Walk 6 – Read Genesis Chapters 15 through 17. The Theme is: Covenant by fire; the God who hears and sees; the covenant of circumcision.
Stars and Faith
Abram refused to submit to the king of Sodom at the end of the rescue of Lot because he had aligned himself with God Most High. Now God declared to Abram: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (15: 1)
“He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15: 5, 6) God’s promise to Abram was that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. Believing the promises of God is the basis of all faith.
The Promised Land
This is where the promise came from: “He also said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
Note that it is God who calls us. Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15: 16, 17 NIV) It is difficult for us to see with our limited vision; but the end result of waiting for the “sin of the Amorites” to reach its full measure was so that we can love each other.
Side Trip at 86
It only takes observation of our own impatience with the ways of God to understand Abram’s impatience in deciding to sire Ishmael through Sarah’s Egyptian servant, Hagar. If Abram was born when his father, Terah, was 130; it is likely that Abram determined that the fault of childlessness lay with Sarai. Ishmael means “God hears” and Hagar had felt that God had heard her prayer for help. She called the one who appeared to her “You are the God who sees me.” Indeed, our heart cry is answered by the God who sees us completely.
The name of Abram, exalted father, was changed by God to Abraham, father of many, because he was to be the father of nations. At the age of 99 God appeared to Abram, changed his name to Abraham, and declared that he would sire a son through Sarai, who would be now known as, Sarah. Both Sarai and Sarah seem to mean princess. God’s definition of Sarah was, “mother of nations.”
Because the concept of them bearing a child at 100 and 90 made them laugh, the child was named, Isaac, he laughs.
Finally, this section ends with the covenant of circumcision being established. Each male child was to be circumcised on the 8th day. Abraham and Ishmael were circumcised on the same day. Abraham’s prayer that God’s blessing would rest on Ishmael was heard but God’s covenant would be through Isaac.