6/26/10 When Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him. Later he went up from Abram at the end of their conversation, so by the sounds of it this could easily have been an physical meeting between the two.
God first announced himself, “I am God Almighty.” Then his instructions: “Walk before me and be blameless.” Abram already did this, but he could always grow. It was always a goal to strive for. The resulting promise would be, “I will give you my covenant and multiply you.” Then Abram fell on his face before God and God changed his name to Abraham, which means father of a multitude.
In NASB God’s words switch from poetry to prose at this point. God expanded on the details of what the covenant would look like and what the multiplication would look like. The covenant sign was to be circumcision. The multiplication would be nations and kings of peoples. To reflect this, God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. Changing a woman’s name is unprecedented anywhere else in the Bible.
In response to all of this Abraham fell on his face again, which means that he must have risen from before. But this time he fell down laughing. However, his laughing wasn’t a reaction of disbelief but of joy and incredulity over God’s ways of making impossibilities into realities.
Abraham, then, true to form, asked something more of God. He asked that Ismael might also walk before him. God did not change his original plan to not incorporate Ismael into his covenant blessing with Isaac, but he did promise to bless him and also to make of him a mighty nation. Isaac’s line, though, would be a pure line leading up to the Messiah.
In complete obedience Abraham circumcised himself and his household.
Find devotional commentaries on other books of the Bible at www.scoggins.biz. Also find information about my book on Revelation.