Saturday, May 03, 2008

Genesis 17:19

Genesis 17:19: But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall 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. . .”

In verses 17-18 of this chapter, we see Abraham having an opportunity to react to God’s words. He used it to laugh at what God was saying, to question the possibility of His statement, and even to attempt to have God view the offspring of his sin differently. God still speaks to each of us that know Him today. We all have an opportunity to react and respond to what He tells us. We would do well to examine whether or not we are guilty of the same type of reactions as Abraham exhibited in this passage. If so, we need to seek His forgiveness and commence a life of complete assurance in Whom we have believed.

Verse 19 starts with my favorite pair of words in the entire Bible, “But God.” No matter what we think or say or do, along come these two words, “But God.” And their impact becomes even greater when the third word is added, “But God said.” Watch out, for here comes the “final word” on the subject. We need to listen for and be sensitive to the “But God said” times in our life.

For starters in this case, God said, “No, Abraham, you have it all wrong.” So He repeats and clarifies the situation for Abraham. “Sarah, your own wife Abraham, will indeed bear you a son,” God seems to be telling him. God knows that some of us simply need to have His message to us repeated over and over again. And not only that, but when God speaks on the same topic on successive occasions, He often provides additional information. In this case He tells Abraham that he will call his son Isaac. Lexicographers tell us that the Hebrew meaning of the name Isaac is “one who laughs, mocks, sports, or toys with”. God was telling Abraham that Isaac will be a continual reminder to him that he first laughed at what God had promised him. As such, God wanted Abraham to always remember who God was and that he could count on His promises and word. What has God put in your life in order for you to daily remember who He is and what He has done and will do for you? Sometimes those things are there to keep us humble before God. Sometimes they are such as to encourage us before God. Whatever God has put in your life for this purpose, identify it, and treasure it as a gift from Him, even if it seems like it hurts, as I’m sure Abraham was not thrilled about having his son called, “he laughs”.

Then God goes on to say, “though because of your reaction Abraham, his name will be ‘he laughs’, I will still establish my covenant with him as well. He’s in this deal with you, and his descendants after him.” Wow, God’s goodness just keeps on coming for Abraham. This is the genealogy that God will bless. The promise will go from Abraham, to Isaac, to his descendants. What a God.

After how Abraham had reacted to God earlier, God could have been angry or He could have withdrawn from him. Instead, we see a patient God who loves Abraham so much that He takes the time to repeat and clarify His will for Abraham’s life. And in that, He includes Abraham’s son and grandchildren and their descendants after that. God has a special promise for each of us and for those that come after us. May we be as careful not to laugh at or question what He tells us.

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