Getting older is often portrayed as either an overly lazy season in life (think retirement commercials) or a sad part of life (health issue-related commercials). But late in life is not the end of life; in fact, the second half of life can be when God does his greatest work. In today’s passage, Abram was 99 years old—a little over halfway through his life—yet God was about to institute his covenant with Abram in a way that changed Abram’s name, body, future, and legacy.
- When you grow older, what do you hope to be proud of?
- What will you still look forward to, or what accomplishments will you still hope to achieve?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 17:1-14 (ESV)
17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for 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 offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 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 throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- List all the things God promised to do for Abram in verses 2-8.
- What did God require of Abram (vss. 9-13)? What was the purpose of circumcision (vs. 11)?
- How did the physical act of obedience of Abraham and his decedents compare to what God promised to do for Abraham and his offspring (vss. 12-14)?
- The Lord appeared to Abram when Abram was 99 years old. What excuses do you give about not being in the right “season of life” to fully invest in God?
RESPOND TO GOD
God set up a covenant with Abraham that would last forever. Nations, kings, land, and a future would all be given so that generations might worship God, and God himself is the one who would make it happen. Abraham had a relatively passive role to play, giving a mere sign of his obedience and trust in God. God is the one who acts and gives and promises and blesses. And it was this covenant that worked its way through the people of Israel and kings like David and Solomon and their heir king, Jesus, through whom a new covenant was given that promises us an everlasting hope and a future.
- Thank God that you have been adopted into a wonderful story of love and redemption.
- Ask God how you can participate in his plan.