Sunday, December 26, 2021

God Renews His Covenant with Abraham

God renews His covenant with Abraham.
God renews His covenant with Abraham - Image Credit:  JaymzArt - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay.

God Renews His Covenant with Abraham

We learned in our last Genesis post that Sarai and Abram took matters into their own hands instead of trusting God's timing regarding His giving them a child.  When Sarai and Abram followed through with Sarai's plan, problems ensued.  As we enter Genesis 17, God renews His covenant with Abram.  He then changes Abram's name to Abraham.  Keep in mind that the name Abram means "exalted father" while the name Abraham means "father of a multitude."  Circumcision was instituted here as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham.  Circumcision was a sign that the person belonged to God's chosen people on earth.

The Believers Bible Commentary has this to say about the topic of circumcision as it relates to God's covenant with Abraham:

"The Apostle Paul is careful to point out that Abraham was justified (15:6before he was circumcised. His circumcision was “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:11). Believers today are not sealed with a physical mark; they receive the Holy Spirit as a seal at the time of their conversion (Eph. 4:30)."

The Believer's Bible Commentary goes on to explain the deeper meanings of the word "circumcision." 

"But then the words 'circumcision' and 'circumcised' took on a variety of meanings. 'Uncircumcised lips' (Ex. 6:12) signified a lack of skill in public speaking. 'Uncircumcised ears' and 'uncircumcised hearts' spoke of failure to hear, love, and obey the Lord (Lev. 26:41; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 6:10; Acts 7:51). 'Uncircumcised in flesh' (Ezek. 44:7) meant unclean.

In the NT, 'the circumcision of Christ' (Col. 2:11) refers to His death on the cross. Believers are circumcised through their identification with Christ; Paul speaks of it as 'the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh' (Col. 2:11). This circumcision speaks of death to the fleshly nature. It is true positionally of every believer, but should be followed by a practical mortifying of the sinful deeds of the flesh (Col. 3:5). The apostle speaks of believers as the true circumcision (Phil. 3:3), in contrast to a party of Jewish legalists known as 'the circumcision' (Gal. 2:12)."

God not only changed Abram's name to Abraham (father of a multitude), but He also changes Sarai's name to Sarah which means "princess."

God then says to Abraham:

Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, you shall not call her by the 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.”

After hearing God's promise, Abraham makes a plea for Ishmael.

"Oh that Ishmael might live before You!"

God explains to Abraham that Ishmael will be fruitful and multiply.  Ishmael will become a great nation, but God's covenant will be fulfilled through Isaac.

Something to note here again is the faithfulness of Abraham.  Abraham obeyed God immediately (Genesis 17:23-27).   

I found the following visual illustration of Genesis Chapter 17 on Pinterest. 

 Please visit and follow the author of the print here.

Genesis 17 Poster Image

For a more in-depth look at Genesis, Chapter 17, read this article by Troy Lacey at Answers in Genesis here.

Teach the Kids

Here are a few suggestions for teaching your kids about God's covenant with Abraham and Sarah.

Genesis:  Abraham and Sarah by Bible Fun for Kids and More

Bible Character Graphics (Abraham and Sarah) by Jesus Without Language

Lesson:  A Father of Many Nations by Children's Bible Lessons

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God renews His covenant with Abraham.
God renews His covenant with Abraham.