The Bible is full of stories about people whose lives changed in extraordinary ways and the story of Abraham’s transformation from Abram is no exception. In Genesis 17, God appears to Abram and tells him that He will make of him a great nation. And, his name will be changed from Abram to Abraham.
The passage details God’s promise to Abraham, the sign of the covenant, and His instructions for Abraham and his descendants. This lesson explores the implications of God’s covenant with Abraham and how Abram was transformed from a wandering nomad into a man who became the father of many nations.
A promise was made to Abram from God.When the covenant was made, this was the beginning of the nation of Israel.
How Did Abram Really Become Abraham?
Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,
“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
“No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. – Genesis 17:1-8 NASB
The Promise (Contract) Between God and Abram
God is restating His covenant with Abram in this passage. The covenant mentioned here is more like the terms of a contract.
We enter into contracts many times in our lives – when we take out a loan for a car or a mortgage on our homes; when we enter into an agreement with a partner; when we take the vows of marriage; etc.
But, most contracts we enter are not as simple as the one made with God. His contract with Abram had two sections just as many contracts do today.
Abram’s part of the agreement:
Obey God and be blameless
God’s part of the agreement:
a) Abram would have many children (remember that Abram was 99 years old)
b) Abram’s descendants would produce a multitude of nations
c) The covenant God made with Abram would also be offered to his descendants (Israel)
d) The land of Canaan would be given to the descendants of Abram
Seems a little one-sided, doesn’t it?
Abram performs only two duties which are to obey God and circumcise the males in his household. In turn God would give him land, children, riches and power.
The Christian Contract
The covenant we have with God when we become Christians is similar.
Our part of the agreement:
a) Admit that we are sinners and cannot save ourselves.
b) Believe that Christ lived, died, and rose again on the third day to take our punishment for sin.
c) Choose to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, ask forgiveness and start on the road to turning away from sin.
God’s part of the agreement:
a) Forgiveness of our sin and failings.
b) Gives us the gift of eternal life with Him.
Many of the contracts we enter into are for the most part, an even trade. The contract is much different when we become children of God through Christ. We receive a tremendous amount of blessings for the little that we give. And remember, what we give back to God, He already owns.
Abram, Abraham, and Christians
Abraham is one of the most important figures in Christianity. His story as recorded in the book of Genesis has much to tell us about faith and obedience. As the lesson goes, God appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham. He entered into a covenant to bless all the peoples of the earth. This story serves to remind Christians everywhere that the Lord never forgets His faithful servants in spite of difficult circumstances.
We can take courage from Abraham’s example to persevere and trust in the Lord when life takes unexpected turns. This story of Abraham reminds us of God’s grace and faithfulness. Our future looks bright because the Lord will ultimately fulfill His promise of blessing to all who put their trust in Him.
Love in Christ
If you have thought about following Christ, please take a moment to go and read John 3:16 to find more information.