God’s Covenant with Abram

“With the passing of time Abram begins to be concerned that he and Sarai still have no children.  When God restates his earlier promise that Abram’s descendants would inherit the land, Abram asks God for a sign that his promise is true.  God graciously overlooks Abram’s insecurity and instructs Abram to prepare for a covenant after the manner in which agreements are commonly sealed during this time. 

Perhaps the most significant statement at this point in the record of Abram is the fact that, when God promises Abram children, Abram believes God.  As will soon be evident, Abram is still not so sure that children will come through himself and Sarai, but never again will he fail to trust that by God’s power he will somehow have offspring.”

Read Genesis 15

Birth of Ishmael Through Hagar

“Almost 10 years have passed since God renewed his promise that Abram would have children.  Although both Abram and Sarai continue to believe that it will happen, Sarai apparently begins to wonder if the promise specifically includes her as the mother of Abram’s offspring. 

With Hagar’s pregnancy, however, it soon becomes clear that the plan is fraught with problems.  (It is noteworthy that in centuries to follow there will be conflict in the Middle East between the Arabs, who descend from Ishmael and the Jews, who are descendants from Ishmael’s stepbrother, a son soon to be born.)”

Read Genesis 16

Names and Circumcision as Signs of Covenant

“The Genesis record is silent as to what events transpire over the next few years.  However, the door to history is once again opened some 13 years after Ishmael’s birth.  At this time God appears once again to Abram in order to restate his promises and to confirm his prior covenant with Abram.  A happy part of God’s appearance to Abraham is the surprise announcement that Sarah herself will bear the son of promise.

Two signs are given to mark the occasion.  The first involves the changing of Abram’s and Sarai’s names and a second sign; the rite of circumcision for all the males in Abraham’s household.”

Read Genesis 17

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible