Genesis 17:8
And to you and your descendants I will give the land where you are residing--all the land of Canaan--as an eternal possession; and I will be their God."
Distrust of God's PromiseGurnall, WilliamGenesis 17:3-8
Faith in God's Naked WordGurnall, WilliamGenesis 17:3-8
God Talked with HimE. Payson, D. D.Genesis 17:3-8
God's Everlasting CovenantJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Genesis 17:3-8
The Ratification of the CovenantThe Congregational PulpitGenesis 17:3-8
The Second Stage of the CovenantT. H. Leale.Genesis 17:3-8
The Covenant as Made with BelieversW. Strong, D. D.Genesis 17:7-8
The Covenant RenewedW. Strong, D. D.Genesis 17:7-8
The Faithful CovenanterSibbes, RichardGenesis 17:7-8
Why the Lord Will Take Children into Their Parents' CovenantW. Strong, D. D.Genesis 17:7-8

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. In what sense are we to take this? None can keep God's law perfectly (Romans 7:23). And why at this point in Abram's history the emphatic "I am?" &c. The character of his life was faith (cf. Hebrews 11:6) resting on the promises made him (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5). The last of these was a special instance of faith. But the triumph was followed by a fall - impatience, would not wait God's time (cf. Psalm 27:14; Psalm 31:15). An instance of a common fault - partial faith (cf. Matthew 4:4; Matthew 14:28-31). The result was disappointment. Thirteen years passed. Must we not connect this with his fault? Want of faith delayed the blessing (cf. Numbers 14:33). Then came the word of the Lord - a gentle rebuke (cf. Matthew 8:26), and a precept: "Walk before me," &c. Return to thy first faith; let it be perfect, not partial (cf. Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 17:20).

I. A LESSON FOR BELIEVERS. Watch lest faith grow cold. Some like not to retain God in their thoughts. They hide themselves from him amid the vanities of the world. But his people, who have known his love (1 John 3:1), why should they ever shrink from opening their whole heart to him? Yet, imperceptibly perhaps, there is a change. The faith is held, but the sunshine is gone. The desire to tell all to God is not there. Why? The man has set his heart upon something, and cannot trust God's love; or he is drawn to something he cannot approve, and listens to what can be said for it (cf. Romans 14:4); or he has fallen into self-sufficiency. Then reserve towards God. The hidden life becomes disordered. No longer the desire that he should know all and guide all. And thus uneasiness, reserve, distance. Then follow plans to quiet the uneasiness - business, ceremony, theology, or work in some other direction. But no real communion with God in all this.

II. THE REMEDY. "Walk before me." Recognize the evil. Believe the cause. Be not faithless. Bear in mind God's presence (cf. Psalm 62:1-7). Seek not to hide from him, or to justify self. And "be perfect," i.e. matured; not in any high or strange attainment, but in that which a child may learn in trusting God's truth and love; in bringing thoughts, wants, and wishes before him. Towards this active obedience and following Christ are means; and, above all, sincerity, and a real definite dedication of the life to God.

III. ENCOURAGEMENT. "I am the Almighty God" - all-powerful (Isaiah 59:1; Luke 1:37) and all-loving (Psalm 37:5; Romans 8:32). This, really believed, would remove anxious care. What is it that leads thee to seek another way? The consciousness of having wandered. Has he not made provision for this? (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:1). Or is it that the blessing long desired is not given? Some power, some opportunity for God's work, and still the door is closed; or it may be some spiritual gift, some token of growth in grace, and still the evil of thy nature is unsubdued. Be patient (James 1:4). Thy Father in heaven will not fail thee (Romans 6:14). Walk before him. Tell him all that is in thy mind. In his time thou shalt find peace (Philippians 4:6; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 21:7). - M

