We will begin this lesson in Genesis 17:1 “And when Abram was ninety
years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am]
the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
Quite a bit of time had lapsed from the birth of Ishmael to now.
Thirteen years had passed. Ishmael was a teenager now. This statement,
above, did not say that an angel appeared. It said the LORD appeared to
Abram. When this personality met Abram, He explained to Abram how He is,
Almighty God. This is a plural word meaning most majestic supreme God. This
all powerful God gave Abram a charge to live a holy life. We cannot be
perfect in our flesh, but God wants us to try to be perfect.
Genesis 17:2 “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will
multiply thee exceedingly.”
God, again, was renewing His covenant with Abram. This time it was a
blood covenant. He, again, promised to multiply Abram’s seed.
Genesis 17:3 “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him,
saying,” Genesis 17:4 “As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and
thou shalt be a father of many nations.”
The only place any person can be in the presence of God is on his face,
in total reverence to God. This voice of God is unmistakable. There is no
question who this is, when you hear this voice. You see, Abram did not
decide to make a covenant with God. God chose to make a covenant with Abram.
He promised one more time that Abram would be a father of many nations.
Genesis 17:5 “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy
name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”
His name was now being changed from Abram (high father) to Abraham
(father of a multitude). Notice that this statement, above, is past tense.
God had decided long ago to make Abraham father of many nations.
Genesis 17:6 “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make
nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.”
Here, God was just reassuring Abraham that he would have many
descendents, even though he was 99 years old here.
Genesis 17:7 “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and
thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be
a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:8 “And I will give
unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger,
all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their
This was an everlasting blood covenant that God, Himself, established.
He told Abraham that this covenant was not just with him, but this covenant
would extend to all of his ancestors for all of eternity. When Abraham lived
here in Canaan, this land was occupied by evil Canaanite men. The only
provision was that God be worshipped by Abraham and his descendents.
Genesis 17:9 “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant
therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.” Genesis
17:10 “This [is] my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and
thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.”
Genesis 17:11 “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it
shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” Genesis 17:12 “And he
that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in
your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any
stranger, which [is] not of thy seed.” Genesis 17:13 “He that is born in thy
house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and
my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.”
This seems like a strange request from God, but these were the physical
descendents of Abraham that were mentioned here. This separated the Hebrew
men from the men of the world. This sealed the blood covenant. Remember,
Abraham was 99 and his son Ishmael 13 when they were circumcised, so this
was no small sacrifice they made to seal the covenant.
Genesis 17:14 “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his
foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he
hath broken my covenant.”
In verse 14, we see covenant breakers would not receive blessings from
Genesis 17:15 “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou
shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [shall] her name [be].”
God changed “Sarai” which means dominated to “Sarah” which means
princess, or queen. God really did not regard Hagar as Abraham’s wife. The
wife that God recognized was Sarah. God’s promises would come through her.
Genesis 17:16 “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her:
yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother] of nations; kings of
people shall be of her.”
He told Abraham, again, you will have a son by Sarah, and I will bless
you through this wife. These descendents through the spirit would be a more
Genesis 17:17 “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said
in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old?
and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”
Abraham could not believe that it was possible for him and Sarah to
have a child, as old as they were. In the flesh, it is an impossibility, but
with God all things are possible. As I said before, the Hebrews thought it a
great blessing to have children, and if they didn’t, they felt God was angry
with them for some reason.
Genesis 17:18 “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live
Abraham still just could not believe that he and Sarah could have a
son, and he was saying to God, bless me through Ishmael. However, God had
Genesis 17:19 “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son
indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant
with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him.”
Genesis 17:20 “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed
him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve
princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” Genesis 17:21
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto
thee at this set time in the next year.”
Abraham, being a loving father, wanted God to bless his son, Ishmael.
God heard and blessed him, but it was a physical earthly blessing. The
things God promised Ishmael were not spiritual blessings. These two sons
represented the flesh and the spirit. “Isaac” means laughter.
Genesis 17:22 “And he left off talking with him, and God went up from
Abraham.” Genesis 17:23 “And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that
were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male
among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their
foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.” Genesis 17:24 “And
Abraham [was] ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the
flesh of his foreskin.” Genesis 17:25 “And Ishmael his son [was] thirteen
years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.” Genesis
17:26 “In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.”
Genesis 17:27 “And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought
with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.”
One thing we must take note of here, Abraham carried out his covenant
with God to the utmost. Slaves
owned by Abraham tell us that slavery did not
begin here in the U.S.
For the next lesson study chapter 18 of Genesis.