Day 81: A New Name And An Everlasting Possession

Genesis 17:1-8

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty. Walk before me, and be blameless. I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

Abram fell on his face. God talked with him, saying, “As for me, behold, my covenant is with you. You will be the father of a multitude of nations. Neither will your name any more be called Abram, but your name will be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you. Kings will come out of you. I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you. I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”

When Abram turned 99, God decided to appear to him again and reaffirm his promise to him. This time, God describes the future of Abram’s family in terms of the nations and kings that will come from him. I noticed something as I read this. God tells Abram to walk before Him and to be blameless, but He does not make the covenant conditional. What I mean here is that He doesn’t tell Abraham to be blameless and then I will bless you, He just says to be blameless and then says He’s going to bless him. In other words, be blameless because I am going bless you. That’s how it is for Christians today too.

Grace is not a merit system like legal systems are, grace is a system of faith and thanksgiving to God for the blessings that He gives when we don’t do anything to deserve it. When we finally realize this about God, we are changed forever. I believe that God had changed Abram forever, and at the age of 99, God called Abram by his new name: Abraham. Now this meeting with Abraham was not only about his children, but also about physical land on earth.

God promised what we call “Palestine” to Abraham as an “everlasting possession.” As we read earlier, God pronounced a blessing on those who bless Abraham and a curse on those who curse Abraham and here we see that God blesses Abraham with an “everlasting possession” of land. This should make it easy to see why it’s dangerous for Gentile nations to divide up this land as if they have any authority over it at all. Nations like the United Kingdom and the United States really have no place telling God what to do with the land that He gave to Abraham. If nations do something to curse Abraham’s children and abuse their land, they could find themselves under a curse. The land belongs to Abraham’s children not to the UN or any other nation and God is still watching.

This has ramifications to us personally too. We shouldn’t be tempted to think that God would take away His promise to Abraham’s children because God also gave us an everlasting
covenant of salvation as Christians. If God gave Abraham an everlasting covenant of land and you and I an everlasting covenant in Jesus’ blood, we should not consider Abraham’s covenant to be canceled unless we are willing to consider the cancelling of our own. The simple fact is that God will never lie and He made this covenant and He will defend it. If
people stand in the way, they will be destroyed by Him.