101-117-Genesis Part 2 Chapter 17
When Abram was ninety-nine years old and thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael God appeared to him. Some speculate that the expanse of time was because of Abram took Hagar as a wife for producing a son. The Lord appeared before Abram signifying a physical appearance and possibly was Jesus. He addresses Himself as God Almighty which Jesus said of Himself in Revelations 1:8. He told Abram to walk before Him, not that Abram had not been but as a continuance of His grace towards him. God knows the thoughts of men and knew that Abram had faith and was a righteous man. (Hebrews 8:12-13)
God renews His promise that He will multiply Abrams seed exceedingly. The promised seed was Jesus Christ and the Christians through Him. All who are in the faith of Jesus Christ are blessed by the faith of Abram. Abram was more than the father of the Israelite nation through Isaac, but also he was the father of many Arabian nations, and of the Turks in the line of Ishmael; and of the Midianites, and others, in the line of his sons by Keturah; as well as of the Edomites in the line of Esau; and in a spiritual sense the father of all that believe, in all the nations of the world, circumcised or uncircumcised, as the apostle explains in. (Romans 4:11 Romans 4:12 Romans 4:16-18)
Now was the time that God changed the name of Abram to his new name of Abraham. From a name meaning exalted father to a name which meant father of multitudes. The entire Christian world is blessed through the seed of Abraham.
God establishes a covenant with Abraham, a covenant which is referred as the covenant of the circumcision. It was a covenant of grace for everlasting and also to everlasting the consequence of it. The sign of the covenant was circumcision and it was not only to Abraham and Isaac and their posterity but to Ishmael and his as well. The whole house of Abraham was to be circumcised including servants and slaves. The covenant not only sealed the land promised to Abraham and his son Isaac but also the Kingdom of Heaven through Jesus Christ and His church.
Circumcision was the outward sign to all nations that they would know the children of God. It was a sign of cutting away the flesh and serving God in the spirit. The Holy Spirit today provides this sign that all may know the children of God by the Spirit that lives within them. The inward seal of the Spirit is unique to those whom God knows to be believers. We should not make light of Divine Institutions, as the penalty can be severe for disobedience. The covenant God made with Abraham brought great blessing for the world in all future generations. The Blessedness of Abraham and the rewards given to him for his obedience and faith were for the sake of Jesus Christ. Abraham was justified not by his righteousness but by his faith in the coming Messiah.
Sarai was also renamed to Sarah. Sarah means “princess”. Jarchi observes her name was changed to princess because she became the mother of all princes as well the mother of all princess and daughters than came from her. (1Peter 3:6) God said from Sarah a son would be born in the next season. Abraham laughed in joy, not distrust; it was Abraham’s joy to see the day of Christ coming. (John8:56)
God said that his son should be named Isaac and that He would establish the covenant with him also.
Abraham fearing that Ishmael should be forsaken by God pleaded for him. God blessed Ishmael with common blessings and secured his future. God said Ishmael would be the father of a great nation and the he shall also become the father of twelve princes. (Geneses 25:13-15) Outward good things are often given to the children of Godly parents but with Isaac God would establish His covenant.