I will establish My covenant between Me and thee, and thy seed after thee.
The communion and fellowship of man with God, was first founded on a covenant of works made with Adam in Paradise. But this fellowship being placed in man's own freedom, and having so weak a foundation, he lost both himself and it, so that now by the first covenant of works, Adam and all his posterity are under a curse; for we cannot fulfil the law that requireth personal obedience, perfect obedience, and exact obedience. He that "continueth not in all is cursed" (Galatians 3:10). Now after this fall, man's hapiness was to recover again his communion and fellowship with God; and therefore we must have a new covenant before we can have life and comfort. God must enter into new conditions with us before we can have any communion with Him. There are four periods of time of renewing this covenant: first, from Adam to Abraham; and in those first times of the world, those that were under the covenant were called the "sons and daughters of God," "the children of the promise," and the covenant of grace was called a promise of the blessed seed. Secondly, from Abraham to Moses; and then it was called a covenant, and they the children of the covenant. "I will establish My covenant." A covenant is more than a promise, and a more solemn thing, because there be ceremonies. The third period of renewing the covenant of grace was from Moses to Christ; and then it was more clear, when as to the covenant made with Abraham, who was sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, the sacrament of the paschal lamb was added, and all the sacrifices Levitical; and then it was called a testament. That differeth a little from a covenant; for a testament is established by blood, it is established by death. So was that; but it was only with the blood and death of cattle sacrificed as a type. But now, from Christ's time to the end of the world, the covenant of grace is most clear of all; and it is now usually called the New Testament, being established by the death of Christ Himself; and it differs from a covenant in these respects: First, A testament indeed is a covenant, and something more. It is a covenant sealed by death. Secondly, A testament bequeathed good things merely of love. It giveth gifts freely. A covenant is something to be done. But to come to that which I specially intend. The words, as I said before, contain the renewing of this blessed and gracious agreement between God and man to Abraham, the father of the faithful. "I will establish My covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee." The words, you see, contain a covenant; and here are all things — all the articles and circumstances that agree to any covenant whatsoever. Here are the parties, both that make the covenant and that are covenanted with. Here is the substance of the covenant, and the qualities of the covenant, and the condition of the covenant. The party making the covenant is God, "I will be thy God." God is the party covenanting. God indeed is both the party covenanting and the substance of the covenant: "I will be a God to thee." They fall both together in one. The parties covenanted with, are Abraham and his seed — his seed by promise. The substance of the covenant is, "I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee." The qualities of the covenant are —

1. It is a sure covenant: "I will establish My covenant."

2. It is an everlasting covenant: "I will establish My covenant for an everlasting covenant."

3. It is a peculiar covenant: "I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed; that is, only between Me and thee, and thy seed; not with the refuse of the world, but only with thy seed by promise; only believers, whether Jews or Gentiles."

4. It is a most free covenant. It was made to Abraham, whom God called out of Ur of the Chaldees, out of an idolatrous nation, out of an idolatrous family; even as it was at the first most freely made to Adam in Paradise, when he was in a most desperate estate. So here it was freely made to good Abraham:(1) The love of God was free to him when He called him, being an idolater; and then it was freely renewed afterward, when he was good, as we shall see anon.

5. It is a covenant consisting most of spiritual things. It is a spiritual covenant. I mean especially promising spiritual favours, although the other things, as appendices of the main, are likewise meant. And then, lastly, you have the condition of the covenant; and that, though it is not expressed, yet it is implied. "I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed." "Therefore thou shalt take Me for thy God, carry thyself to Me as thy God," etc. "I will be thy God." This is the covenant in the Messiah; but first, what is it to be a God? I answer, To be a God, take it in the general, is to give being to the creature that had no being of itself, and to protect and preserve the creature in its being: in a word, to be a creator; for providence is the perpetuity and continuance of creation. This is to be a God. What is, then, to be thy God? "I will be thy God." I answer, To be a God in a more peculiar manner, is to be a God in covenant; that is, not only to be a God to preserve and continue this being of ours in a civil life, but it is to be a God in a higher relation to us; to be a God in a reference to an eternal, supernatural estate in heaven; to be a God here in grace, and hereafter in glory; and thus God is a God in a gracious covenant, only by Jesus Christ, and to those that believe in Him. "I will be thy God": that is, "I will be thy God in Christ," to give thee a better being than this world can afford; to free thee from the cursed estate thou art in by nature; to deliver thee from all ill, spiritually and eternally: especially to bestow on thee all good, spiritually and eternally; especially as we have it in the words of the covenant (Genesis 15:1), "I will be thy shield and thy exceeding great reward"; a shield to keep off all ill, and a reward for all good. So in Psalm 84:9, "God will be a sun and a shield," etc. a sun for all sweet comfort and good, and a shield in regard of defence from ill; a sun and a shield till we come to the possession of eternal happiness. Well, to come to the trials. But let me first add this to the former: whomsoever God is a God to, it is known specially by spiritual and eternal favours. A man cannot know certainly that God is his God by outward and common things that castaways may have; for a castaway may have Ishmael's blessing and Esau's portion, blessings of the left hand, common graces. To know undoubtedly, therefore, that God is our God, must be by peculiar matters; for those whose God God is are a peculiar people, a holy nation, severed from others. First of all, then, know what the Spirit of God saith to thy soul; for they that are God's have His Spirit, to reveal to their spirits the secret and hidden love of God. But if the voice of the Spirit be silent in regard of testimony, go to the work of the Spirit; but go to the peculiar work of the Spirit. Let us, then, come to the trial by our carrying ourselves to God. Can we say with David, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? "or "What is there in earth in comparison with Thee?" (Psalm 73:25.) When the conscience can tell us that we make God our treasure and our portion above all earthly things, then we make him our God.

