Read Genesis 16
Ishmael; Abram's name changed; covenant of circumcision; Sarai's name changed; Isaac promised to Abraham and Sarah; Abraham's prayer for Sodom.
Abram and Sarai were childless. God had promised Abram a son (Gen. 15:2-4), but 10 years had passed and now he was 85 years old. At that time, Sarai said unto Abram . . . the LORD hath restrained me from bearing . . . go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children (have a family) by her (16:2). At the age of 86, Abram fathered a son, Ishmael, by Hagar.
Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael (16:16; 17:1), God again spoke to Abram: I am the Almighty God. . . . thy name shall be Abraham. . . . I will establish My Covenant (Agreement) between Me and thee and thy seed (descendants). . . . My Covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time . . . next year (17:1-21).
Abraham was now 99 years old and Sarah was 90. At her age, it was physically impossible for Sarah to have a child. But God revealed to Abraham: I am the Almighty God, meaning the One who is All-Sufficient. Through Abraham God reveals why God could answer Abraham's prayers. He said: I know him . . . he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him (18:19).
One of the great tests of our faith is patiently waiting upon the Lord. It may take two weeks, two years, or, as in Abraham's situation, 25 years for our prayers to be answered or for the promises of God to be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write concerning Abraham's faith that he was fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. . . . Therefore it was imputed (credited, transferred) to him for righteousness (Rom. 4:21-22).
God had said to Abraham: Walk before Me, and be . . . perfect (remain faithful) (Gen. 17:1). We too have a responsibility in our covenant relationship with God. Jesus said: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). According to my dictionary perfect means, among other things, “carry through,” “develop.” In biblical language it means: It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2).
Thought for Today:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:7).
As the Seed of Isaac (Gen. 17:19). Christ was a descendant of Isaac. Jesus . . . Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac (Luke 3:23-34; Heb. 11:18).
16:6 dealt hardly, treated harshly; 17:1 perfect, blameless, being faithful, having integrity; 18:7 dress it, prepare it; 18:12 waxed, grown; 18:28 Peradventure, Suppose.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Walter Swanson • Government Official: Rep. Frank D. Lucas (OK) • Country: Malta (388,000) about 60 miles south of Sicily • Major languages: Maltese and English • Religious freedom • 97% Christian; 1.7% non-Religious/other; 1% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for the Lord to give you the right words to share Christ with others (Matt. 10:18-20).
Optional Reading: Matthew 6
Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:14