Abraham: God's Plan
On stage here with a volcano behind me, first of all is really cool! Secondly I think about and consider the immense power that is demonstrated by a volcano… when it decides to erupt you don’t see people scold or rebuke it, as the molten lava flows down the side into the sea below you never see anyone stand in its path and say no further! Such power and might we see in a volcano. YET, when it comes to our God, we see even greater power and even greater might!!!
Somehow we have the audacity to scoff at, scold, rebuke and even attempt to stand in the way of HIS PLANS!
God’s Unfolding Work...
God’s Unfolding Work...
From the moment Abram met God, there has been a unveiling of God’s work and plan.
We see the introduction in Genesis 12:2-3
And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
In Genesis 15 we see God enter into a covenant with Abram and his descendants, as He reveals in greater detail His unfolding plan
We see Abram introduce his idea of the plan with his servant ELIEZER in Genesis 15
God says NOT THIS MAN!
At least this time Abram was discussing things with God
We see last week Sarai’s plan for Abram to have a child with her maidservant Hagar in Genesis 16
God is not even sought out on this idea
Well we looked at how that went…
We will see that Abram tries to continue to make this plan work some too
As we approach Genesis 17 we see God reveal more of His plan.
God will establish His Covenant through a son from Sarai and Abram (Isaac)
God will change their names to Abraham and Sarah
The sign of circumcision is established for Abraham and his descendants
This is NOT a new covenant from chapter 15… God is merely revealing more of the details and there is responsibility on Abram’s part as we will see
This covenant will continue to unfold as scripture is given to man from God
This chapter takes place about 25 years after God’s initial contact with Abram.
PATIENCE is vital for us to have as we allow God to work His will in our lives… He cannot be rushed, His plans will succeed!
Proverbs 19:21 …and Job 42:2 are just a few examples…
Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.
“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Consider the “I will” statements in this chapter…
Turn to chapter 17 and look at these verses with me (Genesis 17:2;4;5;6;7;8;16;19;20;21 )
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
“No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
“I have made you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
“I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
“I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
“But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”
Verses 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 19, 20, 21
This is God’s Plan and it will be, it will succeed!!!
God at the beginning of this chapter introduces Himself as El Shadday! (God Almighty)
First time in the scriptures this is used of God and He declares this of Himself!
I believe God waits sometimes so that we see HIM WORK!!!
This chapter opens and ends referencing AGE...
Verse 1 Abram is ninety-nine (Genesis 17:1)
Now 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.
Verse 24 Abraham is ninety-nine (Genesis 17:24)
Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
GOD ALMIGHTY can and does do the IMPOSSIBLE!!! We serve a powerful God!
What God is stating He will do is going to ONLY be attributed to Him, only He will get the glory!
What is the appropriate response to this ALMIGHTY GOD???… WORSHIP
We see Abram’s response in Genesis 17:3;17
Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
I love that scripture records the thoughts of Abraham’s heart! His humanity
You and I cannot escape God knowing our hearts… let’s be honest with Him!
What is it that this Almighty God commands…
Walk before me
Not a run, sprint, marathon… Rather one step in front of the other trusting God
this is the same term here used of the sacrificial animals
Morally grounded even after mistakes
Examine yourself, there is a visible difference for the one who walks with God
REMEMBER MY PLAN!
REMEMBER MY PLAN!
You and I are prone to forgetting… we commit to God, make promises, and then life happens and we soon forget.
God wanted Abram and his descendants after him to remember, to obey
God does several things to help him and us remember...
ABRAM (exalted father) to ABRAHAM (father of a multitude) verse 5
Every time someone addressed him by this name he would remember
Wonder what his acquaintances thought when he told them his new name
SARAI to SARAH meaning princess as she would have a son who from him would come rulers
ISAAC which means laughter
Remember you laughed at my plan, you didn’t believe, he will bring laughter to your home
*** I find it interesting that Abraham desires to hold onto his plan in the midst of this… verse 18 God can’t you use Ishmael? God’s answer is clear NO. I will establish my covenant with Isaac. ***
One other name ISHMAEL= “God hears” Genesis 17:20-21 God hears Abraham and blesses Ishmael but not with the covenant.
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”
This covenant would be between Abraham and his descendants… Genesis 17:9-11
God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
God has supplied and worked not through the flesh as Abraham and Sarah had tried
What an amazing visual reminder that God brought about through the childless as each generation that came after would remember as they circumcised their boys at eight day old… (I AM EL SHADDAY)
NOTICE: this sign of circumcision is external… faith has already occured in Abraham’s heart Romans 4:11
and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,
Our faith should produce an external obedience to the Lord
Following God’s Plan
Following God’s Plan
Simply put it is called obedience… Abraham had faith. Even if he did not like the plan, he obeyed.
Genesis 23-27 record for us his obedience!
He did not put it off
He did not try to figure out ways to delay or make it easier
That very same day… immediate obedience
There was no I like my name
There was no this is going to be difficult
There was no what will others think
You and I serve an Almighty God… what is he telling you to do?
What aspect of the flesh is he telling you to cats aside
What in your walk is hindering you
What is God saying NO to?
Will you respond in obedience…