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Genesis 17:15-22

Joyful Expectation

15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.


Dreams do come true. All Abraham had ever wanted, all that he had ever dreamed about, was to have a legitimate heir to carry on the family name. God would make that dream come true. With God nothing is impossible!

Just as He had changed Abraham's name to remind him of the promise, so He now changed Sarah's name. The name Sarai means my lady or my princess, but her new name, Sarah, means princess of a multitude. Sarah was about to be blessed by God with a son that would fulfill all of God's promises and all of Abraham's dreams. She would be the mother of many nations and of many kings.

Abraham was so filled with emotion at the sound of God's words that he fell on his face again and burst into laughter. It was not that he doubted God, but simply could not contain his joy. "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:19-22)

The sign of a true believer is the joy that fills his heart, because he so believes in the promises of God that he cannot contain himself. It is the type of joy that causes us to want to tell the world about Jesus Christ, that fills the assembly hall with the joyful sounds of God's people praising Him in song, and that helps us get through the problems and sufferings of this world. Godly joy keeps us pressing onward toward the mark that God has set before us, the promise of eternal life in His presence.

Nevertheless, Abraham was still concerned for Ishmael, whom he loved. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his dream for Ishmael's sake. He prayed for Ishmael, asking if he could be the one God would use? Couldn't Ishmael walk in God's presence and enjoy the promise? We should all pray for our children and their future. They are our responsibility, and God will honor our prayers for them.

God promised Abraham that Ishmael had been blessed and that many nations and twelve princes would descend from him. This was, in a lesser sense, similar to the promise made to Isaac, who would father the twelve tribes of Israel through his son Jacob.

Isaac, however, would be the son through whom the entire world would be blessed. God would once again confirm this covenant with him and with Jacob his son. This was a perpetual covenant and an everlasting covenant, which was fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our eternal Lord. How wonderful Abraham must have felt to hear God confirm His covenant in such detail! Abraham laughed.

Where is the joy in our churches? Lets make the rafters ring with the sounds of a joyful people. We are the children of the promise! Our prayers should reflect the joy of a people who are saved from destruction; our music should shout the praises of the One who has prepared a mansion for us; and our daily lives should be lived with the excitement of a people who are on their way to eternal rewards. Why are we not even more excited about the promise than Abraham was? We have received all of its benefits.

Before The Throne:

Oh, give thanks that you have received the promise! Praise the Lord with a joyful sound. Ask Him to help you share your joy by telling others that they too can receive the promise. Pray that everything you do would reflect your faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for your children to be filled with the same joy that Christ has given you.

For Further Study:

(v.15)
** As. Gen 32:28; 2Sa 12:25;

(v.16) ** And I. Gen 1:28; 12:2; 24:60; Ro 9:9; ** give. Gen 18:10-14; ** be a mother of nations. Gen 35:11; Ga 4:26-31; 1Pe 3:6; ** kings. Isa 49:23;

(v.17) ** fell. Le 9:24; Nu 14:5; 16:22,45; De 9:18,25; Jos 5:14; 7:6; Jud 13:20; 1Ch 21:16; Job 1:20; Eze 1:28; Da 8:17; Mt 2:11; Re 5:8; 11:16; ** laughed. Gen 18:12; 21:6; Joh 8:56; Ro 4:19,20;

(v.18)
** O that. Jer 32:39; Ac 2:39; ** before. Gen 4:12,14; Ps 4:6; 41:12; Isa 59:2;

(v.19) ** Sarah. Gen 18:10-14; 21:2,3,6; 2Ki 4:16,17; Lu 1:13-20; Ro 9:6-9; Ga 4:28-31;

(v.20) ** I have blessed. Gen 16:10-12; ** twelve. Gen 25:12-18; ** and I. Gen 21:13,18;

(v.21) ** my. Gen 21:10-12; 26:2-5; 46:1; 48:15; Ex 2:24; 3:6; Lu 1:55,72; Ro 9:5,6,9; Ga 3:29; Heb 11:9; ** at. Gen 18:10; 21:2,3; Job 14:13; Ac 1:7;

(v.22) Gen18:33; 35:9-15; Ex 20:22; Nu 12:6-8; De 5:4; Jud 6:21; 13:20; Joh 1:18; 10:30;

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