Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Abram and Sarai -
Names Changed

GENESIS 17

OBSERVATIONS:

When Abram was 99 years old He appeared to Abram again a told him: “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Was this a reminder? God urged Abram to be faithful and to walk without blame so that then (this is an IF-THEN statement) He can multiply his numbers and make His covenant with him.

Abram response was to worship God. God response to his response? He spelled out His unconditional covenant with him:

1.  Abram will be the Father of many nations (this includes people in our generation who believe in Christ)

2.  His name was changed from Abram to Abraham, which probably means Father of Many

3.  Abraham was promised many descendants and many of them will be kings, ruling kingdoms

4.  Good’s covenant with Abraham is eternal or everlasting. It will include all his descendants (And remembering again that those who believe in Christ are likewise “descendants of Abraham, whose faith was credited to him as righteousness.

5.  Canaan is given to his and his people as an “everlasting possession.”

6.  God will maintain his relationship with Abraham and his descendants.

God urged Abraham to keep the covenant and his descendants after him. The sign of this covenant is circumcision of every male among them starting with him. Even slaves who were either bought or born into their households were to be circumcised as well. All uncircumcised males will be “cut off” from his people, for they have broken the covenant by refusing to be circumcised.

7.  God also mentioned Sarai, his wife’s part in the covenant. Her name was also changed to Sarah. God promised Abraham that he and Sarah will have a son. Through this son, he and his wife will be father and mother of nations.

Abraham showed his normal humanity be LAUGHING at the idea of his wife carrying a child at her age (she was 90 then).  Abraham even dropped Ishmael’s name. Could He please consider fulfilling His promise to him through Ishmael?

However, God meant Abraham and Sarah to have a child of their own – their own flesh and blood together. Although God assured Abraham that He will take care of Ishmael. God will also bless him, make him fruitful and multiple, He will likewise be the father of, twelve rulers,” and he will be a great nation as well.

Having said all these about Ishmael, God asserted that His covenant is with Isaac – there God mentioned what his name will be, and when he will be born (the next year).

 After He says this, God “went up from him” – Abraham saw God ascend?!

Abraham went home and implemented God’s directive – he circumcised all the males in his household.  He himself was circumcised, at age 99.

INTERPRETATIONS

1.  God’s covenant with Abraham was an unconditional and everlasting covenant. Abraham’s role was to live according to be faithful and live a blameless life.  In the same way, Christian’s covenant with God through Christ is an unconditional and everlasting covenant. There is nothing Christians can do to UNDO or UNTANGLE themselves from God’s covenant.  God is faithful.

2.  Abraham’s covenant with God ensured that his descendants were going to be blessed and be under God’s care. God will fulfill His plan to them and through them. 

3.  Abraham was not afraid to bring up before God his own doubt and preference. God did not get angry but instead reassured him.

4. Abraham demonstrated once again his great quality: that of giving God his unquestioning obedience which demonstrated his faith.

5.  God who has the future in His hand knows exactly the minute details of people’s lives and what happen in history. Actually, He orchestrates everything, even when men believe that they are living as they please God is intervening or redeeming situations for His own purposes.

APPLICATIONS

1.  I must be encouraged to know to be reminded that God promised to take care of me – his direct descendant in the faith.

2.  There is nothing I can do to break away from God’s “covenant with believers through Christ.

3.  I have to also feel unafraid to express my own doubts. As a friend said, ,God’s love has room enough to embrace even my doubts and fears.

4.  I can let go and let God, because He is in-charge!!

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