Again God reiterates his covenant with Abram. This time, he actually gives Abram the name Abraham. Abraham will be the father of a multitude of nations. Blessings will pour down on him and his offspring. There will be an EVERLASTING possession.
I have written in the margins of my Bible that Circumcision is a sign of being set apart. It is a sign of the covenant and it is a sign of total obedience.
Sarai is given the name Sarah. Isaac’s birth is promised. God reminds Abraham that the covenant will come through Abraham and Sarah.
Immediately after talking with God, Abraham obeys and some how convinces all the men with him to participate in a group circumcision (again, there are no flannel-graphs for these 4 verses.
Finally we get to chapter 18 in this read. Three men show up on the scene. One of the men appears to be Jesus. You know, I think that this is something that wasn’t taught to me growing up that Jesus was around before the manger, and I know that there are many that don’t believe this, but the more that I read and study, the more obvious it is that he was indeed on the scene in several of the stories of the old testament.
Sarah is sent off to prepare some food and the others are talking about the fact that they’re going to be back in a year and Sarah is going to have had a son. Sarah was listening in and starts to laugh. The promise is repeated because “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”
The two men with Jesus go to investigate the sin that is in Sodom. Abraham hears that destruction is coming soon to that city.
Abraham asks if the city would be destroyed if there are 50 that are righteous in the city if it would be spared for their sake. Lord says yes. Abraham dares to ask if 45 were righteous, would it be spared. Lord says yes. Abraham asks if 40. Yep. 30? Yes I will not do it if I find thirty. 20? For the sake of the 20, I will not do it. 10? Even if only ten, I will not destroy it.
I guess the big lesson here is that God doesn’t need to walk through the garden to know what has happened. He didn’t need to meet Hagar in the desert to learn of why she fled. He doesn’t have to send the two other “men” to investigate how many in that city are righteous. We do learn of his patience and that in times of his wrath, he will spare those who are His. Just like Noah and his family were spared, God is merciful and just to those who are His.