Understanding the Covenant #2 – Church Without Walls International

Hi all,

Last week I explained how the Lord God (Christ) first promised and then made covenant with Abram as part of cutting the covenant. 

In Genesis 15: 1-6 the Lord God took Abram into space and told him that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. The rest of Genesis 15 is what we covered last week, the cutting of the covenant between them. 

Chapter 16 opens with Abram and Sarai talking about how the Lord God said Abram would have a son. Sarai suggested in v2 since she was barren and past child bearing age, he make a baby with her house girl, Hagar. They were trying to figure out how that promise might happen, and then decided to help God’s plan come to pass. 

Before we find fault with Sarai….

Remember, the Lord told Abram in chapter 15 he would have a son but said nothing of Sarai at that moment. The Lord did not reveal Sarai would be the mother of that child until chapter 17. Revelation from the Lord is progressive for He is infinite, so there will be infinite learning and infinite time to do so. 

Don’t let anyone tell you they have knowledge greater than the Bible reveals, or more than what Paul knew, or outside the Bible, and things like that. The canon of scripture we have today is finite for this age, with only glimpses of the next age. 

But we are promised we will one day have a more complete revelation: “Now are we the sons of God but it is not revealed what we will be, but we know when He appears we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is.” I John 3: 2

Helping the Lord

Abram and Sarai were trying to figure out how the Lord might fulfill His promise of Abram having a son, and decided to help the word come to pass. Haven’t we all tried to ‘help the Lord’? Have we received a revelation, then figured out how it might come to pass, then made decisions to help the process along only to fail? 

SO many people fail and end up confused because they thought God said…but what they were really doing was making decisions on partial information, very often setting aside common sense and due diligence, only to fail and blame God.

YHWH – Genesis 17, Sarai will have a baby

Genesis 16:16 tells us Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Chapter 17 fast forwards, telling us when Abram was 99 years old when the Lord again appeared to Abram. Ishmael is 13 years old. 

This time the Lord appears to Abram as ‘El Shaddai’. We know that ‘El’ is God, but ‘Shaddai’ is so archaic not even the rabbi’s agree on its meaning. They suggest ‘all sufficient’ but its root appears to be stronger, meaning ‘strong enough to overpower (anything)’, or ‘The God who is strong to overpower’. Notice also the Lord says in Genesis 17:1: 

“I AM the God who is strong to overpower”, or “I AM the El Shaddai’.

The Lord in this appearance is emphasizing both His power over everything, and His grace, for He says He is ‘cutting covenant’ (English, ‘making covenant’) with Abram. The Lord’s grace is that He the all powerful One, condescends to cut covenant with Abram.

Name change

Though we write the name of the Lord as Jehovah (Latin) or in Hebrew, Yahweh, the ancients even to this day remove the vowels so as not to mispronounce His name which would be a vain use. So we know Him as YHWH, vowels removed, lest someone use His name in vain. It is unpronounceable. English inserts vowels to get Yahweh, but in Judaism, it is just YHWH.

That said, it is pronounceable with just the consonants – it is the sound of a mighty exhaled breath. The ‘Y’ is a short ‘i’ sound, followed by a ‘ha’ and then a ‘w’ which is exhale with pursed lips to make a sound of the wind, then again an ‘h’ as ‘ha’. It is the sound of the wind, like a mighty rushing wind, ending quietly. Just like on Pentecost in Acts 2: 4. 

It is in this meeting with Abram and Sarai that the all powerful I AM yet again confirms the covenant with them, giving them as Covenant Head part of Himself: His name. He takes one H from YHWH and gives it to Abram, making him forever Abraham, father of nations. 

He takes the other H and gives it to Sarai, making her Sarah, mother of nations. From this point on, they have in their names the name of the God the all powerful I AM. In the same way today a groom gives his name to his wife, this is what He did for His bride – the covenant people with Abraham and Sarah. 

It is this same breath of life this same Jehovah Elohim breathed into the sculpted clay body of Adam to bring it to life. He now in essence breathed on Sarai, turning her into Sarah, and told her that ‘next year about this time according to the time of life, you will have a son.’ (17:21, 18: 9-15)

To this Abraham laughed, and later the 90 year old Sarah laughed*. The Lord responds in so many words; ‘Because you laughed you will call him ‘laughter’. Laughter in Hebrew is ‘Isaac’. *Genesis 17: 17; 18: 9-15

We close with the fact that Sarah after first laughing, had a change of heart and believed. Hebrews 11: 11 we are told: “Through faith Sarah received the ability to conceive, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she had judged Him faithful who had promised.”

The difference between laughing in unbelief and judging God faithful is a simple turn of the heart, a simple decision. Is He faithful who has promised you? 

Make that judgement of God – judge Him faithful who had promised. You and I too, have His name, for Christ lives in us, and we have the authority to use the name of Jesus. We are part of the Abrahamic covenant.

Amazing grace, we conclude next week. Until then, 


John Fenn

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