Abraham – The Father of Many Nations

Posted by admin on 1 September 2013 in Genesis |

Genesis 17

    1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

“I am God Almighty.” Amen.

We learnt Almighty God in the creation written in Genesis 1. Many miracles performed by Jesus showed Almighty God.

Jesus taught Almighy God in Mark 9:23.

 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Jesus said God is almighty in His prayer in Mark 14:36.

36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

God expects us to believe Almighty God (1)!

“Walk before me faithfully and be blameless.” (1b)

If our God is Almighty, He can keep His promise that looks impossible. He is trust-worthy.

Let us think about why God brought this “Faith in Almighty God” & “Being faithful & blameless” agenda at this stage. It was nearly 25 years since Abram was called by God. During these 25 years, Abram’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Even though Abram had faith, he made a mistake to have a child through a Sarai’s maid (Genesis 16). And he was about to see the comparison between promised child and physical child – blessing vs. trouble. Abram might learn that while his very best endeavour would end up only trouble, trusting & waiting for God would bring true blessing. He might learn “Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)!”

It took 25 years for Abram to learn this lesson. Abram’s faith was going to become “Pure Trust in God with No Compromise”.

   3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

God’s (everlasting) covenant with Abraham (and his descendants)

  1. Abraham will be the father of many nations (4).
    God named Abram to Abraham, which means “the father of many nations.” (5) God promised that He will make Abraham very fruitful, He will make nations of him and kings will come from him (6).
  2. God will be Abraham’s God and the God of his descendants.
  3. God will give the whole land of Canaan as an everlasting possession to Abraham and his descendants.
  4. Every male shall be circumcised (10).
    For the generations to come every male who is eight days old must be circumcised (12).

Circumcision is a minor operation that removes the foreskin from the male organ. It involves pain during & after the operation. Circumcised organ maintains its cleanness due to no deposit in foreskin. This indicates that people of God maintain purity in sex, emotion, morality, body and spirit. This difference separates believers from unbelievers.

2 Corinthians 6:14 says 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.

Especially, this word is applied to ‘marriage’.

Jesus does not allow divorce as shown in Matthew 5:32.

32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Unable to have a child in marriage does not make the marriage invalid. Child is not to come through sexual immorality but to come in God’s time and in God’s way. The male organ of reproduction should be set apart for the Lord’s purpose rather than sexual immorality.

Circumcision signifies above principles. Following these principles may involve painful decision & waiting period.

People argued whether believers of Jesus should be physically circumcised or not (See Galatians). Paul explains in Romans 4:9 - 10 that circumcision is not requirement of ‘justification’ because Abraham also was justified by faith alone (Genesis 15:6) even before he was circumcised. Paul teaches “circumcision of the heart” in Romans 2:25 – 29.

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

God renamed Sarai to Sarah, which means the mother of nations (15). God will bless her that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her (16).

Abraham’s wife Sarah is the mother of nations. We see God honours Abraham’s marriage. Biblically, marriage should be honoured by all (Hebrews 13:4). Marriage is protected by the Lord (Matthew 5:32).

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Trust God and wait for God. In God’s time, the problem will be solved in God’s way and we may laugh.

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

God said “Yes”, which means that Ishmael would live under God’s blessing (19a, 20). But Sarah will bear Abraham a son… The son is to be called ‘Isaac’, which means ‘laugh’. God will establish His everlasting covenant with not Ishmael but Isaac (19b, 21).

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

Circumcision took place for everyone at the same day when God told Abraham to do so (23). His obedience was prompt and complete. It involved pain & risk.

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