God Reaffirms the Covenant with Abraham
Genesis 17
 

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 

2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 

4"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 

5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 

6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 

7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 

8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." 

9 And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 

10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;

11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 

12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 

13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 

14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." 

15 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 

16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." 

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 

18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 

19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 

20And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 

21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 

22Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. 

23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 

24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 

25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 

26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 

27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

From the birth of Ishmael, thirteen years have now passed. Abram and Sarai have still not received the promised heir.
Abram is now ninety nine years old and Sarai is ninety.


God appears again to Abram and reveals Himself as “El Shaddai” God Almighty.
Verse 1 "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

God reveals who He is, “God” and His character “Almighty”. 
Other meanings of this name “El Shaddai” are “The all sufficient one”, “The One who pours out all blessings”.
God here is revealing to Abram what He expects of him. I want you to be blameless (Hebrew, tâmı̂ym) entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: - without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.

It seems that what God is saying here, is, you don’t have to look to yourself, to anyone else, only to Me, “El Shaddai”, the Almighty, the all sufficient and the One who pours out all blessings.
It is time for me to fulfil what I promised to you. I have not forgotten My promise.

 

2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 
 

This is not a different covenant but a reassurance of the original one, given 25 years earlier.
For Abram, things were going to change. This son that was to be born was going to be the line from which the Messiah would come. This is what Abraham believed and why it was counted to him as righteousness.


3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 
 

At this statement Abram fell on his face. This is a normal thing that seems to happen to those who God appears to. We see this in many other scriptures.
Num 20:6  And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. 

Revelation 7:11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

Leviticus 9:24 Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

1 Kings 18:39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."

Ezekiel 1:28 As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.

Matthew 2:11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

 

4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 

Now we see the change in the name of Abram.

5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 

6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 

7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 
 

15 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 

16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." 
 

God proved this in the change of Abram’s name. God changed Abram’s "high father" name to “Abraham,” "father of a multitude" and Sarai “Princess” to Sarah “mother of nations”;

Why did God put an “Hey” in Abram and Sarai’s names?

“Hey”, the silent Hebrew letter, representing the breath of God.

​God breathed into Adam and he was changed from an inanimate piece of clay into a living soul.

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


Jesus breathed on the disciples and they were brought from death to life.
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

“Hey” is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of five.
The “Hey” was added to Abram on the fifth visitation to Abram.
The “hey” was placed as the fifth letter of Abraham’s name and the fifth letter of Sarah.

 It is interesting to note that when the “hey” is added to the end of a word it illustrates the feminine ideal of gentleness, loving affection and devotion. In this, she too bears the mark of God’s grace, because before her name change, Sarai bore the masculine form of this word and she was unable to bear children as a male cannot bear children, but the adding of the “hey” feminized her name therefore opening her womb and Isaac was born. 

In Hebrew, “Hey” represents God’s grace.
By grace God promised Abram would be the father of many nations.
By faith Abram believed it.


Gen 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

Interesting how God’s grace and our faith go together to bring about righteousness.
Eph 2:8 By grace are you saved through faith.
 

By adding “Hey” to Abram and Sara’s name, shows that God’s covenant with Abraham is a covenant of grace.
John 1:16 “From His fullness we have all received GRACE upon GRACE”

An Everlasting Covenant.

 

7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 

8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." 

9 And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 


Notice the constant use of the word “My” covenant, not our covenant.

There are differing interpretations concerning this everlasting covenant. It is a study in its own right and I am not going to go into the different interpretations in this blog, however if you are interested in the different opinions on this subject, there is a blog on my blogsite.

Blog 27:
https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/teleiosbibleblogs/answertosupercessionism


Also Blog 127: https://jeffreyunsworth.wixsite.com/teleiosbibleblogs/127-god-s-covenant-with-abraham


The outward sign of this covenant with Abraham and his descendents was circumcision.

10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;

11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 

12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 

13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 

14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." 
 

This is the first time that God gave Abraham something to do concerning this covenant. To show that they had received the covenant by faith, there was to be a sign and that sign was circumcision.

A fact concerning circumcision:
'The ideal time to circumcise a child is the eighth day. Any earlier than that is not appropriate because vitamin K, or Prothrombin, as doctors call it is fully developed by the eighth day, so that is the ideal time to circumcise a child to stop him bleeding to death. How did Moses (the one who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament), know that? Trial and error? Probably not. He didn't slaughter hundreds of kids in order to find that out. This was revelation from the Lord!'

An article shared by famous surgeon and New York Times bestseller, Dr Joseph Mercola also states:

‘Day 8 is said to be the only time in a baby's life when his Prothrombin level will naturally exceed 100 percent of normal.’

This is yet another amazing sign that God is involved, providentially in the lives of His people.

God gave circumcision as an outward sign of submission to His covenant. It was a sign that one had become part of the covenant by faith.
The ordinance of circumcision was an outward physical sign of one's willingness to obey God and be one of His chosen people.
This sign of the Old covenant is a forerunner of the New covenant circumcision of the heart.
It was a forerunner or type of what God really wanted—circumcision of the heart.


Deu 10:16  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 

Deu 30:6  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 

Jer 4:4  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart,


Paul told the congregation in Rome that physical circumcision is of no spiritual benefit.

