Trusting leads to a life marked by God - Andrea Lennon
Welcome to episode seven in our journey through the life of Abraham! We are in Genesis 17. This week we will continue to see how God never forgets His promise. God is a promise maker and a promise keeper! Friend, we have a daily opportunity to be “all in” with God. What does “all-in” look like? God’s encounter with Abram in Genesis 17 provides a perfect example! Being “all in” leads to a life marked by God.
Between Genesis 16 and Genesis 17, fourteen years passed. Fourteen years of waiting, wondering and navigating. Fourteen years of hard. From Abram’s perspective, he was probably asking:
- Waiting: “What is God’s plan from here?”
- Wondering: “Did I blow it? Can Ishmael be the child of Promise?”
- Navigating: “How can I navigate the challenging dynamic of Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael?”
Abram was 99 years old when God appeared to him once again and reconfirmed the covenant. God moved the process forward by giving Abram a sign of the covenant and changing Abram’s name to Abraham. This sign marked Abraham and his descendants as God’s chosen people. The outward sign of circumcision represented an inward change of heart.
Today we are going to see four inward changes that give proof to the outward sign.
Genesis 17: Four Inward Signs of Change
- Be Blameless: (Genesis 17:1-8) God’s heart has always been for blamelessness. This word communicates the call to be faultless before God. Abram had been anything but faultless before God. Like us, Abram blew it time and time again. God is ever faithful and continually reveals His character even in the midst of our sin and struggle. Genesis 17 is the first time God introduces Himself as El Shaddai: The Lord Almighty. God was reminding Abram of His sufficiency and mighty power to accomplish His promises according to His will and timetable. Let that truth sink in. We can be blameless not because of who we are or what we can do, but because of Who God is and what He can do. This was a “stake in the ground moment” between God and Abram. As a result, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Abram meant “high father.” Abraham meant “father of a multitude.”
- Be Committed: (Genesis 17:9-14) God shows His commitment to the covenant through a series of “I Will” statements.
God says I will:
- Make you very fruitful.
- Make Nations and Kings of you.
- Establish my covenant as an everlasting Covenant.
- I will give you the land.
In response, God told Abram to establish circumcision as a sign of the covenant. This sign would set Abraham and his descendants apart from all other people on the earth.
- Be Open: (Genesis 17:15-22) God goes on to share that Sarah’s name is going to change and that she will give birth to a son whose name will be Issac. Abraham laughs at this news. God promises that Isaac will be born within a year. Abraham asks if Ishmael can be part of the inheritance. God says yes, but in a different way. Abraham had to be open to God arranging and rearranging his life. The fulfillment of God’s Promise was quickly approaching. God was clear about Abraham’s life and legacy and how it would look. God’s “I will” made a way for Abraham’s “Yes, Lord!” How can we be open as God arranges and rearranges our lives and legacy? Do we trust that God is good and that His plan is good even when it doesn’t make sense?
- Be Obedient: (Genesis 17:23-27) On that very day, Abraham said, “Yes, Lord” through his actions. Abraham, Ishmael, and every male in his family/possession were circumcised. I can’t imagine the confusion among Abraham’s people as he told them what was about to happen. But God knew the importance of the circumcision process. God knew that Abraham and all his descendants (and there were lots!) needed an outward sign or a mark that reminded them of their inward inheritance or reality. That is what obedience does for us. It becomes an outward sign reminding us of our inward inheritance or reality. We are the people of God. We are marked with the righteousness of Jesus. As a result, we have the opportunity to daily respond in obedience and faith… even when it does not make sense. (Right-standing and Right-living)
Transforming Truth: Trusting God leads to a life that is marked by God. What would it look like for you to be marked by: blamelessness, commitment, openness, and obedience. These inward qualities lead to outward expressions that say, “Yes, Lord” on “this very day.”
I deeply believe that a life that is lived with God, to God, for God, and through God leads to a faith adventure that we can’t come up with or produce on our own. It is a life that is centered and focused on God’s unfolding story. God leads the way by having the plan and being a way maker. We surrender by saying, “Yes, Lord!” Sweet friend, is your “yes” on the table?