Devotional Thought for Today – 02/13/2023

We continue our “Series in “Genesis.”



Chapter CONTEXT from MHCC: This chapter contains articles of agreement covenanted and concluded upon between the great Jehovah, the Father of mercies, on the one part, and pious Abram, the father of the faithful, on the other part. Abram is therefore called “the friend of God,” not only because he was the man of his counsel, but because he was the man of his covenant; both these secrets were with him. Mention was made of this covenant (ch. 15:18), but here it is particularly drawn up, and put into the form of a covenant, that Abram might have strong consolation. Here are, I. The circumstances of the making of this covenant, the time and manner (v. 1), and the posture Abram was in (v. 3). II. The covenant itself. In the general scope of it (v. 1). And, afterwards, in the particular instances. 1. That he should be the father of many nations (v. 4, 6), and, in token of this, his name was changed (v. 5). 2. That God would be a God to him and his seed, and would give them the land of Canaan (v. 7, 8). And the seal of this part of the covenant was circumcision (v. 9-14). 3. That he should have a son by Sarai, and, in token thereof, her name was changed (v. 15, 16). This promise Abram received (v. 17). And his request for Ishmael (v. 18) was answered, abundantly to his satisfaction (v. 19-22). III. The circumcision of Abram and his family, according to God’s appointment (v. 23, etc.).

Genesis chapter 17 Simplified Outline
Ge 17:1-8.God renews the covenant with Abram, and changes his name to Abraham, in token of a greater blessing.
Ge 17:9-14.Circumcision is instituted.
Ge 17:15-16.Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah, and she is blessed.
Ge 17:17-22.Isaac is promised, and the time of his birth is fixed.
Ge 17:23-27.Abraham and Ishmael are circumcised.


Are you not glad that God does not hold a grudge? Think about it in the previous part of this series, Chapter 16, Sarai had connived a plan to outsmart God, Abram goes along with it and of course, God knows all about it and foils the plan. Additionally, there are consequences for their sinful actions.

Yet here in the next chapter (yes, some 13 years later), we begin with God confirming and renewing His covenant with Abram. There are two main doctrinal elements that I see here:

First is part of God’s character or essence, God does not lie, He keeps His promises. It should be noted that approx 23 years have now passed since God first initiated (CH.12) His covenant/promise with Abram. We see in v.1-8, the exchange between God and Abram, where Abram gets a name change to Abraham and is ordered to circumcise all the males as a sign of the covenant.

The second thing I see here is not so obvious. Remembering Abram’s sin in Chapter 16, then we read in v.1, God says to Abram; I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect something had to have occurred for Abram to be worthy of such a task. I am speaking of a repentant and humble heart. Sometime in the past 13 years since Ishmael’s birth Abram and Sarai had to have acknowledged their sinful ways and made the appropriate sacrifices to God. Whenever God points out sin in our lives He expects us to confess it and repent of it.

One final thought. God could have left it there, Abram (Father exalted) and Sarai had Ishmael, but God’s plan was for a Godly lineage so at 99 years old Abraham (Father of Multitued) and Sarah get the news they will have a child. He is to be called Isaac and it is through him the great multitude of God’s people will flow. We never know the boundaries of God’s plans for our lives and we should never stop inquiring about them.

Praying through Genesis 17:1

Loving Father, I recognise Your almighty power and great glory, for the heavens declare its truth, and Christ proved it with outstretched arms on Calvary’s Cross. But You are also my great Provider for which I thank You. Your gracious provision is All-sufficient and I long to serve You faithfully, and to live a blameless life before You. Lord, I know that living blamelessly before You is only possible as You provide the sufficient grace and power through the Holy Spirit’s work within. Bring to fruitfulness the seed that You have planted in my heart, that I may live as You desire. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.


Praying through Genesis 17:5

Heavenly Father, as I read through the life of Abraham, I see how important it is to not only be saved by faith, but to live by faith, to walk by faith, and to pray in faith. And just as Abram had to learn many lessons as he sojourned in the land of Israel, I pray that as I journey through life, I would learn all that You have to teach me and become the person You have destined me to be. Help me to submit to You, resist the devil, and recognise the dangers of fleshly lusts and the wisdom of trusting Your Word. Thank You that You are working in my life from an eternal perspective. May my life be a testimony of Your goodness and grace. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.


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