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Monday, August 19, 2019

2019.08.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 17:1-8

Questions for Littles: How old was Abram in Genesis 17:1? How much time has passed since chapter 16? Who appears to Abram? What does He call Himself? What does He command Abram to do? What will Yahweh make between Himself and Abram (Genesis 17:2)? What will He do in that covenant? How does Abram respond in Genesis 17:3? How does God respond to that? What does God proceed to say about Himself in Genesis 17:4? What outcome will this have for Abram? What else is God changing for Abram in Genesis 17:5? What are some of the details in Genesis 17:6 about what God will do for Abram? With whom is this covenant established (Genesis 17:7)? How is this covenant relationship described? What else does God give them in this covenant (Genesis 17:8)?
What do believers who have been stumbling along in their own strength need? This is the question we see presented in Abram, who has been dealing with the consequences of the Hagar choice for thirteen years, as this passage opens.

Such believers need the power of God Almighty at work in them. We might think that “I am God Almighty” is the prelude to destroying a sinner, since that is what Abram is. But it is instead the prelude to sustaining a saint, since that is also what Abram is: “I am God Almighty, [so] walk before Me and be blameless”!

Such believers need the presence of God Almighty pressed into them. The knowledge that we are before His face is a help against all fear of men, and even against service of self.

Such believers need the purity of God’s standard applied to them. Be blameless. Not the run-of-the-mill blamelessness in the eyes of men, either. Blameless in the eyes of God! Only one who has been shown God’s grace in Christ can have this as a standard, because only Christ’s sacrifice and righteousness can be the sure fulfillment of such a standard on our behalf, and only Christ’s life in us can be a sure hope that we will one day be conformed to such a standard.

Such believers need the promise of God’s covenant. We who are so deserving of wrath need God’s glorious swearing of Himself to us as an encouragement to our faith (cf. Hebrews 6:13-20). It was not for His sake that God entered into such a commitment, but for ours.

Such believers need the propriety of God in us. One way that God reaffirms that He has special ownership of Abram is by changing his name. “You are Mine, so you will be called what I call you.” And so He calls us saint, brother, believer, sons of God, etc. in the Scripture.

Such believers need the prosperous fruits of God’s commitments held out unto us. What sad consequences we endure daily from our fall in Adam. But God’s salvation in Christ is even more effective. Genesis 17:6 and Genesis 17:8 present the opposite of Abraham’s current experience. And as God tells us throughout Scripture of the effects of His gospel, we expect this opposite-fruit to continue.

Such believers need to be reminded of the persistence of God’s covenant. Persistent across generations: just as the fall comes upon our children simply because they are ours, all of these covenant benefits are held out to them by God, also simply because they are ours. And persistent across time. This is still the same covenant that we are in when we believe in Jesus. It is an everlasting covenant that belongs to all who have the same faith in Christ as Abraham (cf. Romans 4:11-18, Galatians 3:7, and Galatians 3:29).
When you slide into stumbling along in your own strength, how will you remind yourself of these things?
Suggested Songs: ARP87 “The Lord’s Foundation” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

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