Read 10.) Genesis 16:1 thru 18:15. Who picks a man to be the father of a brand new nation that doesn’t have any children? God did! He first came to Abram at 75 and promised him many descendants. With chapter 16, ten years pass, and this man still doesn’t have a child. What’s God doing? No problem! Just help God out, and give Abram a young Egyptian maidservant. If only they’d asked God first! Well, at 86, Abram has his first son, Ishmael, but, this child will not be the son of promise, (see 17:15-22), but would forever be the son of those who would bring grief to the promised nation, and to all the world right on down to our very day today, as this son becomes the father of all the Semitic Arabic peoples from out of which Islam came. Please note a new Bible character, the Angel of the Lord here. Who is this? We’ll see Him many times, and over many years. Is this personage divine? Could He be the preincarnate Christ? What is going to happen next?
Chapter 17 relates more intense personal inter-action between Abram and the One, True and Living God. It opens with a 5th contact between these two. See how 13 more years have passed, too. Within the first 8 verses, we see the promise of descendants and land, but also of many nations. With his name change to Abraham, comes the New Testament promise, found in Romans 4:11 and Galatians 3:26-29, that all Christian believers become children of Abraham, and finds fulfillment in what is said in Revelation 5, especially verse 9. We see a connection with the beginning of the story in Genesis… to the very end of the story in the Revelation, even down to Rev.21:24. It really is all One Book! With the remainder of chapter 17, we learn of the covenant of circumcision between Abraham, with all his sons, and Yahweh, the God of Israel, still practiced by his Jewish descendants 4,000 years later!
Then, in chapter 18, the first 15 verses, we have an unusual story of a visit by God to Abraham that takes place about the very same time as those things we just read in chapter 17. It is an amazing account which serves a faith-building purpose for anyone who reads it, as it is important to come away with the belief He, Himself, states for us in verse 14. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And, we are to arrive at the answer found later, in Luke chapter 1, and verse 37, when an angel tells the virgin, Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Indeed, it’s what the Book is all about! Believe!
Harold F Crowell