are several references to the “land that is promised you.”

[2] Wight, Fred H. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Kindle Locations 863). 1953. Kindle Edition.

[3] De Young, Kevin. “Passionately Pleading with God is a Good Thing”


Making long-term commitments is always an act of faith, because we never know what all the circumstances will be in the future. What long-term commitments have you made and held to even when you encountered circumstances you never planned on?


Read Genesis 12:1-20. This renowned Patriarch of faith, Abram, believed Yahweh, and left his homeland to some destination that Yahweh would show to him. When Abram arrived at the place Yahweh led him to, he built an altar and set up his tent. Good start at a life of faith. Sometime afterwards, Abraham winds up in Egypt where he is now afraid for his life and asks his beautiful wife Sarah to say that she’s his sister instead of his wife, so that they people won’t kill him to get her. This does lead to complications we won’t discuss here but just to point out that we, never mind Abram, are subject to a wavering faith. Do you have incidents in your life where your faith wavered?


What kind of hospitality have you received that made you feel special?


Read Genesis 18:1-8; Hebrews 13:1-2. In the nomadic culture, hospitality was readily shown to any visitors as they were regarded as visitors from God. What keeps us from exhibiting the same attitude?


What passionate concerns do you want to bring to God?


Read Genesis 18:16-33; 1 Samuel 7:1-9; 2 Chronicles 30:1-20; Nehemiah 1:1-2:10; Philippians 1:3-10. How are we encouraged to plead to God?


The Hebrew word, “shema,” means not just “listen” but “listen and obey.” How often do we listen intently to a friend or loved one such that we are ready to provide for any need implied within the conversation?


Read Genesis 22:1-19; 1 Corinthians 10:13. Theologians have wrestled with this passage in Genesis as we cannot fathom how God could command a human sacrifice, even if He knew how He would intervene before it would happen. How confident are you that God will provide for you in the midst of difficult decisions?


God answers prayers on his timeline, not ours. He will fulfill his purpose for us – also on his timeline. Does that make you frustrated or assured?


Read Genesis 17:5; 21:4-5; 25:19-26; 2 Peter 3:8. God renamed Abram to “Father of many nations.” Abraham. Abraham had one “child of the promise,” Isaac whose only children were twin born when Abraham was 160 years old.  How do you make sense of that in light of 2 Peter 3:8?

Sins consequences

Dancing in the Kingdom – Table of Contents

Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 4 – Deforming the intended direction for creation

[Bible references: Genesis 3; 6:5; Romans 8:19-22; Ephesians 2:10]

And so, it happened. The one thing that could create the ultimate catastrophe did happen. The good Creator, who only intended good things, allowed his image-bearers to give into their temptation, to put their own authority above His and violate the one restriction placed before them. This violation by the stewards of His creation broke everything: the relationship between themselves, the relation between them and Him, the relation between them and creation. All of creation was affected and is even now waiting for things to be made right again.

Everything in creation had been designed to be good, to reflect the good character of the good God. Creation was designed to be a place where God and his image-bearers could keep on creating good things and bring increasing glory to God. But now, although the ultimate structure of creation was still good, it was headed in the wrong direction. The broken universe would now cause things to move away from God’s glory.

“Anything in creation can be directed either toward or away from God – that is, directed either in obedience or disobedience to his law. This double direction applies not only to individual human beings but also to such cultural phenomena such as technology, art, and scholarship, to such societal institutions as labor unions, schools, and corporations. and to such human functions as emotionality, sexuality, and rationality. To the degree that these realities fail to live up to God’s creational design for them, they are misdirected, abnormal, distorted. To the degree that they still conform to God’s design, they are in the grip of a countervailing force that curbs or counteracts the distortion. Direction therefore involves two tendencies moving either for or against God.” [1]

The brokenness started with the decision that would be repeated again and again. Even in a time like now, where we can get things so quickly and easily compared to times in the past, we want what we want, and we want it now. And the desire to get what we want now overwhelms our capacity to think of others, as we put ourselves at the center of our part of the universe, replacing God with ourselves. In the case of the first humans, they wanted to grab knowledge and wisdom for themselves instead of waiting to receive it from God.

The failure to resist the temptation to grab what we want instead of waiting to receive what we want from God would only be successfully resisted by Jesus. So, after the rebellion occurred, the earth would remain separated from the Kingdom of God until Jesus began His restoration of the Kingdom. So, until that time the place of human habitation would be separate from the place where God’s good rule and reign is absolute. And it will not be until heaven and earth will be fully reunited, that we will fully experience the overflowing shalom that God has intended for us. Until that time, the broken earth will be separated from heaven and allowed to sink into disorder and chaos. Until that time, the overflowing goodness and shalom that God had provided will be masked by the brokenness of not just Creation but also by the brokenness of the co-creators. Look at what we have done!

We were meant to be in communion with each other and with God. We were meant to be “gardening” with God to make our place, a place of thriving and abundance in concord with the type of thriving and abundance with which God originally made the universe. God intended for us to be connected to Him and filled with His Spirit so that we would be fully enabled and prepared to be co-creators with Him of good works. But our rebellion has separated us from the one who is the source of goodness. In that sense, since the time of Adam, we are less human than we should be.

[1] Wolters, Albert M. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (Locations 685-689)


In what ways do we replace God’s authority with something else?


Read Gen 3:14-15, 20-21; Psalm 4:1, 8. The world around us is filled with problems. What signs of hope do we have?