Summary: This sermon explores the spiritual lessons from Genesis 17 as God reveals Himself as El Shaddai and changes Abram and Sarai's names.


A. One day, a woman pregnant with twins got into a car accident and fell into a deep coma for 6 months.

1. When she awoke from the coma and saw that she was no longer pregnant and she frantically asked the doctor about her babies.

2. The doctor replied, “Ma’am your twins are fine, you have a boy and a girl. Since you were unconscious, your brother named the children for you.”

3. “Oh no!” the woman thought to herself, “My brother is so irresponsible and unpredictable!”

4. The woman asked the doctor, “So, what did he name my daughter?”

a. The doctor answered, “Denise.”

5. The woman said, “He did okay, I like the name Denise. What did he name my son?”

a. The doctor answered, “Denephew.”

B. Names are an interesting thing – each of us has our own tastes in names.

1. Some of us like certain names, while others like different names.

2. Names represent people and companies – some we like and have confidence in and others not so much.

3. When it comes to grocery stores for many in Central New York the Wegman’s name is it, while others prefer Tops, or Aldi, or Walmart.

4. When it comes to computers, some have more confidence in the ones named Apple, while others prefer Toshiba or HP.

5. When it comes to cars, some won’t buy a car unless it has the name Chevy or Ford, while for others it has to say Toyota or Honda or Jaguar.

6. Sometimes companies make mistakes with the names they choose.

a. General Motors had a very hard time marketing in Central and South America a certain car that had sold very well in the U.S.

b. The car was called the Chevy Nova - In Spanish “Nova” means “It Doesn’t Go.” No Go!

C. In today’s segment from the story of Abraham, we are going to see some names being changed and another name being introduced for the first time, and we are going to learn why it is important to go with a name you can trust.

1. In our sermon last week, we watched Abraham and Sarah get impatient and try to take matters into their own hands to bring about the descendants that God had promised.

2. Abraham followed Sarah’s suggestion and took Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant as a second wife.

3. Hagar immediately became pregnant which created a lot of strife and conflict between everyone involved.

4. When Sarah made life unbearable, Hagar ran away, but the angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness and sent her back to Abraham and Sarah armed with strength and hope.

5. Months later Hagar’s son, Ishmael was born - Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael arrived.

6. That’s how Genesis chapter 16 closes, so now let’s see how chapter 17 opens.

I. The Story

A. The Bible says: 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty (El Shaddai); walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” (Gen. 17:1-2)

1. Did you notice how much time passed between the last verse of chapter 16 and the first verse of chapter 17?

a. Thirteen years – Abraham was 86 at the end of 16 and he was 99 at the beginning of 17.

b. As far as we know, those 13 years have passed in silence –no visions, no voices, no visits from the Lord – only silence.

2. It’s not too hard for us to imagine silence from God, because that is our experience with the Lord for the most part, right?

a. As far as I know, God hasn’t made any personal appearances to any of us.

3. That was not the case for Abraham – God has made numerous appearances to him.

a. God had previously appeared to Abraham in chapters 12, 13, and 15.

b. In chapter 12, when God told Abraham to leave his country, people and father’s household, Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran to follow the Lord (Gen. 12:1-4).

c. In chapter 13, when God appeared to him after the separation from Lot, and God promised Abraham all the land he could see and that his offspring would not be able to be counted, so Abraham built an altar to the Lord (Gen. 13:14-18).

d. In chapter 15, God appeared to Abraham to promise him an heir and Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:1-6)

e. Now, years later, when Abraham was 99 years old, God appeared to him again to renew the promise and to do a few other important things.

B. So, God broke the long silence with a fresh introduction of his identity.

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