God’s covenant with Abraham is pivotal not only for an Old Testament understanding but for a global redemptive plan. Through Abraham’s faith, God’s plan for salvation is further revealed.
The Call of Abram
- Yahweh calls Abram to leave his home for another country (Gen. 12:1).
- God promises to make a great nation from him (Gen. 12:2).
- He was blessed in order to be a blessing (Gen. 12:2).
- As they begin their sojourning, they arrive in Egypt where Abram shows his cowardice by lying concerning the identity of his wife (Gen. 12:10-20).
- Abram’s nephew, Lot, departs from this company to live in Sodom (Gen. 13:1-13).
God’s Covenant with Abram
- Abram couldn’t grasp a great nation coming from him if he couldn’t even produce one child (Gen. 15:1-6).
- God promised Abram more descendants than the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:5).
- Foundational Old Testament principle: Faith obtains righteousness (Gen. 15:6).
Helping God Out
- Sarai comes up with a plan to “help God out” by allowing her husband freedom to be with her Egyptian servant, Hagar (Gen. 16:1-2).
- Abram listens to and obeys his wife Sarai (Gen. 16:2). This language is intentionally similar to Adam’s curse (Gen. 3:17).
- As soon as Sarai realizes that Hagar is pregnant, she regrets her decision and persecutes her until Hagar runs away (Gen. 16:6).
- God sends an angel to comfort and provide for Hagar and her son in the womb, Ishmael (Gen. 16:7-16).
- 13 years after Ishmael is born, God reminds Abram of his covenant (Gen. 17:1).
- God changes Abram’s name to Abraham (father is changed into a father of a multitude) [Gen. 17:5].
- God instructs Abraham concerning the covenant of circumcision.
- This helped with masculine hygiene.
- This symbolized the importance of the family lineage from Abraham.
- This was a reminder of God’s covenant in the most intimate of settings.
Issac’s Birth Promised
- God changes Sarai’s name to Sarah (means princess, the change signifies from a local to a global state).
- God names their coming son, “Issac,” due to the laughter at the thought of them getting pregnant (Gen. 17:19).
- God promises to care for Ishmael, but his promise will come through a way that only God can get the credit. Sarah will have this child herself.
- Yahweh tells Abraham that his primary job will be to teach his children to follow the LORD (Gen. 18:17-19).
- In a moment when God is speaking concerning global redemptive plans, he centers it around one man teaching his one family to follow the LORD.
- Abraham intercedes for Sodom, but even his prayer reveals how sinful the city is.
- Lot’s encounter shows how sinful this city is, and God rescues Lot before he destroys that city (cf. Matt. 10:14-15).
- Isaac is born and makes laughter for Sarah (Gen. 21:6).
- When Isaac is older, God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22:2).
- Once God sees his commitment, he provides a substitute for Isaac.
- This foreshadows another Father who will sacrifice his only son.