further revelation of God to Abram as a prelude to the birth of Isaac
and the addition to the covenant in the way of a demand for obedience
and the change of Abram’s name.
AIM: That we
might look to the revelation of God to Abraham and be moved to so live
in the presence of God with a desire to be perfect (mature).
INTR: In the
preceding chapter we read of the birth of Ishmael and the further
efforts of Abram to rush the promise of God. In so doing he brought
about effects we are still seeing in the world today.
1. We will note
that Abram was a man subject to the same things as we and Moses made no
effort to hide these fallacies. In 12, he lied about Sarai in Egypt, in
15, he questioned God as to His method, in 16, he took the Egyptian wife
and in 20, lied about Sarah again.
2. Perhaps we are shown these
things so that we do not worship Abraham but rather maintain our focus
on the work of God in making him great.
3. What was promised in
chapter 15 is expanded in this revelation and we are made to see the
extent of the operations of grace in the promise of grace in the first
and the requirements of grace in this revelation.
THESIS: We rejoice at the grace of God
and the manifold peace that it speaks to our hearts and we are then
moved by it to respond to in seeking to walk before God and strive for
I. Almighty God (v. 1)
1. Abram has now been waiting
for 24 years, having attained the age of 99, and still things are not
going as he thought they should. He was hoping that Ishmael was the
2. This appearance of the Lord to Abram was like no
other he had experienced, and worship ensued.
1) The declaration – I,
the Almighty God or the all-sufficient One. He may have been providing
Abram with that personal testimony that he would share to coming
generations. (It is not just what Abram learned here; it is also what we
2) The commandment – Walk before me. That is, walk
through this world with an awareness of the divine presence endeavor to
be responsive to His word.
3) And further – be ye perfect (that is
complete, without spot, undefiled).
3. It is reported that the
Hebrews looked to Abraham as a man of perfections. In any case, the Lord
would cause the faith of Abraham to prevail and the required
righteousness would be of the Lord and not of himself.
name change (vv. 2-8)
1. It is to be remembered that it is the Lord’s
covenant in that He is answering to all its requirements:
1) As a
part of it He would multiply Abram exceedingly
2) There was much more
here than Abram could comprehend at this point.
2. The effect put
Abram on his face before the Lord:
1) The presence of the Lord here
was intensified to Abram and he was made to worship.
2) And he sensed
something of the greatness of what was being promised.
3. While he
was on his face God talked with him (an appropriate position to listen).
4. The language here is of interest in that the declaration is reaching
to the spiritual seed of Abraham and so God says, I, behold, my covenant
is with thee
1) Both abundant physical offspring are to come from
2) You will also be a father of many nations.
5. The name
is changed to reflect what God was saying to Him:
1) A further
reference is made to the various sons of Abraham
2) We are reminded
of Ishmael, and the sons of Keturah
6. In verses 7 and 8, the
reference to the relationship God will have with the seed of Abraham is
unmistakable and it was not lost on Abraham or on us
1) I will be a
God to thee and to thy seed and
2) The promise of the land is
reiterated and that He will be their God
III. The covenant to be
kept (vv. 9-14)
1. We might take verse 9 to be a commandment, but I
see it as a promise of that which defines the Lord’s people – Much in
the same way that Jesus taught that if we love Him we will keep (own as
a treasure) His commandments.
2. The sign of the covenant was to be
circumcision (a putting off of the flesh) as both a mark and a
3. In its New Testament references that thought of
entirely spiritual and any dependence on physical circumcision is seen
as idolatry and false religion.