January 17, Genesis 16-18

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16 Abram’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.[aSo Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years. He slept with[b] Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she saw that she was pregnant, her mistress became contemptible to her. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for my suffering![c] I put my slave in your arms,[d] and when she saw that she was pregnant, I became contemptible to her. May the Lord judge between me and you.”Abram replied to Sarai, “Here, your slave is in your hands; do whatever you want with her.” Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her.The angel of the Lord found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”She replied, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.”The angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority.” 10 The angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”11 The angel of the Lord said to her, “You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael,[e] for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. 12 This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will settle near all his relatives.”13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her: “You are El-roi,”[f] for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?” [g14 That is why the well is called Beer-lahai-roi.[h] It is between Kadesh and Bered.15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, and Abram named his son (whom Hagar bore) Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

Covenant Circumcision

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live[i] in my presence and be blameless. I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for me, here is my covenant with you: You will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram;[j] your name will be Abraham,[k] for I will make you the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you. I will confirm my covenant that is between me and you and your future offspring throughout their generations. It is a permanent covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residing—all the land of Canaan—as a permanent possession, and I will be their God.”God also said to Abraham, “As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep my covenant. 10 This is my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you, which you are to keep: Every one of your males must be circumcised. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskin to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and you.[l12 Throughout your generations, every male among you is to be circumcised at eight days old—every male born in your household or purchased from any foreigner and not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or purchased, he must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as a permanent covenant. 14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah[m] will be her name. 16 I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”17 Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?” 18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable[n] to you!”19 But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.[o] I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. He will father twelve tribal leaders, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will confirm my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 When he finished talking with him, God withdrew[p] from Abraham.23 So Abraham took his son Ishmael and those born in his household or purchased—every male among the members of Abraham’s household—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on that very day, just as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised. 26 On that same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his household—whether born in his household or purchased from a foreigner—were circumcised with him.

Abraham’s Three Visitors

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, bowed to the ground, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves.[q] This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures[r] of fine flour and make bread.”[sAbraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. Then Abraham took curds[t] and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served[u] them as they ate under the tree.

Sarah Laughs

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.“There, in the tent,” he answered.10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years.[v] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.[w12 So she laughed to herself: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?”13 But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.But he replied, “No, you did laugh.”

Abraham’s Plea for Sodom

16 The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off. 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 18 Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen[x] him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what he promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. 21 I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to me. If not, I will find out.”22 The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[y23 Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people who are in it? 25 You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is just?”26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”27 Then Abraham answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord—even though I am dust and ashes— 28 suppose the fifty righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”29 Then he spoke to him again, “Suppose forty are found there?”He answered, “I will not do it on account of forty.”30 Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose thirty are found there?”He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”31 Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord, suppose twenty are found there?”He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of twenty.”32 Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose ten are found there?”He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of ten.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

When we become impatient, we step outside of God’s plan for our life.  This is exactly what Abraham did when he decided to use Hagar to have a son.  Sarai, Abraham’s wife, is actually the one who initiated this plan.  As with any plan we create that steps outside of God’s intended plan, consequences follow.  The consequences of the story we read about in Genesis 16 are still felt today in the middle east.

God has a plan for your life.  He knows what he is doing.  He asks us to remain faithful to His plan and to follow His plan and allow Him to work out the plan in His timing.  Pray and ask God for patience today to wait on Him.

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