All In, with Kirk Crossing
All In, with Kirk Crossing
Faith Steps (6) Genesis 17.1-21
In Genesis 17, God once again moves his covenant relationship with Abram forward.  The covenant will now put requirements on Abram including a continual walk before God, living righteously, and instituting circumcision as the outward ‘sign’ or mark of the covenant.  In addition, the covenant will extend beyond Abram to his offspring, indefinitely.  Finally, God changes Abram and Sarai’s names: Abram (‘exalted father’) is changed to Abraham (‘father of a multitude’).  This is a statement about his future under God’s covenantal promises.  Sarai is changed to Sarah, both of which mean something like princess or queen.
Abraham has a very difficult time envisioning how God’s promise of a child through Sarah could possibly become reality because they are so old.  So, he puts Ishmael forward as the solution to God’s promise.  God, however, says no and that he will, in fact, have a son by Sarah.  The name of that son will be Isaac (‘he laughed’), a lasting reminder that nothing is impossible for God, even though Abraham laughed at the prospect of this son ever being born.
Genesis 17 teaches us that faith continues to show itself in righteousness; it matters how we live before God.  It also reminds us that we are still ‘marked’ as God’s unique covenant people though baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Finally, it teaches us that faith is obedient to God, even in the face of doubts.