Deeper Roots – Genesis 17:1-8

A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like Genesis 17:1-8.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in my presence and be blameless.  I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: “As for me, here is my covenant with you: You will become the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you. I will confirm my covenant that is between me and you and your future offspring throughout their generations. It is a permanent covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residing—all the land of Canaan—as a permanent possession, and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:1-8 CSB

The book of Genesis is the first book in the Old Testament. Moses is commonly attributed as the author of Genesis. Genesis is filled with such rich history of the power of God. In our selected scriptures, we see an exchange between the Lord and Abram that sets the tone for the establishment of the covenant.

In verse 1, the Lord appears and identifies Himself as God Almighty (El Shaddai). He goes on to give a directive, to live in His presence and be blameless. This is a charge to live in alignment with God’s character; being righteous in all that we do. In Abram’s obedience, there is a covenant, (an agreement), established and a promise of multiplication. At this declaration, Abram assumes a posture of utmost respect with his face down to the ground. Then God begins to speak again. The Lord proceeds to tell Abram the details of the covenant. First, Abram’s name changes to Abraham and he is promised many offspring. In biblical times, fertility and offspring were considered a major blessing from the Lord. But God’s promise to Abraham doesn’t stop there. He promises that the covenant is permanent and that it will be confirmed with future generations.

When we walk blameless in the sight of the Lord, there is provision and protection. Remember Noah? Genesis 6:9 says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.” Abraham and Noah demonstrate God’s heart for those that continually seek out the presence of God and obey His instructions. In Abraham’s situation, God promised him abundance (offspring) in an area of perceived lack (Sarah’s barrenness). God’s blessing to Abraham to become a father of many nations was such a big shift that it necessitated a name change. In that time, a change of name is an outward sign of something new, like a change in title or rank. Abraham’s new name was the outward sign of his elevation to the father of a multitude of nations.

In obedience and reverence, Our Father is pleased with us. There is provision and protection from the Lord when we walk with Him and follow His teachings. If we want to experience the full abundance of all of God’s promises, we must continue to dwell in His presence and obey His instructions.

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