Highlights:

God promises Abram, at the age of 99, that Sarah shall have a son (17:16,19; 18:10). God's Covenant with Abram embraced circumcision. God changes Abram to Abraham, meaning father of a multitude (17:1-3).

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her (Gen. 16:2).

Abram and Sarai didn't trust that God was really going to give them the promised son. They thought they had better take things into their own hands. So they jumped ahead of God by getting Abram together with Hager, Sarai's servant. They learned that they should have waited.

We see in these chapters that God's timing may not be our timing and that God's plan is far better than our own. Be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (II Peter 3:8). When Sarai took life into her own hands by giving her handmaid, Hager, to Abram in order to bear them children, strife came from it. Strife continues to this day with the bloodline of the child Ishmael. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren (Gen. 16:12).

Taking matters into our own hands instead of waiting on the Lord is never a wise decision. Abram thought that God would establish His Covenant through Ishmael since he and Sarai were so old, but that was not God's plan. At times a situation may look like it is part of God's plan, but we must pray and wait for God's assurance that it is. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

As with Noah, God chose Abram, a righteous man, with whom to establish His Covenant. For I know him, that 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 (Gen. 18:19).

God loves us and wants us to raise our children to keep the way of the Lord. We need to do this in order that generations to come may be blessed instead of filled with wickedness as in the days of Cain and Noah. It is important that what God teaches us through His word and our lives should be taught to our children as well as to those who look up to us. Being a parent or a teacher is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. If we do not teach the ones God entrusts to us, someone else will. Jesus held children in high regard and so should we. Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 19:14).

Thought for Today:

God always supplies strength and grace to overcome trials (see I Pet. 1:7).

Christ Revealed:

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).

Word Studies:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for 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: Psalms 100:1-2