Thirteen years passed since Ishmael was born. Although Abram seemed to be doing well financially and Ishmael was growing into young manhood, Scripture is silent during this time. It would be easy for Abram to give up hope of having a son through Sarai and forget God’s covenant promise.
But God—who is not bound to our time table or expectations—didn’t forget. He would carry out His plan in His perfect timing.
And His time was ripe.
Although God had spoken His covenant to Abram four different times (Gen. 12:1-3; 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:5-21) and used the term “covenant” (Hebrew berith) once defining the boundaries of the promised land (Gen. 15:18), God sharpens the focus by using the term “covenant” thirteen times in chapter 17.
The adjectives attached to the word (covenant) are significant. Nine times it is called “my covenant,” three times it is called “an everlasting covenant,” and…
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