Finally, the day came. Years had come and gone. God’s promise had been for children. “How do you to create a great nation, if you don’t have any kids?” Abraham and Sarah had waited and waited… and then, waited some more. “When are you going to keep your covenant, YHWH? We are getting old. No, we are old. When are you going to get around to giving us the kids you promised?” Abraham and Sarah had faith. But the waiting was getting old.
A year ago, YHWH had stopped by to renew the covenant. Their names had been changed from Father to Exalted Father. From Princess to Queen Mother. They both had laughed at a “centenarian” and a “nonagenarian” having kids. They both chuckled; although they denied it. So, God named their future son… “Chuckles”; in Hebrew… Isaac.
Finally, the day came. I guess God wanted to show off. “I can make “centenarians” and “nonagenarians” have babies.
Finally, the day came!
Genesis 21:1-38 The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
God thought it was funny.
Finally, the day came! We have a son!”
Genesis 21:5-7 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
Finally, the day came! Isaac is the son of a covenant! Through Isaac all the blessings of Abraham’s covenant were going to happen.
Here is an interesting observation. Biblical covenants, often, have to do with kids.
The covenants we have studied so far have been about kids…
--Noah’s Rainbow Covenant was about an everlasting covenant between God and all of Noah’s descendants… and even the offspring of animals.
--Hagar’s covenant was her becoming the mother of nation.
--Sarah’s covenant was also to be the mother of nations.
--Abraham’s covenant was all about Chuckles… and his offspring…
Listen to Isaac’s covenant…
Genesis 17:19-20 But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”
Covenants are, often, about kids.
This observation is reaffirmed by what Abraham does to Isaac.
Genesis 21:4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
Back in chapter 17 God instituted circumcision.
Genesis 17:10-13 "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you… thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
The sign of the Abraham’s covenant was circumcision.
This matches number 6 of my Seven elements of an effective biblical covenant…
1) Covenants Create Relationships. Relationships are broken. Covenants create relationships in order to fix the broken!
2) The Parties are named; one Superior and one Inferior.
3) Blessings are granted. There is a benefit given. There are blessings with each covenant which make promises to fix the problem.
4) Oaths are given. It is usually stated in a binding way. Witness; judge; swearing of oaths.
5) A Sacrifices Cut a Covenant. The shedding of blood, typically, accompanies the initiation of a covenant. Blood is the binding agent.
6) There is a Symbol to Remember. There is a sign of the covenant. Circumcision is the sign that drew kids into the covenant! Symbol is remembered in kids!
7) Names are given. Names which call upon relationships… with kids!
The sign of Abraham’s relationship; the sign of the covenant was circumcision of Isaac!
It’s fascinating that the sign of Abraham’s covenant was done to a child. God could not have made the point of this sermon any stronger… Covenants are, often, about kids!
Now, what happens next is even more remarkable in view of covenants being about kids!
Genesis 22:1-2 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, (Who is the covenant. Who wears the sign of the covenant.) whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
“What? Offer Isaac as a burnt offering?” My Son? My precious son? My Chuckles? This is not a laughing matter. Wow!
Genesis 22:3-8 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you." And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So, they went both of them together. And Isaac (a teenager) said to his father Abraham (beyond a centenarian), "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So, they went both of them together.
Imagine the faith of Abraham. After waiting all those years. After having his own son with Sarah. After loving the walking sign of the covenant… for 13 years. Offer him. I cannot imagine that much faith.
Genesis 22:9-10 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.
Imagine the faith of Isaac. He had to have suspected that something was up all along. But, then, he willingly let the old man bind him. Let the old man lay him on the pile of wood. Isaac went to the altar. Surely, he was stronger than his cen-ten-arian father. Imagine the confusion in Isaac’s eyes as he watches the knife rise above him. Imagine the tears in Abraham’s eyes as he looks at Chuckles.
Genesis 22:11-12 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
Now, I know. God wanted to be sure. If the future of His covenant was coming from this man, God wanted to be sure Abraham was faithful!
Genesis 22:13-14 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So, Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."
Here is another name. Remember names and covenants; they go together. Abraham named the place… YHWH-ROI.
There is a word-play connection in the Hebrew that is easy to miss in the English; The word Roi is “to see”. But, Roi also has the flavor of “to see to it”; to provide.
Watch this… (Roi this)
--As Abraham gets close to the mountain, “Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw (Roi) the place from afar.” Abraham is seeing where he is going. He is the one who is going to see to the sacrifice… Isaac.
--When Isaac asks about the animal to be sacrificed, “Abraham said, "God will provide” God will see (roi) to it… Abraham has the right answer but he doesn’t understand it just yet.
--And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked – (Roi) saw the ram. God will provide the sacrifice. YHWH will see to it.
--So, Abraham called the name of that place, YHWH-ROI" -The LORD will provide; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be (Roied) provided ."
--If you have been really paying attention, you will remember that Hagar named God… El-Roi; the God who sees. The God who provides… the covenant!
Here is what you are supposed to see… God wanted Abraham to know that God is the one who provides… not humans. God provides the sacrifice for the covenant. We don’t offer the sacrifice for the covenant… he does. In the world of Abraham, sacrifices were offered to the gods to manipulate covenants. But that is not the way YHWH operates. We don’t control the covenants… YHWH sees to it… YHWH-ROI!
Listen to the contrast of these two verses
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
Covenants are about children!
Deuteronomy 12:31 “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
The contrast is stunning! The covenant is all about children. Offering a child as sacrifice to manipulate God into some covenant is the exact opposite of who YHWH-ROI is! God is love. God is a covenant God. God wants a people to love him, so bad, that he provides the sacrifices for our covenant! YHWH-ROI. God will see to the offerings for the covenant!
The story concludes with these words.
Genesis 22:15-18 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
The covenant is reaffirmed. Because Abraham passed this test from God, his children will be as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore! Through his offspring the earth will be blessed!
God chuckled as a “centenarian” and a “nonagenarian” had a kid. Because…
Covenants are, often, about children.
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom (covenant) of God.
April 7, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