A Covenant with God

Or Have I got a deal for you!

(Genesis 17)

Yikes! Abraham was getting old!

He was 99 years old when God appeared to him again.

God said to him, “I am the Almighty God! Obey me and always do what is right!”

Abram fell to the ground, with his face in the sand.

God said to Abram, “From you and your children will come so many people that they will become nations. From now on your name shall be Abraham, which means, ‘the Father of Many Nations’.”

And so God made a covenant with Abraham.

A covenant is a promise between two people.

God said to Abraham, “This is the covenant I am making with you. I will be your God, and you will be my people. This is my everlasting promise to you and to everyone who comes after you.”

God said, “I will give you the land of Canaan. It will be your home forever.”

That is why the land of Canaan is called “the Promised Land.” It is the land God promised to Abraham and to his children.

And then God said, “You must agree to keep this covenant with me. You must agree to honor me and obey me. You and all the males in your house must be circumcised. From now on, every baby boy must have this private mark made on his body. This will be the sign of the everlasting covenant between you and me.”

And then God said, “From now on, you shall call your wife Sarah, which means “princess.” I will bless her. She will have a son, and she will become the mother of nations and kings.”

Now, Sarah was 90 years old.

Abraham laughed. “How can Sarah have children? She is way too old!”

“What about my son Ishmael,” Abraham said, “Can't my family come from him?”

“No,” God said, “your wife Sarah will have a son, and you will call him Isaac, which means "He Laughed" - because you laughed when I told you. My covenant is with him and his children. And it is an everlasting covenant. But I will also bless your son Ishmael and his children. They will become a great nation too.”

God went on his way, and that very day Abraham did what God had told him to do. He was circumcised, and so was Ishmael and all the males in Abraham’s house.

But still, Abraham and Sarai had no children of their own.

Next time...

The Child of the Promise
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Paul Dallgas-Frey

Originally written 12/02/00
redesigned a tinny bit November, 2004

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