Summary: Journey of Faith, part 7 “The God who Fulfills his Purposes”

Journey of Faith, part 7

“The God who Fulfills his Purposes”

Gen 17:1-27

David Taylor


Abraham is called on a journey that is filled with adventure, wars, lying, bad choices by Abram and those around him. But when all is said and done God is still in control, he is still on the throne, he still cares for his people and will always show himself faithful and true to his promises to secure that his promises are fulfilled. This is God’s story and He is up to something in the midst of the ordinary and sinful events in the lives of his people.

Main idea – God renews Abram faith by coming to him again with a new revelation to reassure Abram that God Almighty will fulfill his promise.

1. God Gives New Revelation (vs. 1-5)

Having a son from his servant Hagar solved one problem but created another. He has believed that Ishmael was the son of promise, a lie, for thirteen year and this son he loved created tremendous tension in the family. It is in this context that God comes to Abram in the most clearest and direct way to date. God appeared to Abram and spoke to Abram. God expands upon the promise beyond Abrams wildest dreams; it is unbelievable. God is the best communicator in the world; when he wants to make himself clear to you, he will. We may not recognize it as God because it can come in a number of ways – through reading scripture, a conversation with a friend, teaching, promptings, thoughts, a still small voice, etc.

A revelation of his person (v. 1)

God revealed himself as El Shaddai, God Almighty. This title is used in Genesis when God reminds his people that he will make them fruitful and multiply them. It means that God is all powerful with a supernatural power, that he is the sovereign God of the universe who grants, who blesses, and the one who can say something will happen because he makes it happen. God is saying that my promises and the destiny of my people cannot be determined by the human will but are ultimately determined by God. God Almighty will exert his power to provide the offspring to Abram and God Almighty will ensure that Sarah becomes pregnant.

A revelation of his promise (vs. 2-4)

God reminds Abram of the promise and then expands upon it. I will multiply you greatly (word used twice); I will make you the father of a multitude of nations (compared to a nation; 12:3). God’s promises are bigger than any problem; bigger than any weakness you have. The impossible is possible with God. God promises him that he shall be the father of a multitude of nations.

A revelation of his plan (v. 5)

Now God changes Abrams name, exalted father, to Abraham, father of a multitude. To change someone’s name in the ANE was to change the person’s status, their circumstances, and was a reminder to Abraham of Gods guarantee of his promise. Every time his name is called, it would be a reminder of Gods promise to him (Heb 11:1).

His is the father of a multitude of nations (present tense). The near fulfillment of this promise is the Jewish nation; the ultimate fulfillment of the promise is the spiritual offspring of Abraham.

2. God Gives New Reassurance (vs. 6-8; 15-22)

During Abraham’s lifetime, you see God coming to him at times that he is or could be discouraged concerning the promise to reassure him that he who promises is faithful to bring it to completion.

Concerning his fruitfulness (vs. 6)

God promises Abraham children, crowds, and crowns – offspring, nations, and kings. At this point in Abraham’s life, it seems more than improbable, it seems impossible. Abraham has lied because he did not trust that God was going to protect him; he slept with Hagar because he did not believe God would provide a son with his wife. Yet God comes and says, ‘I am still with you, I am faithful, I will keep my promise, trust in me.’ I will multiply you and make you fruitful (Gen 1:29; 9:1). Faith is not believing what is but what God promises.

Concerning his faithfulness (vs. 7-8)

This covenant is an everlasting covenant. The promise is as good as the name of God who is all powerful and will endure as long as God endures, forever. God says I will be God to you and I will be their God. Abraham was to walk before God and be blameless. The essence of the covenant is relationship. Noah is described as one who walked with God; Enoch is one who is described as who walked with God. Abraham is remembered as a friend of God. Covenant relationship with God is an invitation to relationship and the promises are given to bring forth trust.

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