Scripture Reading: Genesis 17:5,15-27
In today’s Scripture reading, Abram and Sarai had their names changed by God to Abraham and Sarah. According to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, “In Eastern countries, a change of name is an advertisement of some new circumstance in the history, rank, or religion of the individual who bears it.” God changed their names as an indicator of the change He had brought in their lives, and of the blessings that He had and would give them.
Once again God affirmed His promise to Abraham, stressing that it would be Sarah that would bear a son to the patriarch. It would be Sarah that would be “a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.” Although he was a man of faith, Abraham thought the promise to be an impossibility to a couple so advanced in years. The questions of his heart were expressed clearly when he said, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” His request was that the son born of Hagar might be the one through whom the seed would come. We often endeavor to work out God’s plans by our own schemes. However, His ways are not our ways. God confirmed to Abraham that Sarah would indeed bear a son, and commanded that the son be named Isaac. He then said, “I will establish my covenant with him (Issac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” God was declaring that the Seed promised all the way back in Genesis 3:15, the Messiah, would come through Abraham and through Isaac, not through Ishmael.
With this God left off speaking with Abraham. He then followed the Lord’s instructions concerning circumcision, for himself and every male in his house. In faith he obeyed!
Pastor Steve Smith