Genesis 17: When God Gives You a New Name

Genesis 17: When God Gives You a New Name

The plan is simple.

  • Read through the book of Genesis, ONE CHAPTER A DAY.
  • Restate 5 things you learned (that you previously didn't know).
  • Ask 5 questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week.
  • As the Holy Spirit gives you wisdom and insight, ACT ON IT.  
 

GENESIS 17:1-27

INSIGHT 1: The names by which God calls us is often associated with our appointed destinies; "Abram" (exalted father) becomes "Abraham" (Father of Multitudes) because that is what he would become. In Revelation 2:17, Jesus gifts to those who "overcome" a white stone with a new name written on it that no one knows except the one who receives it. Is it possible that this future name is what Jesus already calls us (and sees us as) today?

INSIGHT 2: When God tells Abraham in verse 6, " I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you", could Abraham have comprehended what this even implied? It's hard to conceptualize how "nations" will come from one's offspring (singular), much less "kings." When I think of my children and their future, my imagination takes me only as far as two generations (my children and their children playing in the yard at a family picnic during the later stages of my life). I certainly pray and hope that a multitude of godly nation-impacting men and women will come from my bloodline, but I have a hard time seeing it (fortunately, such promises are not dependent on us).

INSIGHT 3: Circumcision (though not a new practice even in Abraham's time) seems like an odd choice for a covenant sign because it involves cutting the most private part of the human body. Perhaps it is because that part of the body is so private is why it is chosen? The male genitalia is the means through which the "seed" is passed from generation to generation, so it is a visual illustration and reminder that for the next generation to remember the promise?

INSIGHT 4: Abraham is 99 years old (verse 1) when God reassures him that Isaac will be born the same time the following year v.21. This is 15 years (Genesis 16:16) after Ishmael had been conceived/born. This brings Habakkuk 2:3 to mind, "..Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."

INSIGHT 5: This account is the first time in the Genesis narrative where it records that God "appeared" to Abraham (as in, God physically manifested Himself so Abraham could catch a glimpse of His glory). Previous chapters have simply stated that "...the word of the Lord came to Abram." So, this is the first time Abraham truly saw the God who called him several decades earlier. It's probably for this reason that verse 22 goes out of its way to state that, "...When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham." This moment is a big deal! God makes Himself fully know right on the verge of the fulfillment of the promise (assuming Isaac was conceived that same day because God just said, "...Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.")

INSIGHT 6: God takes the command in verse 14 (about those who don't get circumcised being cut off) so seriously that when Moses disobeys it in Exodus 4:24-26, God almost kills him. The point? God takes His covenants seriously. He will do what His word says He will do if we don't do what His word tells us to do! 

QUESTIONS 

QUESTION 1: Why is circumcision the chosen sign of a covenant? 

QUESTION 2: Hadn't a covenant already been made between God and Abram in Genesis 15:9-17? Does the Abrahamic covenant have multiple stages?

QUESTION 3: How does one walk "blamelessly" before God as Abraham is commanded to in verse 1? How is this possible when just about every thought that passes through a man's mind every 5 minutes is "blameworthy"??? Clearly, blamelessness cannot be the same as sinlessness for ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So, what does "blamelessness" look like today, especially in light of Christ having inherited our blame and having made us appear before God as "faultless" (Jude 1:24)?

QUESTION 4: What is the significance of waiting 8 days before being circumcised as a child? (verse 12). Is there a connection between that number and the 6 day act of creation plus one day of rest?

QUESTION 5: How did the men in Abraham's household take the news when Abraham had to explain, "Hey fellas, God spoke to me today and gave all of us a great promise, however, it's going to hurt a little"? 

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Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.