DO YOU TRUST THE LORD’S PROMISES ?
Genesis 15:1-17:27 January 27 2008
God instructed Abram to prepare for a covenant ceremony
by sacrificing animals, cutting them in half, and creating a
pathway between the halves. God then sealed His covenant
with Abram (Gen 15:1-21).
God spoke to Hagar, told her to return, and promised she
and her son Ishmael would have many descendants. Hagar
returned and gave birth to Ishmael (Gen.16:1-16).
All males born to Abraham’s descendants or to one of their
slaves needed to be circumcised on the eighth day after they
were born. Uncircumcised males would not be part of God’s
covenant with Abraham (Gen.17:1-14).
Abraham responded by laughing at the thought of him and
Sarah becoming first-time parents. god confirmed His promise,
stating Isaac would be born in a year’s time. In obedience,
Abraham circumcised himself, Ishmeal , and all the males in
his household (Gen. 17:15-27).
1. Trust the Lord’s Word (Gen. 15:1-6)
Gen. 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in
a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very
great reward. ” 15:2 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what
can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will
inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 15:3 And Abram
said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my
household will be my heir.” 15:4 Then the word of the LORD
came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming
from your own body will be your heir.” 15:5 He took him
outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars —
if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall
your offspring be.” 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he
credited it to him as righteousness.
I am your shield. Whether “shield” or “sovereign” is meant ,
the reference is to the Lord as Abram’s King. As elsewhere,
“shield” stands for king (Dt 33:29; 2Sa 22:3; Ps 7:10; 84:9). Your
very great reward. Though Abram was quite rich (Gen.13:2), God
himself was Abram’s greatest treasure (Dt 10:9).
Eliezer of Damascus. A servant probably acquired by Abram
on his journey southward from Haran (Gen.12:5). He may also be
the unnamed “chief servant” of 24:2.
(Gen.15:3-4) Ancient documents uncovered at Nuzi ( “Ancient
Texts Relating to the OT,” Genesis 1:1) near Kirkuk on a branch
of the Tigris River, as well as at other places, demonstrate that
a childless man could adopt one of his own male servants to be
heir and guardian of his estate. Abram apparently contemplated
doing this with Eliezer, or perhaps had already done so.
Count the stars-if indeed you can. (Gen.22:17). More than
8,000 stars are clearly visible in the darkness of a Near Eastern
night. So shall your offspring be. The promise was initially
fulfilled in Egypt (Ex 1; Dt 1:10; Heb 11:12). Ultimately, all who
belong to Christ are Abram’s offspring ( Gal 3:29).
Abram is the “father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11), and
this verse is the first specific reference to faith in God’s
promises. It also teaches that God graciously responds to a man’s
faith by crediting righteousness to him (Heb 11:7).
2. Trust the Lord’s Timing (Gen. 16:1-3)
Gen. 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.
But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 16:2 so she
said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go,
sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through
her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 16:3 So after Abram had
been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian
maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.
No children. (Gen.11:30). Egyptin. Perhaps Hagar was acquired
while Abram and Sarai were in Egypt (Gen.12:10-20).
The Lord has kept me from having children. Some time had
passed since the revelation of (Gen.15:4; 16:3), and Sarai
impatiently implied that God was not keeping his promise. Go ,
sleep with my maidservant. An ancient custom, illustrated in
Old Assyrian marriage contracts, the Code of Hammurapi and
the Nuzi tablets (Gen.15:3-4), to ensure the birth of a male
heir. Sarai would herself solve the problem of her barrenness.
Ten years. Abram was now 85 years old (Gen.12:4; 16:16).
3. Trust the Lord’s Wisdom (Gen. 17:1-2,17-19)
Gen. 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD
appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before
me and be blameless. 17:2 I will confirm my covenant
between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.
” 17:17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to
himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?
Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 17:18 And
Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your
blessing!” 17:19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah
will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will
establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant
for his descendants after him.
Ninety-nine years Old. Thirteen years had passed since
Ishmael’s birth (sGen.16:16; 17:24-25). Appeared. (Gen.12:7).
I AM. (Gen.15:7). God Almighty . The Hebrew (EL-SHADDAI)
perhaps means “God, the Mountain One,” either highlighting
the invincible power of God or referring to the mountains as
God’s symbolic home (Psalms 121:1). It was the special name
by which God revealed himself to the patriarchs (Ex 6:3).
Shaddai occurs 31 times in the book of Job and 17 times in
the rest of the Bible. Walk before me and be blameless.
Perhaps equivalent to “walk with me and be blameless”
(Gen.5:22; 6:8-9). After Abram’s and Sarai’s attempt to
obtain the promised offspring by using a surrogate mother,
God appeared to Abram. The Lord made it clear that, if
Abram was to receive God’s promised and covenanted
benefits, he must be God’s faithful and obedient servant. His
faith must be accompanied by the “obedience that comes
from faith” (Romans 1:5; Gen. 22).
My covenant. (Gen.12:2-3; 13:14-16; 15:4-5). The
covenant is God’s. God calls it “my covenant” nine times in
(Gen.17:2-21), and he initiates (Gen.15:18), confirms
(Gen.17: 2) and establishes (Gen.17:7) it. Numbers.
(Gen.13:16) . Earlier God had covenanted to keep his promise
concerning the land (Gen.15); here he broadens his covenant
to include the promised offspring. “Major Covenants in the
OT,” (Genesis 9:9).
Sari. . . Sarah. Both names evidently mean “princess.”
The renaming stressed that she was to be the mother of
nations and kings (Gen. 17: 16) and thus to serve the Lord’s
purpose (Gen.17: 5).
Son. Fulfilled in Isaac (Gen.21:2-3).
Laughed. In temporary disbelief (Gen.18:12; Romans
4:19-21). The verb is a pun on the name “Isaac,” which
means “he laughs” (Gen.17: 19 and 21:3; 18:12-15; 21:6).
Numbers. Gen. 13:16. Father of twelve Rulers. Fulfilled
We cannot always see how God plans on
fulfilling His promises. From our human standpoint, His
promises sometimes seem incapable of being fulfilled.
While we cannot see or understand from His divine
standpoint, we can trust Him to be faithful to His Word
and to His promises. God acts according to His wisdom
and love. Let us recommit to trusting Him each day.