This chapter opens up with God trying to convince Abram that he will have a son of his own who will carry out Godís plan of a future nation of chosen people. As all humans do, Abram wanted proof that God would do what He said He would do. God allowed Abram to make a sacrifice, a covenant in blood (v. 9-10), to seal His promise. God then prophesied that this new nation would become slaves for four hundred years (v. 13) and that God would punish this godless nation allowing the Jews to take the spoils with them after they are freed. After this great feat was accomplished, God would bring His people into the land He had promised Abram.
In this chapter, God again promises Abram that he will be the father of many nations, and that his name would now be known as Abraham. To seal the covenant, God commands Abram to make a covenant with God in his flesh, so that the Jews may be made separate from the surrounding nations. This seal is the covenant of circumcision. Every male eight days and older must have the foreskin of their penis cut off. Any Jewish male who did not follow this covenant was cut off from the people of God. Once more, God reiterates His promise to Abraham and his wife that they will have a child together, even though they are both passed childbearing years. Their son, Isaac, would have an everlasting covenant with God and would bless him for all time. Even Ishmael, Abrahamís illegitimate child with the slave Hagar, would also be blessed and will be fruitful and multiply as a nation as well.
In both of these chapters, we see God wanting not only a relationship with His people, but wanting a very close relationship with them as well. Blood is the life of all creatures, so to shed it in sacrifice to God holds great weight to God because He never wants blood to be shed needlessly. God did not allow Jesus to shed His blood needlessly, but let it be shed for the atonement and forgiveness of humanityís sins. In our own lives, God asks us to make sacrifices that will allow Him to do what He needs to do in them. Be it sacrifices of money, time, sleep, or more, God takes these sacrifices and uses them to accomplish great things, not only in our lives, but in the lives of people we havenít even met yet. So, we see in Abraham that God does not use sacrifices needlessly, but He takes them seriously. If we make a sacrifice to God, we must also take them seriously and honor them as much as God honors His promises to us.
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