Patient Loving God: Genesis 17:1-27

Patient Loving God: Genesis 17:1-27
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday March 19, 20

Notes/Not a Transcript

Studying Abraham is a great blessing for us as NT Gentile believers, as we see the story looking backward through the cross and are reminded to enjoy the excellent patient love of God in Christ.  Abraham is not forgotten in the Old Testament or relegated to the Jewish nation. If you’re a believer today, that plan worked through Abraham.
We’ll see the covenant God gives to Abraham provides a way for Gentile and Hebrew Salvation through faith.
Look at,

Galatians 3:7–9 (ESV)
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Scripture foreseeing God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached it to Abraham, saying in you shall ALL THE NATIONS be blessed. This is NT commentary from Paul on Abraham.  Church Galatians 3 addresses being assured in your salvation and KNOWING and solidifying that salvation comes as a gift of God.  You didn’t take a gift. That is theft. The gift was given and will not be revoked if given. If you struggle with your assurance, read Galatians 3.
Paul, in Galatians 3, is linking the promises of the covenant to Abraham to:

Genesis 12:3 (ESV)
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


Genesis 22:18 (ESV)
18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Now look at,

Romans 4:3 (ESV)
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

We’re going to see Abraham acting on faith.  And Romans 3 points to the truth we’ll see in Genesis 15, there is no circumcision, yet, but Abraham is still counted faithful.  This is how Abraham can be a father to “many nations,” the Jew and Gentile, circumcised and uncircumcised – faith.
We’re going to see the Abraham in Genesis 17, picked up from the Abram of,

Genesis 15:1–6 (ESV)
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

He believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  Before circumcision:

Romans 4:10–12 (ESV)
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Look at the following few verses in Genesis 15 as we work closer to today’s text. What stands out?
Abram, who believed the Lord

Genesis 15:7–14 (ESV)
7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.
11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

God assures Abram of the seed of faith that he has. He gives him a covenant, a promise.  What grace for the God of creation to encourage his faith with a covenant.  It wasn’t the first covenant with Abram, that was in Genesis 12:4 right after his calling where we see God saying, I will you land I will give you and I will make you great, I will bless you, and make you, I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who dishonor you.
Abram was 75 at that first covenant, where he left his country, took his wife and all his possessions (animals, people, the whole operation), and moved to the land promised by God.
As we come to Genesis 17, we’ll see a 3rd covenant given to Abraham or a ratification and re-encouragement of the first. You can look at it either way; he’ll be 99 years old, and he has waited now for 20+ years for the promised offspring, and since he and his wife are about 100, perhaps he’s not seeing how the plan comes to be.  See the patient love of God in this.

Genesis 17:1-27 (ESV)
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,
2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

Abraham is now 99 years old, and God addresses him, saying, “walk before me and be blameless.”
How is a man to be blameless?
Pop quiz, who lived FIRST (great quiz for our study in Genesis), Moses or Abraham? The answer is Abraham.  Where he is declared righteous, this righteousness comes through faith, not by works of the law.   Abraham believed in the promise he was given, backed by the security of the covenant.  We believe in the promise given to us backed by Christ’s own body and blood.
Our faith is as equally founded as Abraham’s.


Romans 4:19 (ESV)
19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.
Romans 4:23 (ESV)
23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,

Who’s sake, then,

Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Promises given to Abram and Israel are real and will be delivered, and there are blessings to “all the families of the earth” or the gentile nation.
Consider how Galatians speaks of Abraham. Paul says:

Galatians 3:17–19 (ESV)
17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.
18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

We’re seeing a patient God who laid out His plan in time, giving us examples of fallenness, His loving patients towards His people, and his sovereign power to protect His elect.
Similarly, in John’s gospel, we read:

John 1:16–17 (ESV)
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The law wasn’t with Abraham, it would come later, and it would come by Moses, not Abraham (Moses would be born some 400 years after Abraham).  Abraham’s righteousness wasn’t about law-following. It was faithfully trusting and following God.  Remember, his faith was secured by God’s call and by God’s many covenants with him, and that should encourage us to look to God’s promises in scripture.  We should be encouraged to look to the gospel security.  Encouraged that the God-man is our final and perfect offering to God and our righteousness.  This should encourage us to follow after God, in Christ, called by the spirit, and trusting God’s love.
So now as we’re about to see this second covenant, God comes to Abraham and says: “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 
Abraham is 99. God came to him and said, I am God Almighty, El Shaddai, the all-sufficient one. This is the first use of El Shaddai in scripture. The next is Genesis 35 with Joshua, which has interesting parallels to Abraham’s own story.

