Genesis Bible study: Chapter 15–17
Abraham finally speaks up
God appears to Abram again and blesses him
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.””
Genesis 15:1 NLT
Abram speaks up and reminds God that he doesn’t have any children who will inherit these blessings that God has promised.
Abram then tells God that his most trusted servant Eliazer will be his heir.
God then tells Abram not to worry. That he would have a son of his own. Abram believed God.
“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
Genesis 15:6 NLT
God then tells Abram that the land he is currently living in would be given to him and his descendants as their inheritance. Abram wonders how it would happen and then God tells Abram how.
“Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.””
Genesis 15:13–16 NLT
God really gave Abram the full gist. His descendants really went through 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
Sarai is impatient
Sarai takes matters into her own hands and gives her maid Hagar to Abram to produce an heir.
Abram a man that doesn’t want wahala from his wife, complies.
Hagar gets pregnant and then becomes very arrogant.
Sarai gets upset and blames Abram.
Women and wahala. Was it not her idea? Why is she now blaming the poor Abram
Sarai treated Hagar very poorly till she eventually ran away.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar and told her to go back home, that her cries had been heard by God.
The Angel then prophesies:
“Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.””
Genesis 16:10–12 NLT
Hagar returned home, gave birth to a son and named him Ishmael.
Abraham was 75 when he left Haran and 86 when Ishmael was born.
When Abram was 99 God appeared to him again.
With the same blessings and promises of many descendants.
He makes a covenant with Abram and his descendants, to be their God and to bless them.
The terms of the covenant are Abram must serve God faithfully and live a blameless life. Abram and his descendants must also circumcise all male children on the 8th day after their birth.
God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah.
Their names meaning Father and Mother of many nations respectively.
God promises a son that would come through 90 year old Sarah and at this point Abraham speaks up.
“Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!””
Genesis 17:17–18 NLT
God affirms that Sarah would have a son and it’s through this son that the covenant would be established.
God however also promises to bless Ishmael and make his descendants great.
“As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.””
Genesis 17:20–21 NLT
Abram then goes and circumcises all the males in his household.
What I learned from these chapters
Abraham was counted righteous, not because of what he did, but simply because He had faith in God. He was counted as righteous before the covenant was made and the circumcision was done.
I was inspired by Abraham’s faith so far. He seemed to just calmly accept God’s promise. It was nice to see him become really human and question an wonder when and how God’s word would happen.
Sarah took matters into her own hands and that didn’t work out for anyone. You can’t help God, God will do what He says He will do and when He wants to do it. It is important to trust God’s timing.
God made time, so He is not bound by it. We as finite humans are limited by time, but God is limitless. God isn’t bothered by the physical limitations you think you have, He works well even in our weaknesses.
I love how God gave Abraham the details of what was going to happen to his descendants before they eventually inhabit the land. God usually doesn’t give too much details, but He did here.
There was also something I noticed:
“After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.””
Genesis 15:16 NLT
The people of the land were very sinful and they were meant to be punished for their sin. But note how long it was going to take before they’d be destroyed; 4 generations. God was willing to wait that long for them to repent. (Eventually they didn’t)
God gave them a chance regardless. He wasn’t quick to bring punishment but was patient.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9 NLT