Rom 2:25  For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 

Rom 2:26  Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 

Rom 2:27  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 
 

Spiritual circumcision, though, is a process of conversion. That Christ circumcises us spiritually is made plain in 
Col 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 
 

This is why the assembled apostles and elders of the New Testament church declared circumcision to be one of the physical requirements of the Old Covenant that is not necessary for Christians.
 

Act 15:24  Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be
circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 

Act 15:25  It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 

Act 15:26  Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Act 15:27  We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 

Act 15:28  For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 
 

Today it is for entirely non-religious reasons that one may decide to be circumcised or have his son circumcised. There is some evidence that circumcision promotes cleanliness and health, depending on the male's overall cleanliness, morality, and health.

The promise yet again is assured by God.

There are two ways to look at these next two verses.
Was Abraham doubting again? Was he questioning God’s ability to do this?
Was it that he had the faith to believe God but could not understand how God was going to accomplish it?
At this point, did Abraham think that the promised descendants were going to be through Ishmael?


Verse 18 could suggest that Abraham was asking, if it was possible that Ishmael could be the heir?
 

16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." 

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 

Notice, Abraham did not say this openly to God. “and said in his heart”.

Most commentaries suggest that this was not doubt on Abraham’s part but joy or amazement at the prospect of a son being born to a man of one hundred and a barren woman of ninety.

However, if this was the case, why would he ask the next question?
 

18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 
Ishmael was a thirteen year old boy, born first to Abraham. After 25 years from the initial promise, only Ishmael had been born.

There are differing opinions on these verses.

Ellicott Commentary says:
Mingled then with Abraham’s joy there was also the pain, natural to a father, of knowing that this transference of the promise to Sarah’s child meant the deposition and disappointment of one who for so long had held the post of honour. Stoicism would have repressed this upright and natural feeling, but God hears and accepts the father’s prayers; and while the birthright and religious pre-eminence is justly given to the son of the freewoman, there is a large earthly blessing for the handmaid’s son. End of Quote.

However, John Macarthur says:
A proper reaction of adoration over God’s promises was marred by the incredulity of Abraham. End of Quote.
( Incredulity meaning) (the state of being unwilling or unable to believe something.)


John Macarthur also says on verse 18:
Abrahams plea for a living son to be the designated beneficiary of God’s promises, betrays just how impossible it was for him and Sarah to have children. End of Quote.

Another quote taken from
www.family-times.net.

Up to this point, Abraham had assumed that his descendants would come through Ishmael. When God told him that his wife Sarah would bear him a son, Abraham laughed. Abraham laughed because to him it seemed impossible for a barren 90-year old woman to give birth to a son.

Abraham’s lack of faith is evident by his request that God’s promises be fulfilled through Ishmael. Abraham’s desire that Ishmael would be the heir: “O that Ishmael might live before Thee!” (vv. 17- 18). God makes it clear that it is Isaac and not Ishmael that will be the son of promise (v. 19).

God assures Abraham that Ishmael will not be forgotten, but that he will have many descendants and become a mighty nation (v. 20). End of quote.
 

It may also have been, that Abraham was not lacking in faith but lacking in understanding of how this act could be brought about.

Whatever was going on here, God continues to show His graciousness again to Abraham.
The fact that God says “No”, suggests that Abraham was asking if Ishmael could be the heir.
God was again emphasising that the heir would come from Sarah’s own flesh.

 

19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 

The name Isaac means “laughter”. It is interesting that later, in Genesis 18, Sarah also laughs when the angel tells her that she will bear a son.

Gen 18:12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 

God shows His graciousness yet again. In answer to Abraham’s question.

It is as though God was saying “I have heard the prayer of a loving father and though the youngest (Isaac) will be the rightful heir, I will bless Ishmael also.
 

20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 

21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 

It was Isaac that was the son of the promise, this was what God had said in the first place and although Abraham and Sarah jumped the gun. The plans and purposes of God stands unchanged.

We now see Abraham being obedient to God’s command, he took Ishmael and all the males from his house, including himself and each one was circumcised.
Abraham was showing by his actions that he truly believed in God’s promise.

What we believe should also show in our actions. Our Christian life begins with God’s grace towards us and follows with our putting our faith in Jesus. Just like Abraham, our faith, belief in Jesus Christ is what brings our justification and where our righteousness comes from. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
We follow this by being obedient to the words of Christ. We go through the waters of baptism, showing our commitment to dying to self and rising to newness of life.
Then we try to do what Christ wants of us.


Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 
Col 3:2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 
Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

 

There is nothing that we can do to bring about our salvation, it is all of God.
It is God’s covenant with us, “My” covenant, an unconditional covenant, which requires only faith. It is a covenant of Grace, received by Faith alone, apart from works.


Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

 

23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 

24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 

25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 

26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 

27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.


Abraham and Sarah have come a long way from chapter 12. There have been many ups and downs, many mistakes but God has remained faithful and gracious through it all.
Now here they are on the last leg of this promise. In twelve months time, Isaac will be born, in fulfilment of the promise of God.

For Page Word Search. Click Ctrl + F
 
 Return to Blog List                                                                            Copyright 
©  Teleios Bible Blogs 2017                                                
 Comment on this  Blog             
 
(Please name the Blog)     
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now