Saturday, August 31, 2019

2019.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 17:15-27

Questions for Littles: Who gets a name change in Genesis 17:15? What does God promise to give to Abraham by her in Genesis 17:16? Of what does He promise to make her a mother? What is Abraham’s physical response in Genesis 17:17? What is his verbal response? What does Romans 4:19-21 tell us about his heart while he is doing this? What further request does Abraham make in Genesis 17:18? Whom does God insist upon making the son of promise, through whom the covenant will continue (Genesis 17:19)? What is Abraham to call the son of promise? How long will this covenant continue? Still, how does God respond in Genesis 17:20 to the request in verse 18? When will Sarah bear Isaac (Genesis 17:21)? What happens in Genesis 17:22? How does Abraham respond in Genesis 17:23? On what day? How old was Abraham (Genesis 17:24)? How old was Ishmael (Genesis 17:25)? What does Genesis 17:26 re-emphasize? Who else were circumcised on that day (Genesis 17:27)?
Sarai is the only woman in the Bible to get a name change. Her name is changed from “my princess” to “princess.” No longer will she belong to Abraham alone, but she becomes mother of all the faithful.

How amazing a promise is this? Abraham laughs at it—even though he believes it! We might think (because of what happens with Sarah in the next chapter) that this is an unbelieving response from Abraham, but Romans 4:19-21 gives us the date for this conversation, and tells us that he did not doubt but grew strong in faith. This is not the laughter of unbelief. It is the laughter of one who is overwhelmed at the greatness of what the Lord has just promised to him!

We see not only great laughter but great love. Abraham loves his 13 year old son. He is concerned about what this new son might mean for Ishmael. It seems, from the Lord’s response, that Abraham even wants Ishmael to be the one through whom the covenant will come. This is a wonderful fruit of Abraham’s faith in Jesus—that he would have such affection for a son whom we know (by God’s prophecy) to be such a pain.

And it’s not only Abraham who has covenant love for his son. The Lord does, too. There are reasons to believe that Ishmael was converted. Abraham asked for the Genesis 17:1 status for his teenager—that he would “walk before God.” And God says in Genesis 17:20 that he “has heard” Abraham. In addition to being saved, Ishmael would also be given a certain amount of earthly greatness. Even though he was not to be the one through whom the covenant advanced, the Lord responds to a believing father’s prayers that his son would “walk before Him.”

Ultimately, he is heard for the sake of Isaac’s descendant, our Lord Jesus Christ!
How often are you amazed to the point of laughter for what God has done for you?
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH234 “The God of Abraham Praise”

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