Glory to Jesus Christ!

 

Scriptural Reflection (My comments are in bold)

 

Genesis 17:1-9

 

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old Yahweh appeared to him and said, ‘I am El Shaddai. Live in my presence, be perfect, 2 and I shall grant a covenant between myself and you, and make you very numerous.’ 3 And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as follows, 4 ‘For my part, this is my covenant with you: you will become the father of many nations. 5 And you are no longer to be called Abram; your name is to be Abraham, for I am making you father of many nations. 6 I shall make you exceedingly fertile. I shall make you into nations, and your issue will be kings. 7 And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, as a covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 And to you and to your descendants after you, I shall give the country where you are now immigrants, the entire land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity. And I shall be their God.’ 9 God further said to Abraham, ‘You for your part must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.[1]

 

Background before we start today’s Scriptures.

In Genesis 16:1-16 we find the account of Hagar, the servant of Abram’s wife Sarai’s and the birth of Ishmael. Sarai laments that she is barren and has not given Abram a son to be his heir. Sarai is aware of God’s covenant promise to Abram, that he will have a son of his own and descendants as innumerable as the stars.

 

Sarai takes it upon herself to make God’s promise take place. Remember, God told Abram he would have his own son. Sarai tells Abram to take her servant Hagar, an Egyptian maid, and Sarai would have children through her.

 

Hagar becomes Abram’s concubine. After Hagar conceives, the two women are embittered towards one another. “It’s a cat fight between Sarai and Hagar.” Reading between the lines, Hagar is rubbing her pregnancy into Sarai’s face because she is barren. Sarai blames Abram for the situation. Abram tells Sarai to do what seems right to her in regards to Hagar. Sarai treats Hagar terribly, and lowers Hagar’s status to that of a slave. At that time, it was legal for Hagar to be given to Abram, because Hagar is property. It was legal for a wealthy man to have concubines and the children become that of the mistress, Sarai and the leader of the community Abram.

The situation between Sarai and Hagar becomes unbearable. Hagar flees into the desert away from the encampment. The angel of the Lord finds Hagar at a spring near the roadside, between Beersheba and Egypt. Hagar was heading home.

 

The angel of the Lord speaks on God’s behalf and asks Hagar where she is going. Hagar tells the angel what has taken place. The angel tells Hagar to return to Sarai and to submit to her. The angle also prophecies concerning her son who will be born. (Hagar is pregnant) “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count.” Genesis 16:7-12 Likewise, the angel tells Hagar to name her son, Ishmael, which means, God hears. A secondary meaning is, son of the flesh.

 

The prophecy from the angel continues. Ishmael, will be as a wild ass of a man, “His hand shall be against everyone, and everyone’s hand shall be against him. Gen. 16:12. “and he shall live east of all his brothers.” Constantly the Jews and Arabs are at odds with each other to this very day. Many Arabs believe Ishmael is their forefather and he was the rightful heir of Abram. This is why many Arabs consider Abraham to be their forefather. The Jews and Arabs are from the same lineage, they are both Semitic peoples.

 

In the duties of the Moslem who visits the Kaaba in Mecca include a reenactment of Hagar fleeing from Sarai and seeking water in the desert. The Moslems also believe Abraham was going to sacrifice Ishmael on the altar. Where as the Jews and Christians believe Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on the altar. Two view points from each side of the descendants of Abraham.

Hagar bears Abram a son, and she named him Ishmael as told by the angel of the Lord. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.

 

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old Yahweh appeared to him and said, ‘I am El Shaddai. Live in my presence, be perfect, 2 and I shall grant a covenant between myself and you, and make you very numerous.’ 3 And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as follows,[2]

 

Once again God affirms the covenant He has with Abram. Again, we see the close relationship Abram and God have. God and Abram talk with each other. God and Abram know each other, a living relationship between God and man.

 

4 ‘For my part, this is my covenant with you: you will become the father of many nations. 5 And you are no longer to be called Abram; your name is to be Abraham, for I am making you father of many nations. 6 I shall make you exceedingly fertile. I shall make you into nations, and your issue will be kings.[3]

 

Abram is given a new name. God changes his name to Abraham, which means, father of many nations. Through Abraham will come many nations, the gentle nations through faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Also, the Jews and Moslems come through Abraham.

Remember, whenever some one’s name is change in the Scriptures, it represents a spiritual change or something important has happened to that person. This is the reason an Orthodox monks / nun will take another name when are elevated in the ranks. Likewise, a Bishop will change his name.

 

7 And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, as a covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 And to you and to your descendants after you, I shall give the country where you are now immigrants, the entire land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity. And I shall be their God.’[4]

 

God again renews the covenant with Abraham. The land of Canaan, FULLY INHABITED by Canaanites, is promised to Abraham and his descendants.

A point to remember. God had told Abraham that he would have a son from Sarai. Since it took longer than anticipated, Saria and Abraham tried to make God’s promise happen. This is an important point to remember – all thigs take place in God’s time, not by our timetable. When God tells us He will do something, it will happen as long as we remain faithful to Him and remain patient

[1] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985. (Ge 17:1–9). New York: Doubleday.

[2] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 17:1–3). New York: Doubleday.

[3] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 17:4–6). New York: Doubleday.

[4] The New Jerusalem Bible. (1985). (Ge 17:7–8). New York: Doubleday.

Copyright © 2020 St Andrew Lyndora. All Rights Reserved.