Daily Thought for: 15th January


Genesis 16 and 17

After the remarkable events recorded in Genesis chapter 15, many things were to happen before God eventually fulfilled His promise of a son to Abram. The years between should have been characterized by the words of C H MACKINTOSH—‘God makes a promise, faith believes it; hope anticipates it; patience waits quietly for it’. However, if Abram could have waited patiently, Sarai certainly could not. She insisted that they resort to human expediency, and do things their own way. Abram had heard the promises of God on a number of occasions, so he would have known that Sarai’s way was not God’s way; nevertheless to please his wife he fell in with her plan. 

However, they soon saw the error of their ways when Sarai was ‘despised in the eyes’ of Hagar, who although only her maid, was now expecting her husband’s child. The girl was banished by Sarai, but she was restored by God who gave her special promises for her son, 16. 10, but said that he would be a ‘wild man’ and a continual problem to the family—see the consequences of self-will! 

Thirteen years of silence followed Abram and Sarai’s tragic scheme, unlike the previous ten years that Abram had spent in Canaan when the Lord had appeared to him regularly. Eventually the Lord did appear again to Abram and said, ‘I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect’, 17. 1. This ‘perfection’ could never have been that Abram should be sinless, but rather that his life should be seen as blameless, showing a desire to please God alone and to follow His word. 

God also changed his name from Abram to Abraham which was more fitting to the fulfilment of His promises—‘for a father of many nations have I made thee’. Then lastly, circumcision was brought in—a seal of the righteousness of faith, Rom. 4. 11; cf. Eph. 1. 13; 4. 30. 

Imagine Abraham then speaking to his family, instructing them about the new names (Abraham, Sarah and Isaac) and the new act of obedience (circumcision), but telling them that the Lord had again promised an everlasting covenant and an everlasting homeland. 


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