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Genesis 17:1-14

Talks for Growing Christians

The Sign of the Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 17:1-14

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Lesson Number 36

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God can and will keep His covenant with believers.
  2. Believers are obligated to walk in line with God’s covenant.

Practical Application

  1. Believers are obligated to walk in line with God’s covenant.

Questions

  1. Why did God change Abram’s name to Abraham? What is the meaning of these two names?
  2. Why did God change Abram’s name to Abraham? What is the meaning of these two names?
  3. Why did God change Abram’s name to Abraham? What is the meaning of these two names?
  4. Note the number of times that God says, “I will,” in Genesis 17:1-8.
  5. By what name did God reveal Himself to Abraham?

Answers

  1. God was going to keep His covenant promise to make Abraham the father of many nations and of many kings. See Genesis 17:6. Abram means exalted father. Abraham means father of multitudes.
  2. God instituted circumcision as the sign of the covenant. The covenant had to do with the promised seed and descendants of Abraham. The association is obvious between circumcision and having children. Furthermore, this sign would visibly confront and perhaps prevent any Jewish male and female from departing from God’s clearly defined sexual boundaries. Circumcision was a cutting rite - the implication was that if any Jewish male was not circumcised or did not keep the covenant, then he was to be cut off from the covenant community.
  3. No. God planned, designed and initiated the covenant. It is His and He will keep it.
  4. Refer to Genesis 17:1-8 and count the “I wills” of God.
  5. “I am God Almighty” (El Shaddai). This is the first occurrence of that name in the Bible. It refers to God’s majestic might and His ability to keep His promises.

Discuss/Consider

  1. God can and will keep His covenant promises to believers today. Consider some of God’s promises to you, as found in His word. Do you believe them? Do you behave as if you believed them?
  2. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional and everlasting. It was instituted by God, but Abraham and his descendants were obligated to keep it. See Genesis 17:9. Keeping the covenant was not just practicing the sign, but also walking in line with the covenant. What are the implications for believers today?

Challenge

  1. Contrast the world’s formula for living and God’s formula for living. Do the right thing.

Key Verses

  • The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” Genesis 17:1
  • I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants, for an everlasting covenant.” Genesis 17:7
  • “Keep My covenant.” Genesis 17:9

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