Highlights In Today's Reading:
What dynamic chapters of Scripture! Birth of Ishmael. Abram's name changed to Abraham. Circumcision seals Covenant (17:9-14,23-27). God promises Abraham a son at the age of 99: Sarah thy wife shall have a son (18:10). Who laughed? Why (18:1-15)? A crisis conversation with the Creator. Abraham takes his heavy heart straight to God (18:16-33).
Verses for Today:
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. And I will make My Covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly (Gen. 17:1-2).When Abram was 99 years old, he was greatly perplexed. For 24 long years (12:4,7; 17:1), he had waited for the birth of the son God had promised to multiply thee (him) exceedingly. Since he was very old and he still did not have "the promised son," he probably wondered: "How can the Lord fill the earth with those who are to call me Father Abraham?" But nothing is impossible with our All-Wise, Almighty, and Loving Heavenly Father. The key to faith lies in accepting His Word with the unconditional confidence that He can, and will, bring to pass His promises in His time. God assured Abraham: 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 (17:19).
Faith is often tested by delays and difficulties. When we fully recognize God as the Almighty God (17:1) who is able and faithful to keep every promise in His Word, we will trust Him to sustain us through all our difficulties to provide protection for us in every danger, to comfort us in all our troubles, to answer our prayers, and to supply our every need. How often in life our questions far outnumber our answers: "Why have I been diagnosed with cancer? Why did my husband divorce me? Why did my child become a drug addict? Why was my child born with handicaps? Why did I lose my job? Why me?" God didn't answer the questions Abraham may have had, and seldom does He answer our questions in the way we expect.
There are three (or more) reasons why Christians suffer:  That we may share in the sufferings of Christ (I Pet. 3:14);  to make our lives more fruitful (John 15:2);  to cleanse us from worldy ways that we may be partakers of His holiness (Heb. 3:10).
Thought for Today:
Despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (Prov. 3:11-12).
As the Seed of Isaac, Jesus. . . . Which was the son of Jacob, which was the Son of Isaac (Gen. 17:19; Luke 3:23-34; Heb. 11:18).
16:6 hardly =harshly; 16:7 fountain =spring; 16:14 Beerlahairoi =well of the Living One who sees me; 16:16 fourscore =4 x 20 =80; 17:1 be thou perfect =live to please the Lord; 17:10 be circumcised = physical sign of accepting the Covenant of God; 17:20 beget =be father of; 18:7 dress =prepare; 18:12 am waxed =have become; 18:20 very grievous =severe; 18:24 Peradventure =if by chance; 18:33 left communing =finished speaking.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Staff: Al Joslyn • Government Official: Rep. Frank Lucas (OK) • Country: Slovakia (5 million) central Europe • Major languages: Slovak and Hungarian • Religious freedom • 60% Roman Catholic; 8% Protestant; 4% Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Express your gratitude for the loving-kindness of God (Jer. 32:17-18).
Optional Reading: Matthew 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 23:3