Sunday, September 28, 2008

Genesis 21:3-5 Isaac Arrives -- Happy 100th Abraham!

Genesis 21:3-5: And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

I find the first sentence of this passage most interesting. It’s loaded with information that the author wants us to remember. First, that it was Abraham who was naming this child and no one else and he named his son, Isaac as God had told him to back in Genesis 17:19. Second, this was indeed his son. Third, it was a son born to him and no one else. And forth, the son came through Sarah, his wife, and no one else. Everything that God had promised had indeed come to pass.

The meaning of Isaac, you will remember was simply “he laughs”. More precisely, lexicographers tell us that the Hebrew meaning of the name Isaac is “one who laughs, mocks, sports, or toys with”. God had told Abraham that Isaac would be a continual reminder to him that he first laughed at what God had promised him.

Abraham circumcised his son Isaac at the appointed time. We first encountered the requirement of circumcision back in Genesis 17 where God promised Abraham that He would make him a father of many nations; his people would be given all the land of Canaan forever; and He would be their God. In return Abraham and those that came after him would keep the covenant of circumcision – that is each male child would be circumcised on his eighth day of life. And so Abraham keeps the covenant and circumcises Isaac on his eighth day of life.

That is one important way that faith lives on in a family, in a people – by practicing covenants made with God and keeping God’s commandments. It is important to realize that when we act righteously, not only are we doing the best thing under the circumstances, but also we are in essence keeping the faith alive. As we model God-ordained behavior, especially to the generation that comes after us, we are helping to preserve faith in our God.

Finally we note that Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. What a birthday present for a centenarian. But again, nothing is impossible for our God who always keeps His promises.

We last looked at our timeline study (moving forwards from Genesis 1) when we were studying Genesis 17. Here is where we left off:

• 3257 Abraham was 86 when Hagar bore Ishmael to him (Gen. 16:16)
• 3270 Abraham was 99 when God appears to him (Gen. 17:1)

Now we can add one more date:

• 3271 Abraham was 100 when Sarah bore Isaac to him (Gen. 21:5)

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