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.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.