Explore the Bible Lesson for November 1: A New Name
October 20 2015 by Hilary Ratchford, member, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal passage: Genesis 17:1-8, 15-22
My husband and I enjoy reading through the Psalms together in the mornings. I was blessed when we read Psalm 105 recently, particularly in light of our study of Abraham.

Verses eight through 10 read, “He [the Lord our God] remembers His covenant forever, the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that He made with Abraham, His sworn promise to Isaac, which He confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant.”
The psalmist reiterates our lesson summary this week – God is capable of fulfilling His covenant promises.
In Genesis 17, the Lord appears to Abram, who is 99, and gives him a new name. God declares his name as Abraham for he will be the father of a multitude of nations.
El Shaddai – God Almighty – renews His promise that through Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3). As a sign of His covenant, God commands Abraham to have every male in his household circumcised (vv. 9-14).
In the next verses, Abraham casts doubt on God’s ability to deliver on His promise of a son. In fact, scripture records that Abraham “fell on his face and laughed” at God’s declaration that Sarah (changed from Sarai) will bear a son at the age of 99.
In his finite mind, Abraham offers what seems like a more reasonable alternative: Ishmael as the heir.
Yet God purposefully called Himself El Shaddai when he appeared to Abraham to declare His almighty power. He contradicts Abraham and insists that Sarah will indeed bear a son within the next year that will be the heir to God’s covenant.
His name will be Isaac, fittingly, because Abraham laughed when he learned that he and Sarah would bear a child in their old age. As we have witnessed through the narrative of Abraham, nothing is impossible with God.
God brings life. He is Creator and Sustainer. He is Almighty and capable of fulfilling all of His promises. What a beautiful picture of His promise fulfilled in the generations that are listed in Psalm 105.

10/20/2015 11:09:29 AM by Hilary Ratchford, member, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments

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