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Pastor Brant Seacrist

JULY 19, 2020


TEXT: GENESIS 17: 1-14
READING: PSALM 116: 1-14

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SUBJ: The 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 holiness.

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 promised son.
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 learn here).
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.

II. The 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 thee but
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 testimony.
3. In its New Testament references that thought of entirely spiritual and any dependence on physical circumcision is seen as idolatry and false religion.