Read Genesis 16 -- 18
In Today's Reading:
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. Although God had promised Abram a son at 85 years of age, he still had no son. At that time, Sarai said to Abram . . . the LORD has restrained me from bearing (giving birth to a son) . . go in to my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by (build a family through) her (Genesis 16:2). At the age of 86, Abram, by Hagar, did receive a son, Ishmael.
Thirteen years passed after the birth of Ishmael (16:16; 17:1). Then God again spoke to Abram: I am the Almighty God. . . . your name shall be Abraham. . . . I will establish My Covenant (Agreement) between Me and you and your seed (descendants). . . . My Covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you . . . this set time . . . next year (17:1-21).
Abraham was now 99 years old and Sarah was 89. 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 would teach us how our faith can be strengthened when He said: I know him . . . he will command his children and his household (family) 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 has spoken of him (18:19).
One of the great tests of our faith is 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 desires 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 (blameless), meaning devoted to God (Genesis 17:1). We too have a responsibility in our covenant relationship with God. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
16:6 dealt hardly = treated harshly; 17:1 perfect = blameless; 18:7 dress it = prepare it; 18:12 waxed = grown; 18:28 peradventure = suppose.
As the Seed of Isaac (Genesis 17:19). Christ was a descendant of Isaac. Jesus . . . which (who) was the son of Jacob, which (who) was the son of Isaac (Luke 3:23-34; Heb. 11:18).
Government Officials: Rep. Frank Lucas (OK) and Gov. Bob Wise (WV) · Country: Japan (126 million) off the eastern coast of Asia · Major language: Japanese · Religious freedom · 57% Buddhist; 27% Shintoist and other Eastern religions; 3% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray not to be envious of others (Psalm 37:1).
Optional Reading: Matthew 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:3