God’s Covenant with Abraham (Genesis #35)

Covenant with Abraham

Text: Genesis 17

Thirteen years after Hagar has Ishmael, Abram falls on his face before God. He now has a teenager which will make any parent fall on their face. Seriously though, when the LORD speaks to Abram here I believe it is in response to Abram falling on his face and wondering what a mess he’s made with God’s promises.

God calls it my covenant (vss 1-8)

  • You need to take note that God calls the covenant with Abram my covenant three times (vss 2, 4, 7). God has a covenant that He wants to establish with a man. Abram is a sinner so God’s covenant cannot be with Abram, nevertheless it will come through Abram. Ultimately, Jesus Christ will be the man of the covenant, He is the seed according to Galatians, in Him is eternal life.
  • The LORD says to Abram you be perfect – separated from this world – and as for me, I’ll make you a father of many nations.
    • God gives Abram a new name just like a parent would name their child. Abram is a child of God insomuch that he’s led by the Spirit of God. He’s called Abraham by God because he’d be a father of many nations. Abram’s new name reflects what God is going to do with him.
    • The LORD says Abram, be thou perfect, and as for me I’ll make nations and kings come out of you.
    • The LORD says Abram, be thou perfect, and as for me I’ll establish my covenant with future generations from you.
    • The LORD says Abram, be thou perfect, and as for me I’ll make sure the land is given to thy seed.
    • The LORD says Abram, be thou perfect, and as for me it’ll be an everlasting covenant that I’ll make.

The seal of the covenant (vss 9-14)

  • Seal of this covenant is circumcision. Now this circumcision is a type of the Holy Spirit. It was a seal of imputed righteousness just like the Holy Spirit is in the covenant in Jesus Christ. So circumcision is a type of the Holy Spirit of God and both are called a seal.
    • 2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
    • Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
    • Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
  • It served as a reminder
    • A way for Abraham to remember God’s covenant with him.
    • God didn’t need to remember it, but Abraham did.
    • John 14:26
  • It would not be undone
  • It was a seal of imputed righteousness – Romans 4:8-12.
  • Paul also calls circumcision a sign. When the Holy Spirit was poured out by the LORD Jesus Christ after His resurrection He is a sign of imputed righteousness.

The seed of the covenant (vss 15-22)

  • Isaac means laughter in honor of Abraham’s laughter.
  • Isaac will be the recipient of the covenant promises.
  • The heir would not be born of the flesh. Supernatural birth would be required so the flesh would have nothing to boast about and the power would be of God.

The suffering in the flesh because of the seal (vss 23-27)

  • This was incredibly uncomfortable to say the least. But it’s a type of the seal of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant.
  • Seal means temporary discomfort just like the Holy Spirit of God and putting down the body of flesh.
  • As Moses did, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
  • Colossians 2:11-12 Paul likens the work of the Holy Spirit to circumcision made without hands.