God’s Covenant-Genesis 17:1-8

Genesis 17:1-8 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. 9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.”
Genesi 17:1-8 “Quando Abramo ebbe novantanove anni, il Signore gli apparve e gli disse: «Io sono il Dio onnipotente; cammina alla mia presenza e sii integro; e io stabilirò il mio patto fra me e te e ti moltiplicherò grandemente». 3 Allora Abramo si prostrò con la faccia a terra e Dio gli parlò, dicendo: «Quanto a me, ecco il patto che faccio con te: tu diventerai padre di una moltitudine di nazioni; non sarai più chiamato Abramo, ma il tuo nome sarà Abraamo, poiché io ti costituisco padre di una moltitudine di nazioni. Ti farò moltiplicare grandemente, ti farò divenire nazioni e da te usciranno dei re. Stabilirò il mio patto fra me e te e i tuoi discendenti dopo di te, di generazione in generazione; sarà un patto eterno per il quale io sarò il Dio tuo e della tua discendenza dopo di te. A te e alla tua discendenza dopo di te darò il paese dove abiti come straniero: tutto il paese di Canaan, in possesso perenne; e sarò loro Dio. 9 Poi Dio disse ad Abraamo: Quanto a te, tu osserverai il mio patto: tu e la tua discendenza dopo di te, di generazione in generazione.».
 
     As the promise of the covenant to Abram is reaffirmed after the experiences of the battles and blessing of chapter 14, God now introduces a superlative adjective that will be used throughout Scripture. He is called “God Almighty” for the first time. The transliteration from Hebrew is “‘el sadday” or El Shaddai. Through Genesis, it will be used to describe God in the stories of Jacob and Joseph. 
     The amplification of Abram’s name to Abraham is significant. The name signals to Abram that not only will he be great but he will have great descendants. Sara was also a part of the promise. All this is quite wonderful until you realize that Abraham was ninety-nine years old. If his servants ever thought privately that he was a bit senile, they might now possibly think he had become delusional! 
     The other part of this promise has to do with the territory. He has just defeated the kings who had taken his nephew (Lot) captive and sets him free. The land wars were always a source of tension. Although Abram received favor from the ancient Amorites to live in the area, the adjacent tribes were not so accommodating. Never underestimate the profound implications of this phrase “The whole land of Canaan”
     As with any covenant promise God makes to us, there are two parties that make it effective. In verse 9, God declares His part for all the generations who will follow Abraham. But the part that has always been hard for man was keeping the covenant. As the Scriptures unfold, the success and failure of Israel was based on them protecting the covenant of God by their worship and trust. Today we face the same command. God’s plan and covenant is promised but disobedience limits our spiritual effectiveness. 
Pray with me: Lord, I know that You keep Your promises. Help me to fulfill my responsibility in guarding Your covenant in my life through my worship and trust.


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