Genesis 17:15-27

October 3, 2011 at 11:39 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

In our last study, we saw how God re-affirmed His covenant to Abram and his descendants. He went so far as to change Abram’s name to Abraham. He then called on Abraham to circumcise everyone in his house, including the servants,  as a sign of God’s covenant with him. Anyone who was not circumcised would be seen as cut off from God’s people for breaking His covenant.

The covenant didn’t just affect Abraham though. It also affected Sarai, his wife. Just as God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, He changed Sarai’s name (which means dominative) to Sarah (which denotes a female noble). Not only did He change Sarah’s name, He promised that she would indeed bear a son to Abraham, even though she was 90 years old. Through her own son, she would become the mother of nations and kings. In response to God’s promise, Abraham fell down on his face and laughed. He asks God if it is even possible for a son to be born to a man who is 100 years old. It is important to recognize that Abraham’s laughter wasn’t due to his doubt about God but that it was in relation to the fact that he was 99 years old and would 100 by the time his son came.

Abraham then says, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” It was his desire that the son that he had through Hagar would be his descendant. But, God said “No”. This is important because the religion of Islam claims that Ishmael was the son of promise. They claim that it was Ishmael who God used to carry on the truth. Because the Bible refutes this claim, Muslims claim that the Bible has been corrupted. Regardless of what Islam says, the Bible says that Isaac is the child of promise. He clearly says that He will establish His covenant with Isaac and not Ishmael. Even so, God promises to make Ishmael a great nation and the father of 12 princes. Then, He restates the fact that the covenant will be established through Isaac.

God leaves Abraham and, immediately, Abraham obeys God’s command to circumcise himself and all of his family and servants. Every single male in Abraham’s care was circumcised. We then are reminded of the ages of both Abraham and Ishmael; Abraham is 99 years old at this time and Ishmael is 13. This will be important in the future chapters.

With this week’s study done, let me ask…are you a part of God’s covenant? The covenant that exists now is not the same as the one(s) found in the Old Testament. The new covenant began when Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, sacrificed His own, perfect life as a substitution for those who would/will believe in Him. The Bible says that for the covenant to include you, you must repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ. Turn from the lying, lusting, coveting, gossip, and other sins – the things that you know are wrong – and then put your trust completely and totally in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross alone to save you; knowing that you can’t do any amount of good works to earn salvation.

Will you do that? Will you be honest enough with yourself and your life to recognize that you’re a sinner and need someone to save you? Please…take the time to look at your life and repent of your sins. Put your faith in Christ and know that you’re born again!

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