Following In The Footsteps Of Faith Sermon # 11
THE GOD OF THE EVERLASTING COVENANT
Genesis 17:1-27 (NKJV)
The Sign of the Covenant
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Some fourteen years had past since God last spoke to Abraham. Not since his disobedience in the matter of Hagar had Abraham heard the voice of God. The times of His silence are most devastating when they come our way. We need to learn that our disobedience almost always brings His silence.
In this passage, the Lord speaks again. When He does it is to reveal even more of the details of His covenant with Abram. Here we have the opportunity to learn more about the faithfulness and work of God in the lives of His people. This passage allows us to catch a glimpse of The God Of The Everlasting Covenant.
As we look into the details of this passage, may take this opportunity to learn more about the God we serve. May we be reminded that He is a God Who keeps His Word and works out His will “according to the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11).
I. V. 1-5 THIS GOD’S NEW REVELATION
A. V. 1 A Revelation Of His Person – For the first time, God reveals Himself as “the Almighty God”. This name is from the Hebrew name “El-Shaddai”. It carries the idea of “Nourisher; Strengthener; Satisfier.” It identifies God as being the “All-sufficient One”. There is a tenderness in this name because the word “Shaddai” comes from the Hebrew word for “breast”. Just as a baby receives strength and nourishment from its mother’s breast, so the children of God receive all they need from the hand of the “Almighty God”.
(Note: Because God is “the Almighty God” He demands that His people walk before Him in “perfection”. This is a command to walk in righteousness and holiness before Him, 1 Pet. 1:16.)
B. V. 2-4 A Revelation Of His Promise – God simply reminds Abram of the promises He has made to him in the past. God will make of him a great nation and He will bless Abram. (
Note: God’s revelation and reminder cause Abram to fall at His feet in worship! Would to God the Lord’s people would see His blessings as a catalyst to worship and praise.)
(Note: v. 4 – “As for me” indicates that this covenant is one-sided. God will bless Abram because He wants to! In other words, the covenant is good because it depends on God and not man! Thank God, our salvation is in His hands and not ours, 1 Pet. 1:5.)
C. V. 5 A Revelation Of His Plan – Here, Abram receives a name change. His name is changed from “Abram”, which means “Exalted Father”, to “Abraham” which means “Father Of A Multitude”. The reason for this lies in the fact that God has made Abraham the father of a numberless multitude. Of course, to Abraham it does not appear that this is the case. However from God’s perspective, it is a done deal! Notice the words “I have made thee.” Even though Abraham couldn’t see it, God had already completed His plan through Abraham.
(Note: Life is never like we think it is! All we can see are the obstacles and the trials that we face in life. However, God sees our present as well as the future that He has already accomplished. The essence of faith is merely walking in the present, holding in your hands the things God has placed in the future, Heb. 11:1! Whatever you may be facing this evening, God has already taken care of it for you. You merely have to be patient until you arrive at that time where His provision is manifested. Ill. Prophet Elijah – at the dry brook and the widow’s house – 1 Kings 17.)
(Note: No wonder Abraham worshiped the Lord! If we ever got a grip on all that He has done for us, we too would glorify Him in praise, adoration and worship! Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!)
II. V. 6-8; 15-22 THIS GOD’S NEW REASSURANCE
A. V. 6 Concerning His Fruitfulness – God promises Abraham Children, Crowds and Crowns. God promised him things that, at that moment in his life, he couldn’t even imagine!
(Note: Sounds like us doesn’t it? Think of where He found you, what He has done in your life and where you are headed. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? The farther I travel down this road, the sweeter His promises become to me! I am thankful that every single one is true! By the way, He will make your life fruitful for His glory if you will abide (ABIDE) in Him, John 15:5.)
B. V. 7-8 Concerning His Faithfulness – God promises not only to bless Abraham, but his children and all the generations of Abraham’s seed as well. This is a covenant that is as good as the Name of God and that will endure as long as God endures.
(Note: Thank God that we can count on His faithfulness! Ill. Lamentations 3:22-23. Thank God that He is faithful and true. He will not renege on His promises. He will not fail us. We may fall short, but He never will! He is ever faithful!)
(Note: God promises to be a personal God to the seed of Abraham. Friends, it is a blessing to serve a God that desires a personal relationship with the likes of you and me! I praise His name that my walk with Him does not hinge on what you do! It is personal and it is everlasting! What a great blessing!)
C. V. 15-22 Concerning His Future – God’s promise to Abraham is extended to Sarai also. She is to have this child of promise and she is to be the mother of multitudes. Her name is also changed from “Sarai”, which means “My Princess” to “Sarah”, which means “Princess”. When Abraham hears this he laughs. It is not a laugh of doubt, but of joy at what the Lord is about to do in his life. He is so excited thinking about the power of God that he prays for God to bless Ishmael also. This prayer is heard and answered by the Lord!
(Note: Here is a man who was looking at a bleak future when the day began. Now he is thrilled by the awesome possibilities. I just want to remind us this evening that there is no cause of “hopelessness” when it involves the Lord. Your future is as bright as the size of your faith! When we involve God in the situations of our lives, the impossible becomes immediately possibly, John 6:1-13. Remember the God we serve holds today and tomorrow in His hands, and He is greater than both!)
III. V. 9-14; 23-27 THIS GOD’S NEW REQUIREMENT
A. V. 9-11 The Nature Of This Requirement – Here, Abraham and all his descendants are required to be circumcised. They were to be identified as followers of the Lord by a mark in their bodies. Submitting to circumcision was a statement that “this person is part of the Abrahamic covenant, and the promises of God are his.” This mark was both painful and private. Whether anyone else knew of it or not, the person circumcised and the Lord knew about it.
(Note: You and I are not required to do this to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ today. However, the New Testament speaks of a “circumcision of the heart” that must be performed before a person can enter in to a personal relationship with Almighty God, Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 5:6; Col. 2:11; Gal. 6:15.)
B. V. 12-13 The Nationality Of This Requirement – Every male in the nation of Israel, whether they were young or old, bond or free were required to observe this rite, if they were to be allowed to be part of this covenant of promise. Without it, they were left out.
(Note: While physical circumcision is not required for a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, spiritual circumcision is! Without it, not person can ever hope to enter the presence of God, or go to Heaven when they die, John 3:3; John 14:6. Ill. God’s perfect, precious plan of salvation!)
C. V. 14; 23-27 The Necessity Of This Requirement – Without being circumcised, no one could enter into this covenant relationship with the Lord. They were to be cut off from the people. They were out of the covenant.
(Note: As has already been said, spiritual circumcision is necessary for a relationship with God. This is accomplished only through coming to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith.)
(Note: Many in our day think that rituals are still how one approaches God. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Works can never save the soul, Eph. 2:8-9! It takes faith to please God, always has and always will, Heb. 11:6! It took faith to follow God and carry out this command, which Abraham did without hesitation, v. 23-27!)
(Note: Have you experienced that spiritual circumcision that forever changes your life and your destination?)
I am thankful this evening that we serve a God Who is interested in His people. I am thankful that when we exercise minute faith in His Word, that He honors that with blessings which cannot be calculated for value.
I wonder, what are you trusting Him for this evening? Is there a dark spot on your today or on your future?
Let me just remind you that we serve a God Who keeps His Word! What He has promised that will He do! Bring it to Him, fall down before Him and worship Him like Abraham did and He will bless your life!
Thank you JESUS!