I Description of Covenant Provisions and Promises 1-8
A. Covenant Provisions 1
17:1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Restated: Abraham was to live his entire life in deliberate, conscience obedience to God, as a lifestyle.
B. Covenant Promises 2-8
1. Multiplied exceedingly 2
2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
2. A changed name-legacy 3-5
3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
3. Fruitfulness, in the near and the distant future 6
6 “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.
4. Reconfirmation of the Covenant 7
7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
5. The land of Canaan possessed by Abraham and his descendants forever 8
8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
II. The Sign of God’s Covenant: Circumcision 9-14
A. Every male of Abraham’s household was to be circumcised, whether related by blood or not 9-14
9 God said further to Abraham, “Now 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 among you shall be circumcised. 11 “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Note: The sign pointed to the Covenant Faithfulness of God—not to the goodness, performance, etc., of God’s people.
Note: This ritual requirement came 23 years after Abraham was declared “righteous” by God (15:6).
Circumcision: Egyptians, some Canaanites, Hittites. NOT practiced by Chaldeans, Philistines, Greeks, or Romans. To those who practiced it, it ALWAYS indicated some degree of membership in a special class/group.
B. Every male of Abraham’s household who was not circumcised was a covenant-breaker, and would be cut off from God’s people. 14
14 “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
III. The Promise of the Covenant to Sarai 15-22
A. A changed name-legacy 15
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
B. Fruitfulness: the bearing of Isaac, the son of promise 16-21
1. A promise regarding Sarah 16
16 “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
2. Abraham’s response and request 17-18
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”
Rom 4: 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
3. God’s reply to Abraham’s request 19-20
19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”
“…your wife…” = It had always been God’s plan that the child of promise would come through the marriage of Abraham and Sarah.
“Isaac” = “he who laughs”
4. God then departed from Abraham 22
22 When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
IV. The People of the Covenant: A distinct community created. 23-27
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Now 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 In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Conclusion: Three Marks, and the People who Bear Them
1. The Mark of Guilt and Fear of Judgment : the mark that all but One bear
A. Cain: Guilt, fear of judgment, divine, temporary reprieve
Gen 4 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. 16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
B. Us: Our private marks of failure, fear, expectation of judgment
Rom 3:10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” 13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; 14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; 15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, 16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, 17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” 18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” …23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
2. The Mark of Adoption, Community, and Hope: the mark some of us bear
A. Abraham, and OT saints: circumcision
Blood = shedding of blood as a token of sacrifice and redemption
Birth = hope of blessing, of Coming Annointed One of God
Community = God’s chosen nation, Israel
B. Believers: baptism replaces circumcision
Col 2 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
3. The Marks of Redemption: Only One bears these marks
A. Christ in Prophecy
Psa 22 16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;
Isa 53 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Zec 12 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
B. Christ in fulfillment
Mat 27 26 Then (Pilate) released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.
John 19 34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
John 20 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Application: Today, believe in the Man with the Marks on His hands!
John 20 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”