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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible


Set 1

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PDFThese lessons are also available as PDFs (with the number of lessons in brackets).

Abraham (5) — David (5) — Esther (4) — Gideon (5) — Isaac (6) — Jacob (7) — Job (6) — John the Baptist (6) — Jonah (4) — Jonathan (6) — Joseph (10) — Joseph of Nazareth (6) — Mary (4) — Mary Magdalene (4) — Mary of Bethany (3) — Moses (5) — Nehemiah (8) — Nicodemus (4) — Noah (6) — Paul the Apostle (5) — Peter (5) — Philip (4) — Ruth (7) — King Saul (6) — Stephen (6) — Thomas (4)

Download the complete set 1 as PDFs (2.46 MB).

The lessons of set 1 are also available as individual online lessons below.


Set 2

Available for NZ$25 + shipping. Enquire at the email address at the bottom of the page.

PDFThese lessons are available as PDFs (with the number of lessons in brackets). These PDFs have not yet been updated to the new name.

Andrew (7) — Caleb (7) — Daniel (7) — Elijah (6) — Elisha (5) — Isaiah (21) — John (22) — Joshua (16) — Leah (2) — Luke (22) — Mary Magdalene (3) — Matthew (9) — Miriam (4) — Nahum (2) — Rachel (6) — Rebekah (5) — Samson (5)

Download the complete set 2 as PDFs (1.85 MB).



Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Back to The Cloud of Witnesses menu

Lesson 2: Abraham – Faces Failure


Genesis 16.

Don’t try and force what God has promised

This must be the lowest point in Abram’s life. God had promised him that he would be the father of many children. In fact, so many that their number would be beyond calculation. Abram found that impossible because he was already old and without an heir on the horizon, except for his servant.

God was quite specific in reply, telling Abram that he would have a child, and he would be the natural and birth father. The trouble was that time passed and nothing showed – Sarai did not become pregnant – she just went further and further passed the natural age of child-bearing!

Abram had obviously told Sarai of the promise and she was becoming as, if not more, frustrated than Abram. She had the real and additional stigma of being barren. Her frustration climaxed with her suggestion that Abram should have sexual intercourse with her Egyptian slave girl, Hagar.

Just like Adam fell, so did Abram. He took Sarai’s advice, slept with Hagar and Ishmael was born. BUT that was NOT what God had planned! God had to visit with Abram again and become very specific that His child would come through Abram and Sarai!

So what of Hagar and Ishmael? Did God despise them? No. Were they part of God’s sovereign plan and promise for Abram – NO! God provided for them and we read that eventually Ishmael also had 12 sons! (Genesis 25)

However, the chapter records – And they lived in hostility towards all their brothers! And they still do!

A moment of passion is so potentially dangerous! Surrogate motherhood is destined to be fraught with anxiety!

And the results we see today are there just because a man and a woman thought they would help God do His job. They wanted to hurry up what God had promised, and just like forcing a flower to open early, they ended up spoiling God’s intentions.

If you have received a prophecy from God or God has promised something to you, let God sort it out, let Him bring it to pass. His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts. Let God be God!

Never forget, every day is one day nearer the completion and fulfilment of His Promises!

Abraham would say to us today...

Don’t do what I did, and live to regret it! You are still struggling today with the consequences of my mistake!


Father, thank You for recording for us the mistakes and failures of the great men and women of old. Help us realise that they were just like us and that if You could forgive them and work through them, You can do exactly the same for us. As Your prayer says - Please lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen.

Additional readings

Exodus 2:11-15; 2 Samuel 15:1-13; 1 Kings 1:1-10 & 17-53.


Why are we so impatient with God to fulfil His plans for us?

Why is it important not to get sucked into this instant society?

What are the character traits God wants to grow in you right now?

Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Back to The Cloud of Witnesses menu


Sold Out For Jesus and Ring of Truth – daily devotionals by John White
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