Read for This Week’s Study: Genesis 15:1-19:29; Romans 4:3-4, Romans 4:9, Romans 4:22; Galatians 4:21-31; Romans 4:11; Romans 9:9; Amos 4:11.
Memory Text: “But Abram said, ‘Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’” (Genesis 15:2, NKJV).
With Genesis chapter 15, we come to the crucial moment when God formalizes His covenant with Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant is the second covenant, after the covenant with Noah.
Like Noah’s covenant, Abraham’s covenant involves other nations as well, for ultimately the covenant with Abraham is part of the everlasting covenant, which is offered to all humanity (Genesis 17:7, Hebrews 13:20).
This episode of Abraham’s life is full of fear and laughter. Abram is afraid (Genesis 15:1), as well as Sarah (Genesis 18:15) and Hagar (Genesis 21:17). Abram laughs (Genesis 17:17); Sarah (Genesis 18:12), and Ishmael, too (Genesis 21:9, ESV). These chapters resonate with human sensitivity and warmth. Abram is passionate about the salvation of the wicked Sodomites; he is caring toward Sarah, Hagar, and Lot; and he is hospitable toward the three foreigners (Genesis 18:2-6).
It is in that context that Abram, whose name implies nobility and respectability, will have his name changed into Abraham, which means “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5). Thus, we see here more hints of the universal nature of what God plans to do through His covenant with Abraham.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, May 14.