Gen. 17:19-22 – The Child of Promise
Gen. 17:19 "And
God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt
call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an
everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for
Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make
him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he
beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I
establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time
in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up
passage speaks of Abraham's two sons. Ishmael was a child of the
flesh. In the manner in which Ishmael was born and the causes of his
birth are identical to every one who has been born on earth with the
exception of Jesus who was born of a virgin. Ishmael was born of the
flesh. There is a sense in which Isaac was a child of the flesh as
well. Yet there is something different about Isaac's birth. Isaac's
birth was by promise from God.
are similarities between Isaac's birth and the spiritual birth of God's
elect. We read in Gal. 4:28: "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the
children of promise." We notice the following about Isaac's birth and
compare it to the spiritual birth of God's elect:
1. Isaac's birth was by promise from God.
Likewise, according to the covenant of redemption God knew the elect
before the foundation of the world: Eph. 1:4 "According as he has chosen
us in him before the foundation of the world…"
2. Isaac's birth was contrary to nature. He
was conceived of parents whose reproductive ability was dead. As the
elect children of God we are born spiritually when we were spiritually
dead: Eph. 2:1 "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and
sins." A dead person has no ability to bring about life. A person who
is reproductively dead cannot bring about a natural child. Likewise, a
person who is spiritually dead cannot bring about a spiritual child.
Yet God brought about the birth of Isaac when Abraham and Sarah had no
ability to bring about his natural birth. God restored them to the time
of life and they had a child. Likewise, God brought about our spiritual
birth when we had no ability to bring it about.
3. Isaac's birth was at God's appointed time:
"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear
unto thee at this set time in the next year." Only God can appoint the
birth of a child exactly one year later. Prospective parents cannot
guarantee that they will have a child exactly one year after they
predict they will have a child. Likewise, our spiritual birth is at
God's appointed time: John 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." No man
can appoint the time of his spiritual birth. His spiritual birth occurs
when God appoints that it will occur.
4. Isaac's birth was by covenant arrangement by
God. Likewise the spirit birth of the elect child of God is by covenant
arrangement by God in the covenant of redemption: 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.
30 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."
was blessed of God as God told Abraham: "Behold, I have blessed him, and
will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve
princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." These
things came to pass just like God said it would.
however, had something better for Isaac: "But my covenant will I
establish with Isaac." The covenant promises made to Abraham were to be
confirmed in Isaac, the child of promise.
Gen. 17: 23-27
– Abraham obeys the commandment of God
Gen. 17:23 "And
Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and
all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of
Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the
selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 24 And Abraham was ninety years
old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25
And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in
the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham
circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born
in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised
Abraham initially laughed at the promise of God that he would have a son
when he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, yet Abraham showed
his faith in God and his faith that God would bring to pass what he
promised as he obeyed the commandment of God to circumcise all the male
members of his household, including himself. This shows that Abraham
believed God would bring to pass the covenant promise that God had made
to him, including the promise of a child by Sarah when they had been
before both reproductively dead. He was persuaded that God would bring
to pass what God had promised: Rom. 4:19-22 "And being not weak in
faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an
hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: 20 He
staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in
faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he
had promised, he was able also to perform."