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17 15-27 Unbelievable

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                                                  liberty bible church          8/12/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist


Genesis 17:15-27


Illus. of Wingclip “Broken No Vow” Mary told an unbelievable story; too much for her parents or for Joseph. This birth was truly a miracle. We all know the story and it’s not the only unbelievable story in God’s Word. He is the master of the unbelievable and we see another unbelievable story in our passage tonight.  

OPEN to passage.                                       


Prop. In this passage, we see God provide another miracle birth for a couple.  

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Last week, Abram got a new name and a covenantal sign. We continue tonight with an…

 i. unbelievable Announcements vs. 15-22

Illus. of Bulletin bloopers. These are unbelievable announcements, but not as unbelievable as the one Abraham gets here. Once again…

a. the names are changed to identify the blessed  

V 15    1. Last week we saw Abram changed to Abraham. (exalted father to father of a multitude) This week, it is Sarai’s turn. Her name is changed from Sarai (my princess) to Sarah, meaning “princess,” an appropriate name for her as you will see shortly.

V 16    2. Abraham thought God’s promise would be fulfilled through Ishmael, but it was to be fulfilled through another child of Sarah. Not only would she bear a son for Abraham, because of God’s blessings upon her, entire nations and kings would come from her. Truly, at her age of 90, she was going to be blessed. Abraham’s response?

b. that’s a laugh

V 17    1. He laughed! Right in the face of God. He was 100 and Sarah was 90. Even in this time period, people didn’t have children. It was biologically impossible. To Abraham, this seemed impossible. Notice how God knows what’s in his mind. He doesn’t have to say the words. God knows what’s there.

V 18    2. One last appeal for Ishmael. This is more believable and culturally acceptable. He’s already here. But it was not to be. Abraham laughed, but, God gets the last laugh.

c. that’s a last laugh

V 19a   1. No! Sarah, his WIFE, would bear the son of promise. And here’s his name; Isaac. “he laughs” Every time Abraham and Sarah would call their son’s name, they would be reminded, not only that they laughed at God’s Word, but that God is the worker of miracles. This would be a perpetual reminder for all of Israel, as well as followers of Christ today.

V 19a   2. The promises God made would be fulfilled through Isaac and his descendants. It would last forever. However, Ishmael was not to be forgotten.

V 20    3. God answered Abraham’s prayers for his son Ishmael. He too would be blessed and become great. Even the number of his sons was given here. They are listed in Gen. 25:13-15 However, the son of promises was yet to be born.

V 21    4. But, he would be soon.

V 22    5. God said it and that settles it. That is still true today and we can choose to believe it or not. Abraham chose to believe it and his next act proved it.

Trans. Abraham receives an UNBELIEVABLE ANNOUNCEMENT. Next, he fulfills an…

ii. unbelievable Assignment vs. 23-27

Illus. of “Dirty Room” A friend often told me about the problems he had getting his son to clean his room. The son would always agree to tidy up, but then wouldn’t follow through. After high school the young man joined the Marine Corps. When he came home for leave after basic training, his father asked him what he had learned in the service. “Dad,” he said. “I learned what ‘now’ means.” Contributed by Jan King, Humor in Uniform, Readers Digest, May, 1996, p. 174. Our prompt, persistent obedience to God demonstrates that our belief is real; our willingness to follow Him when our flesh may not desire to and when what He is asking seems to make no sense. That is certainly true with Abraham here. There is…

a. an unbelievable assignment for abraham  

V 23a   1. Abraham was to take his son, all his servants and their children, and himself and circumcise them all. You’ll recall last week that this was to be a sign to all his descendants forever. They were removing all the impurities and they were trusting God to supply the miracles needed to sustain this people. And he did it that day. He didn’t have to pray about it. When it’s in God’s Word, it doesn’t have to be prayed about.

V 23b  2. This is critical. He did just as God had said. He was following God’s Word.

V 24-   3. Abraham was 99, Ishmael was 13, and the rest were ages in between and even younger. This was a drastic

        26            assignment, one I’m sure many may have complained about. But, they were obedient to God’s Word, demonstrating that Abraham’s faith was genuine.

b. no cigars for this group

       Illus. of passing out bubble gum cigars when Jess was born. Not any more. For Abraham’s men, their celebration was not really a celebration, at least not from a human perspective.   

V 27    1. They all were circumcised. As members of Abraham’s household, they all would receive blessings along with Abraham whether they believed or not. This didn’t necessarily save them all.  

            2. The same is true today. You can go through the ceremony of church, but, all individually must decide to obey God.


Abraham receives an UNBELIEVABLE ANNOUNCEMENT about him and Sarah. Next, he fulfills an UNBELIEVABLE ASSIGNMENT by obeying God in a difficult circumstance. What does this mean for us? Do we have to go out and torture ourselves for God?

1.      Realize that God to save us is unbelievable. GOSPEL 

            2.   Belief in Christ results in works. John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” 1      John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

It is not hard to obey God’s Word. He enables us to do what He requires. It’s our willingness that matters. When He reveals Himself, do we listen?

Illus. of Wingclip “I Believe You”

What Mary told Joseph was unbelievable. But, after Joseph knew the truth from God, he willingly obeyed, no matter what the cost. We need to believe the unbelievable to the point that we will do the unthinkable. We can do this because we serve a God who makes the impossible, possible. That is unbelievable. Do you believe that?



                                                  liberty bible church          8/12/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist


Genesis 17:15-27


God is the master of the unbelievable and we see another unbelievable story in our passage tonight. 

 i. unbelievable                                                                                     vs. 15-22

a. the names are changed to identify the blessed 

b. that’s a laugh

c. that’s a _________________ _____________________

ii. unbelievable                                                                                    vs. 23-27

a. for abraham 

b. no __________________________ for this group



What does this mean for us? Do we have to go out and torture ourselves for God?



            Cf. John 15:14; 1 John 5:3


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