Gen. 17:1-8 God expands his covenant promise to Abram

             Gen. 17:1 "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

            "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."  God begins to expand his promise to Abram by appearing unto him as the "Almighty God."  In this expanded promise God is manifesting his power over his creation.  As the "Almighty," God is powerful.  As the "Almighty," God created the heavens and the earth.  As the Almighty he brought a flood upon the earth to destroy all living things in whose nostrils was the breath of life except those on the ark, by whom he preserved seed alive. 

To fulfill the promises that God made unto Abram, the power of the Almighty is necessary and will be manifest. 

            God told Abram to "walk before me, and be thou perfect."  The use of the word, perfect, does not mean sinless perfection, but rather it is speaking about maturity.  In other words, God is telling Abram to be mature in his walk of faith.  God is making covenant promises unto Abram and is telling Abram to be mature in his faith that God will perform those promises.  While Abram's faith will not bring about those promises, yet through his faith he will experience the joy of seeing those promises at least partially fulfilled. 

            "And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly."  God reiterates his promise to Abram that his seed will be multiplied to an exceedingly great multitude.  This is at least the third time that God has expounded this promise unto Abram. 

            "And Abram fell on his face:" Falling on one's face in the scriptures is a sign of humility and devotion to God.  Abram felt himself to be extremely small and recognized the great superiority and greatness of "Almighty God" with this gesture.  

            "And God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations."   Now God begins to expand his revelation unto Abram as he tells him that he will be a father of many nations.  From Abram there sprang many nations including, Israel, Edom, Midian, Sheba, etc.  In addition, Abraham is considered the father of the faithful not only in Israel but among the Gentiles as well.

            "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."  The name, "Abram," means "High Father."  The name, "Abraham," means "Father of a multitude."  This man who had wondered childless for so many years until Ishmael was born at 86 years of age is now being told that his name is changed from "High Father" to "Father of a multitude."  Only "God Almighty" can bring such to pass and cause a solitary man to become a father of a multitude of people when he is past the time in nature of being able to father children. 

            "And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee."  At ninety nine years of age Abraham has had one child.  Yet God tells him that he will make him exceeding fruitful.  It did not say that he would make his sons exceeding fruitful, but that Abraham would be exceeding fruitful.  Abraham had no idea at this time that he was yet to father seven more children!  Moreover, God promised that he would multiply into several nations and that kings would come out of him.  This was true not only in Israel but in several other nations that he was the progenitor of as well.  What amazing promises God made unto this man who left his country, his father's house, his kindred, and came unto a land that God showed him.  Abraham had already witnessed great things done by the God he served, but the best was yet to come.

            "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."  There is a difference between making a covenant and establishing a covenant.  A covenant has to be made before it can be established.  Establishing a covenant is bringing to fruition the terms of the covenant.  God made an everlasting covenant before the foundation of the world.  That covenant is stated for us in Rom. 8:29, 30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."  This covenant was established in the seed of Abraham which we are told in Gal. 3:16, 17 is the Lord Jesus Christ: Gal. 3:16 "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."  This covenant was confirmed to Abraham in the 17th chapter of Genesis. 

            "And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."  Also, in the promises of God is the promise that the descendants of Abraham would possess the land of Canaan.  While it was over 400 years later before they actually possessed the land of Canaan, yet it was theirs by covenant promise.  Because God promised it to them, then they were assured of coming into possession of it.  Likewise, God has promised to his covenant children that they will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and that they will be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and that they will have an eternal inheritance.  The descendants of Abraham did not possess the land of Canaan for over 400 years from the time the promise was made, yet it was theirs by promise of God for all that time.  Likewise, we do not now yet possess our eternal inheritance, but it has been promised and the same "God Almighty" who made promise to Abraham and then fulfilled his promise to Abraham will also fulfill his promise to us as the elect children of God.

            The covenant God made with Abraham was a one party covenant and was non-conditional upon Abraham and upon Abraham's descendants.  The establisher of the covenant was God Almighty.  Abraham and his descendents were the beneficiaries of the covenant.  Likewise, the covenant that God made with himself and states in the eighth chapter of Romans is also a one party covenant and is non-conditional upon the beneficiaries of the covenant.  All the elect that were foreknown before the foundation of the world are the beneficiaries of the covenant and enjoy all the benefits of the covenant.  The establisher and executor of that covenant is God himself and all the terms will be fulfilled.