Genesis 17:1-14 King James Version September 10, 2017 International Bible Lesson Sunday September 10, 2017 Genesis 17:1-14

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1 Genesis 17:1-14 King James Version September 10, 2017 The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, September 10, 2017, is from Genesis 17:1-14. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-byverse International Bible Lesson Commentary. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further will help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion: these hints are available on the International Bible Lessons Commentary website along with the International Bible Lesson that you may want to read to your class as part of your Bible study. You can discuss each week s commentary and lesson at the International Bible Lesson Forum. (Genesis 17:1) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael (Genesis 16:16), and the Bible is silent about the thirteen years between Ishmael s birth and the LORD

2 P a g e 2 appearing to Abram at the age of ninety-nine (Genesis 17:1). [See The Meaning of the Number Thirteen in the Bible]. In grace, not judgement, the LORD appeared to Abram once again and reaffirmed His covenant with him and his descendants (see Genesis 15). When Abram was ninety-nine, he and Sarai were totally unable to have children: Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old and that Sarah s womb was also dead (Romans 4:16). Therefore, it would be important for Abram to hear the LORD say, I am God Almighty. Because God is gracious and almighty, God would do the impossible. Jesus said, With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and Everything is possible for one who believes (Mark 9:23). In light of Abram s listening to Sarai instead of God (resulting in the birth of Ishmael), God told Abram, walk before me faithfully and be blameless [ walk before me, and be thou perfect KJV]. Walking before God does not mean our leading the way for God to follow, but our consciously choosing to walk in the presence of God knowing that all we do we do in the presence of God before God, Who sees all; therefore, we should seek to please God with all we do and not live selfishly or sinfully. We should seek to be blameless or perfect or spiritually complete, because all we do is done in the sight of God. Before the LORD commanded Abram to walk before Him, the Bible says Enoch and Noah walked with God: Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away Genesis

3 P a g e 3 5:24) and Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God (Genesis 6:9). Both walked faithfully, For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith (Romans 1:17). Later, the Apostle Paul also wrote, Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2); furthermore, wherever Christians go Christ lives and walks within them: the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). (Genesis 17:2) And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. The LORD reaffirmed His covenant or contract with Abram and emphasized that not only would he have a son, Isaac, born of Sarai, but He would greatly increase his numbers. God s own Son, Jesus the Messiah, would be a descendant of Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah; and God s own Son would have a multitude of spiritual descendants. (Genesis 17:3) And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, Abram fell facedown before the LORD in humility and worship. Abram said nothing to God. Perhaps he had been

4 P a g e 4 searching his conscience while God had been silent for thirteen years; therefore, he fell facedown before God with some fear as well as faith in God. (Genesis 17:4) As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. The LORD told Abram what he would be, and Abram did become the father of many nations through Hagar, Sarah, and Keturah. The LORD determined that Jews and Gentiles would be descended from Abram, and God would spiritually bless and save Jews and Gentiles by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (Genesis 17:5) Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. As part of this covenant, God changed Abram s name to Abraham. Abram means father or high-father; while the ham addition means multitude. Abraham would be a father of a multitude. The Apostle Paul emphasized the spiritual meaning of Abraham being the father of many nations (Jews and Gentiles) and of a multitude of people through faith in Jesus Christ: And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised (Romans 4:12) and Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may

5 P a g e 5 be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all (Romans 4:16). (Genesis 17:6) And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. From our knowledge of history as well as the Bible, we know that God also fulfilled this promise as part of His covenant with Abraham. The greatest kings were King David and Jesus the Messiah. (Genesis 17:7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. God s covenant with Noah and his descendants was an everlasting covenant: the rainbow is a sign that God will never again destroy the entire human race through a flood. The covenant required nothing of Noah and his descendants for God to keep the covenant. God s covenant with Abraham was an everlasting covenant between God and Abraham and his descendants. God [the Almighty, the LORD, Yahweh] would be Abraham s God and the God of Abraham s descendants, but that covenant involved the response of faith on the part of Abraham and his descendants. God s covenant with Noah was

