January 6, 2006
Read Genesis 16 -- 18
Ishmael; Abram's name changed; covenant of circumcision; Sarai's name changed; Isaac promised to Abraham and Sarah; Abraham's prayer for
Abram and Sarai were childless. God had promised Abram a son (Genesis 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 (Genesis 16:2). At the age of 86, Abram fathered a son, Ishmael, by Hagar.
Thirteen years passed after the birth of Ishmael (16:16; 17:1). Then 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 humanly 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 God's promises 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 (Romans 4:21-22).
God had said to Abraham: Walk before Me, and be . . . perfect (remain faithful) (Genesis 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 (Matthew 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 Corinthians 4:2).
As the Seed of Isaac (Genesis 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 The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Evelyn Baber · Staff: Rita Guerra · Government Officials: Rep. Frank Lucas (OK) and Gov. Bob Wise (WV) · Country: Cote d'Ivoire (16 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and over 60 native dialects · Religious freedom · 40% animist; 25% Muslim; 10% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your decisions will always be to please the Lord (Psalm 73:24).
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:12