Genesis 17.1-27

Title: God’s Covenant is Confirmed

Text: Genesis 17.1-27

CIT: God appears to Abram and confirms his covenant with a sign: circumcision.

CIS: God appears to Abram and confirms his covenant with a sign: circumcision.

Introduction: We begin the passage in 17.1; 99 years old; rd 16.16; 13 years of waiting. I’ve been here almost 9 in comparison. 12.4 – 75 years;

A simple outline of the chapter, which I will not follow is:

  1. The Promise is Announced
  2. The Promise is Expressed in a Sign
  3. The Promise is Explained

Transition: So let’s begin w/…

I.          God’s Appearance to Abram (17.1-3)

exp.: rd v 1; says, I am El-Shaddai; His Name says it all: God Almighty (El-Shaddai); there is nothing He can’t do! This is me, now: this is you – walk before me and be blameless; many say we don’t have to obey the law, we live under grace, but what about the blameless part? Balance! Life like our righteousness will save us, Know that our righteousness is as filthy rags. Rd v 2; a covenant is already established, God’s promise will be fulfilled when Abram is multiplied; rd v 3; Abram’s response: fell on his face!

ill.: I sure wish we could be more like this when we entered worship. Maybe not the posture so much as the attitude.

app.: these first 3 verses speak volumes to me…

  • I want to see God for who he really is and what he can really do. I don’t want to doubt or limit him.
  • I want to walk blamelessly in his presence.
  • I want to always have the right attitude before him.

Transition: the stage is set, then God speaks 93b);

II.      God’s Announcement of His Covenant (17.4-14)

exp.: rd v 4; The Covenant is:

  1. Essence of the Covenant: Stated as with you – the father of many nations (4)
  2. Exemplified in a name change: Abraham (5); Abram means exalted father; Abraham means father of a multitude;
  3. Established as Eternal (7-8); Everlasting (rd 7, 8, 13, 19); two parts:

i.     People (rd: 15.13-14)

ii.     Land (rd:15.15-16)

4. Expressed as Essential (9-14); rd

i.     Obedience is required; rd v 9-10; you shall keep;

ii.     Blood & Pain is involved; rd v 11; in the flesh; 12-13; an external sign as an internal commitment; it’s permanent; illustration of the wedding ring; NO! it can be taken off and replaced; this is physically altering and cannot be changed! V 10 says who, v 11a says where, v 11b says why, and v 12 says when. Furthermore, there is no hierarchy involved. This is for the son, as well as the slave!

iii.     Obedience is once again commanded; rd v 14; disobedience is equated with braking the covenant.

iv.     Illustrations of blood and pain: Genesis 34.8, 14, 25,-29; Joshua 5 – this would take great faith to trust God!

Transition: God Appears and Announces his covenant again to Abram; 3rd

III.    God’s Answer to Abram’s Struggle of Faith (17.15-19)


  1. God’s Plan is Expressed in a name change: Sarah; princess; same as Sarai, but more dialectical to the area. Princesses give birth to kings; Princess Diana – much was made about William; and when William and Kate, then had Prince George, much was made about his birth. Now compare the wonderful news in the 80’s to William, and more recently, of George to Sarah’s expecting a child. No, more than that, a lineage! Rd v 16; Before, Abram was promised progeny, here, however, more details emerge. The gender of the child is given – a son!
  2. God’s Plan is Examined by Abram:

i.     The Physical aspect: rd v 17; I’m not sure if this is from v 3 or rather from laughter! Now, it’s only been 14 years since Abraham was able to impregnate Hagar. But 14 years is a long time. There is a big difference between 21 and 35; between 36 and 50; between 51 and 65; between 66 and 80!

ii.     The Practical aspect: read v 18; It makes sense. He’s already alive; He’s loved by his Father; Do you ever try to tell God what makes sense?

    3.   God’s Plan is Explained:

i.     Isaac: rd v 19; No, Sarah will have a son (gender) and furthermore, you’ll name him Isaac! He laughs; Who laughs? God? The name itself infers God. Jacob is a derivative of ya-qob-el (may El protect); Ishmael; Isaac is derivative of Isaacel; There is no reference in Scripture where God laughs in a positive manner. Every reference is to mock. Maybe it’s Abram? Maybe it will describe Isaac; Either way, we know Abraham’s laughter and we’ll se Sarah laugh in Ch 18 when she hears Abraham talking with God about

ii.     Ishmael: rd v 20; I have heard your prayers; Ishmael will be taken care of;

  1. Blessing
  2. Many descendants
  3. Twelve Princes
  4. A great nation, too.

iii.     Isaac: reiterated; rd v 21; rd v 22;

app.: I love God’s compassion toward Abraham. His reassurance concerning Ishmael;

Transition: God Appears and Announces his covenant again to Abram; and in loving tender compassion, God Answers Abraham’s laughter and practical solutions. So what does Abe do?

IV.    Abraham’s Obedience (17.23-27)


  1. Abraham
  2. Ishmael
  3. His whole household

Observations & Implications:

  1. What does the Name El-Shaddai mean to you? For me, it means he can do all things; And more, Phil 4.13
  2. Tell me about your walk with God. Do you see your life that way? Walking with God
  3. What is your attitude before him when you enter his presence in Worship
    1. Sunday morning
    2. Daily
    3. Hourly – walking with God

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Filed under Genesis, Scripture, W.E.B.S.

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