Abraham slept with Hagar and had Ishmael, who was now 13 years old by the time God returned to him.


3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,
4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.

We see in verse 6 that God intends that a king will rule Israel.  Later, after the Abrahamic covenant, we’ll see the people become enslaved by Egypt and then be freed by God using Moses, and they become their own kingdom, ruled over by a government written into the Mosaic covenant. Saul will be the first King, then David ushering the Davidic covenant, and we get the promise of the eternal kingdom over BOTH Israel and the world ruled by an heir of David. Where do I get that … glad you asked:

2 Samuel 7:12–16 (ESV)
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,
15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”

See NT commentary on the same pulling this promise of Kingship forward in Jesus.

Luke 1:32–38 (ESV)
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

See also Ezekiel 34:23, Isaiah 9:6-7, Zechariah 9:9, and Matthew 21:9 for more references to fulfilling the prophecies relating to the Kingship which all point to Christ.

Ezekiel 34:23 (ESV)
23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)
6 For to us a child is born,    to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder,    and his name shall be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and of peace    there will be no end,on the throne of David and over his kingdom,    to establish it and to uphold itwith justice and with righteousness    from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
The Coming King of Zion
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he,humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Matthew 21:9 (ESV)
9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Abraham heard this promise for offspring before. Look at 12:2, 13:16, and 16:01.  We see all that God, the almighty all, powerful gives 7 I will statements:

Genesis 12:2 (ESV)
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

Genesis 13:16 (ESV)
16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.

Genesis 16:1 (ESV)
Sarai and Hagar
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.

9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

On the idea of covenant and faith in balance, John Calvin said:
“a sacrament is nothing else than a visible word, or sculpture and image of that grace of God, which the word more fully illustrates. If, then, there is a mutual relation between the word and faith; it follows, that the proposed end and use of sacraments is to help, promote and confirm faith”
Like we see in Abraham, God re-visits him several times in varying forms and revelation of the fuller covenant as he hears the promises in 12, 13, and 16 – now the circumcision, God encourages our faith as we walk with Him, in the sacrament for us today such as Baptism and Communion; they aren’t salvific, but they enable us in our faith and are a ready reminder of God’s presence and power, grace mercy and love.

Isaac’s Birth Promised
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”
19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.
20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.
21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

God suffered through faith with the patriarchs who tried his love, as with the apostles and as with us – the love of God is long-suffering and doesn’t find us perfected and ready for salvation. Instead, God changes our minds of hatred towards him and makes us willing to receive the gospel of salvation.  Like John 13:1.  God promised a child to Abraham and Sarah, and they took another route and decided that Abraham should sleep with Sarah’s servant and have the child of promise. God patiently returns, re-ratifies the promise, changes Sari’s name to Sarah (or princess) and promises king through her. As we showed earlier, the kingly line of Christ, the final Adam, is being drawn to satisfy the way for salvation promises in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,    and between your offspring and her offspring;he shall bruise your head,    and you shall bruise his heel.”

John 13:1 (ESV)
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.


Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him.
24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised.
27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Abraham’s encounter with El Shaddai God changed him.  The sign of the circumcision was taken on by himself and everyone in his house.  Similarly, we Christians, as we reflect on the unfolding plan of salvation that we, can see vastly more clearly know, that the great worth of God surpasses any trial and or discomfort in this life because of the eternal weight of glory.

Let’s trust God’s plan, trust God’s love and trust him to build a lasting faith in us as we stay close and grow in Grace, like Abraham.

When we survey and see that Sarah was a princess and Abraham, a father of Kings. We see those promises come in the line of David, carrying forward promises realized in Christ. We know him as a priest.  As King of nations joined in faith, like Abraham’s pre-circumcision pronouncement of faith – we should be encouraged in our El Shaddai God, who can accomplish His will, no matter how seemingly impossible, finishes what he started, even the work of salvation in us.

Romans 8:35–39 (ESV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
36 As it is written,
       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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