Genesis 17:1-8: God gives the growth

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’  Abram fell face down, and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.’” NIV UK

‘We say that we depend on the Holy Spirit, but actually we are so wired up with our own devices that if the fire does not fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce false fire of our own.’ Vance Havner.

Jesus said: ‘’…apart from me you can do nothing’’ (John 15:5)

Abraham and Sarah had tried their own plan and failed miserably. But now God keeps saying: ‘’I will.’’ When I first began to read this passage last week, the thought came to me that God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7b). ‘’Abram’’ means ‘’exalted father ‘’, but ‘’Abraham’’ means ‘’father of a multitude.’’ Warren Wiersbe comments that whenever anyone called Abraham by name, he would be reminded of God’s gracious promise to give him many descendants. God gives the growth.

‘’I will…greatly increase your numbers…’’ (2).

‘’I will make you very fruitful…’’ (6a).

‘’By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore’’ (Hebrews 11:11, 12).

‘He turns our weaknesses into His opportunities, so that the glory goes to Him.’

‘Where things impossible by faith shall be made possible, let’s give the glory to Him now.’

I read today that according to some estimates around 100,000 people were converted during the Welsh revival. God gives the growth whether it be small or big – but it can be extremely large.

PRAYER: Lord increase our faith.