6 P a g e 6 unconditional. God s covenant with Abraham was conditional, for God expected Abraham and his descendants to obey Him and fulfill the condition of circumcision as part of the covenant. In the covenant with Noah, God would make the sign, the rainbow. In the covenant with Abram, Abram and his descendants would make the sign, circumcision. God will not change, and God is the LORD over all creation and all people. The Bible reveals the truth about the true God, but not everyone will want God to be their God nor will everyone want to have faith in God and obey God. No matter what some may believe or want, the LORD will everlastingly be God, the I Am. (Genesis 17:8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. God also reaffirmed the gift of the whole land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants, but that did not mean that Abraham s descendants could live in unfaith and disobedience and retain personal possession of the whole land. For example, the Jews were sent into exile to Babylon for seventy years before God enabled them to return and rebuild their temple. In the time of Jesus, the land was controlled by the Romans. Today, Abraham s many descendants still live in the Promised Land.

7 P a g e 7 (Genesis 17:9) And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. God would keep His covenant with Abraham and his descendants, but they were required to also keep the covenant for the generations to come. The sign of the covenant was to be circumcision. Later, the Apostle Paul wrote: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6) and No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God (Romans 2:29). (Genesis 17:10) This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. A contract must be signed to show that it is accepted or to make it valid before a court of law. The rite of circumcision is similar to signing a contract. When a believer in the LORD accepted the covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants, he circumcised his son with the hope that his son would also accept the covenant and circumcise his son. By signing the covenant through circumcision, the believer was telling the LORD, I want You to be my God and I want You to be the God of my

8 P a g e 8 descendants after me. Circumcising your son was an act of faith that the Almighty God would do all He promised because He is all-powerful, faithful, willing, and truthful. (Genesis 17:11) And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. The sign was circumcision. By circumcision, the believer accepted (signed) the covenant for himself and his descendants, and he would pass down to his descendants the covenant and their responsibility to fulfill the covenant s requirements. (Genesis 17:12) And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. Some have suggested that eight-days-old was the best time for medical reasons. Others have suggested that God created the world in six days, rested on the Sabbath, and Christ rose from His sacrificial death for our sins and redeemed those who would believe in Him on the eighth day, which established the new covenant in His blood rather than continue the old covenant in the blood of circumcision. Christ died for all, for Jews and Gentiles, And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews

9 P a g e 9 10:10). The covenant with Abraham affirmed the fact that all people (Jews, Gentiles, slave and free) brought within the circle of Abrahamic faith needed to have a sign that they were living within the circle of faith, where the LORD was their God. Everyone in the family was to benefit from godly instruction, whether they were family members or workers within the family. (Genesis 17:13) He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. God specified the terms of the covenant again, so there should have been no misunderstanding for Abraham s descendants. In Joshua 5:2-8, we learn that the descendants of Abraham who left Egypt had not been circumcised, perhaps by order of the Pharaoh or from disobedience and neglect. From the terms of this covenant, we can see why circumcision was so important to the Jews as the new covenant was being established, which included Gentiles who no longer needed to be circumcised to be members of God s family. When Jesus Christ came, He fulfilled the Jewish ceremonial laws, so obeying these laws (including circumcision) was no longer required. (Genesis 17:14) And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

10 P a g e 10 A male who refused circumcision or who refused to circumcise his son was refusing to sign the covenant that God had established through Abraham. He was saying to God, I do not want You to be my God. I do not believe that You are God as revealed in the Scriptures. I do not believe You are Almighty. I do not want You to be God over my family. I do not want to obey You. I will not raise my family to acknowledge You as God or obey Your commands. The LORD told Abraham that those who would not sign the covenant agreement through circumcision were by their actions excluding themselves from the circle of faith and were to be excluded from the family of faith. The family of faith was not to tolerate their rebellious and misleading influence over others. The New Testament makes clear that the followers of Jesus Christ did not need to be circumcised. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further 1. Why do you think God waited until Abram was ninetynine years old before speaking to him again? 2, How did God describe Himself and what was the very first thing God commanded Abram to do? 3. What was Abram s response when God spoke to him? 4. What is one difference between God s covenant with Noah and His covenant with Abraham?

11 P a g e In His covenant, what two blessings did God promise Abraham and His descendants? Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson. Visit the International Bible Lessons Forum for Teachers and Students. Copyright 2017 by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. Permission Granted for Not for Profit Use. Contact: P.O. Box 1052, Edmond, Oklahoma, and

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