The story of God testing Abraham, as found in Genesis 22, is one of the Bible stories learned at the most recent Lumi Oral Bible Storytelling course. This powerful story always brings about thought provoking discussions. Some of those discussions come as people begin to realize the picture of the ram being offered in place of Isaac is symbolic of Christ being offered instead of us, as payment for our sins. Another aspect of those talks is when people are challenged to see what type of impact the story will have for them personally. Following a time of singing and sharing the actual story, the presenter usually asks two or three questions to help the audience think more deeply about the story. Sometimes the questions are fairly straight forward like, “What parts of this story made you happy or sad and why?” Other questions go much deeper. “How did this story help or challenge you? What change is God asking you to make in your life based on this story?”
These were some of the thoughts shared during the morning devotions:
- “I can’t give God excuses when He asks me to do something.”
- “I must submit to God as Abraham did.”
- “I can’t be greedy with the things God gives me. I need to share them with others. When I am greedy, God will not continue to give things to me.”
- “I did not know that God was calling me to come here. Before, in my village, I would get drunk and go around and make trouble, but then God called me to come to this course and I came.”
- “When God called Abraham, he followed what God asked him to do. I, too, must go back to my village and do the good work that I have learned about here.”
A part of learning each story includes a memory activity. For the story of God testing Abraham, the trainers chose to have the participants act out a drama so they could remember the sequence of events. Drama is a big part of Papua New Guinea culture so the participants try to put themselves fully into the characters. The bleating of the ram caught in the thicket and Abraham poised to offer Isaac are both pretty convincing. We wondered if the rams might get hurt as they chose to be caught in a low hanging rope. They will remember those parts for sure!
The participants come from thirty different villages. Pray that the stories learned will have an impact in each of these places.