Genesis 16

Genesis 16 has God coming to Abram. He is now 99 years old.  God has a pretty simple message for Abram.  “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly”.  Abram falls on his face before God.  He has a very healthy respect for the Father.  God reminds Abram that he will be the father of a multitude of nations.  He promised that He will make Abram “exceedingly fruitful….make you into nations….kings shall come from you”.

But the reality is that Abram has one son through the servant of his wife Sarai.  Hagar bore him a son some years earlier, but that didn’t go well in the relationship area.  God continues to talk with Abram about the expectations of his offspring – which are more than slow in coming – that they are to be circumcised.  God makes a change in names here – Abram becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah.  And God tells Abraham that He is going to “bless her…..I will give you a son by her…..kings of peoples shall come from her”.

Abraham is now 99 and God is telling him that after all this time his barren wife will bear a son?  So how does Abraham respond?  “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child”?  He doesn’t believe it.  He challenges God’s promise.  But God tells him that He will “establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant”.  God is going to do what He said.  He always does.  We should never doubt God’s word.

God tells Abraham his son to be born of Sarah is to be called Isaac.  And Ishmael age 13 is circumcised as God has commanded that day.  Abraham gets circumcised at age 99 – that had to hurt.  And he had all the men of his house go through the process – I can only imagine the whining and crying that was going on that day.  But Abraham puts obedience to God first.  He does exactly as he was told, even if there is pain and even if those in his patch had to be resisting the idea.  After all, they had lived without it for centuries.  But Abraham faithfully obeyed.

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