Circumcision and the Promise
The act of circumcision was a part of the covenant which included the land promise (). It should be noted the giving of the land was unconditional, but retaining it was conditional (Deuteronomy 28:58-64; Deuteronomy 29:22-28). The land promise was later fulfilled under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 21:43-45; Joshua 23:14-16). Solomon reigned over the promised land. Nehemiah said God"s promise had been fulfilled (1 Kings 4:20-21; Nehemiah 9:7-8).
During the renewal of the land promise, Abram"s name was changed. Abram meant "exalted father." It was changed by God to Abraham, which means "father of a multitude" (). As the new name implies, many people would one day come out of the loins of Abraham.
Christ and the Seed Promise
Paul tells us Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the seed promise (Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:14; Galatians 3:16). All people can be blessed by him because he died for all (John 3:16-17; Matthew 20:28). Thus, the fulfillment of the promise to Abram extends to us today. While the other promises were fulfilled in Abraham"s seed according to the flesh, this is filled in his spiritual seed. The faithful of the Christian age can truly call Abraham their father and claim this wonderful promise of blessing (Galatians 3:29).
Laughing At God"s Promise
When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God told him Sarah would bear a son (Genesis 17:15-16). It is interesting that her name was changed just as Abraham"s had been. Sarah means "princess." Her new name was appropriate since the greatest king the world has ever known would come from her descendants. Abraham laughed at the thought of a one hundred year old man and a ninety year old woman bearing a child after years with no offspring. His laughter did not rest completely in disbelief. Paul said he hoped against hope (Romans 4:13-25). Abraham suggested Ishmael as the one through whom the covenant could be kept, but God assured him the covenant would be established with Isaac (17:17-22).
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 17". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany