Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after the Second Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord

Posted on January 21, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Genesis 17:1-22 (NKJV)
17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
When Abram was 75 years old, he left Ur. When he was 85 years old, God made a covenant with him (Gen. 15). Now it is 14 years later, and God is giving Abram a few more details about this covenant. Patience, Abram!
The details of today’s reading reside in the names:
Although Abram and Sarai are well beyond the age of bearing children, his God is El Shaddai, the Almighty One (v.1)! With God nothing is impossible. The Blessed Virgin Mary learned this truth, when she was given the announcement that she would bear a child named Jesus, meaning “One who saves.”
God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, the father of the multitude (v.3). God’s promise is that Abraham will be the “father of many nations” (v.5). This prophecy is not fulfilled until the one nation Israel becomes many nations in the spreading of the Gospel to all nations (Matt. 28:19).
After receiving the news of the covenant (Gen. 15), Abram listened to Sarai’s advice to use Hagar as a surrogate. She gave birth to Ishmael. By changing Sarai’s name to Sarah, “princess,” God makes it clear that the Promised Seed will come through his wife, not a surrogate. God grants Abraham’s prayer to bless Ishmael, but the covenant will be established through the future son, Isaac.
Our name is changed when we are baptized. From then on we are called “Christian.” We are united with Christ in our baptism through faith. God bestows upon us the title “son of God” (Gal. 2).
We pray: Almighty God, though we have sinned, You have called us blessed and righteous through faith in Jesus, the One who saves. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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