2. Examine what affections we have to God: for it is affection that makes a Christian. Single out some few that We are most offending in.(1) As, first, for fear, it may shame us all. Indeed, a Christian upon his best resolution is better. But the ordinary carriage of men is, they fear men more than God; they fear everything more than Him that they should fear above all.(2) And so for joy and delight: we make God our God when we joy in Him above all things in the world; when we make Him our boast all the day long, as it is Psalm 44:8; when we make Him our glory, as He is called our glory in Jeremiah 2:11. God is our glory if He be our God.(3) Again, If God be our God, we will trust in Him, rely and depend upon Him above all things; for whatsoever our trust is most in, that is our god. Now if our conscience tell us that we trust most in God, more than in wealth or friends, and will not to displease God please any man, it is a sign that we have made God our God, because we trust in Him.(4) Again, If we make God our God, we may know it by our obedience, especially by the obedience of the inward man. But to proceed, and to come to some few familiar signs more that will try us, though these may try us, in the intercourse that is between God and us.(a) Whosoever hath God for their God, they have the Spirit of supplication and prayer, to cry unto God, to run unto Him, especially in extremity. All God's children have the spirit of adoption to cry, "Abba, Father!"(b) Again, We may know that God is our God by this, by our separating from all others, in ourselves and out of ourselves.(c) In a word, to name no more trials but this, whosoever God is a God to, there will be a transforming unto God, a transforming unto Christ, in whom God is our God. Having now thus unfolded terms, let us see what we may draw from thence for our use and comfort.

1. First, then, if by these trials we find that God be not, or have not been, our God, alas! let us never rest till we make it good that God is our God.

2. But, secondly, when we have found God to be our God, then make this use of it, a use of resolution. Is God my God? then I will resolve to please Him, though all creatures be against me.

3. Again, If God be our God, then let this stop all base and covetous desires after earthly things.

4. Again, If so be we know this for a truth, that God is our God, then let it be a use of exhortation to stir us up to keep, and maintain, and cherish acquaintance and familiarity with Him; as it is in Job 22:21.

5. Lastly, If by these comfortable signs we find God to be our God, then here is a spring of comfort opened to a Christian. If God be mine, then all that He hath is mine; He is my Father; He is my Husband; He is my Rock; His goodness, His wisdom, His providence, His mercy, whatsoever He hath is mine. "I will establish My covenant between Me and thee, and thy seed after thee," etc. I come now to the qualities of this covenant; and before I speak in particular of them, I beseech you observe one thing (which I will but touch, to make an entrance to that which follows), from the manner of setting down the covenant; it is not here set down as it is in other places of Scripture; "I will be thy God, and thou shalt be My people"; but here is only the first part, the main of the covenant of grace recited, "I will be thy God." Why doth He not say, too, Thou shalt take Me for thy God? Because where the first is, He ever works the second; our part depends upon His. It is therefore — to come to the first quality — called a free covenant. It cometh from God merely of grace. Again, secondly, it is a sure, a certain covenant. I will establish My covenant. But in whom is it established? how cometh it to be sure? It is established in Christ, the Mediator of the covenant, in the Messiah; for "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). That is the fundamental promise. And as it is a sure covenant, so, thirdly, it is an everlasting covenant. "I will make an everlasting covenant with thee." God is everlasting, Christ is everlasting, the graces of the Spirit are everlasting. When we are dead, He will be a God unto us, as it is said, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," their God when they were dead. He is the God of our dust, of our dead bodies. He will raise them up, for they are bodies in covenant with Him. Again, it is a peculiar covenant. God is in covenant only with those that answer Him, that take Him for their God, that are a peculiar people. It is not glorying in the flesh; but there must be somewhat wrought that is peculiar before we can be assured we are of Abraham's seed, and in covenant with God. And we may know that we are God's peculiar by some peculiar thing that we can do. What peculiar thing canst thou do? To speak a little of that by the way. Thou lovest and art kind; but, saith Christ, what peculiar thing canst thou do? A heathen man may be kind and loving, but canst thou overcome revenge? Canst thou spare and do good to thine enemies? Canst thou trust in God when all means fail? What is the power of the Spirit in thee? Doth it triumph in thee over thy natural corruption? Canst thou do as Abraham did? He left all at God's command; canst thou do that if need should be? Canst thou leave children, and wife, and life, and all at God's command? Canst thou sacrifice Isaac as he did? Canst thou more trust in the promise of God than in the dearest thing in the world, yea, than in thy own feeling of grace?

( R. Sibbes, D. D.)


1. From the type of the first Adam, for he is made the type of Him that was to come. Thus as the first covenant was made with the first Adam and all his posterity, so the second covenant is made with the second Adam and all His posterity also.

2. We read of a covenant made with persons and people, and promised unto them as special mercies, a covenant made with Abraham and Isaac, a covenant made with David: "The Lord has made with me an everlasting covenant in all things ordered and sure" (2 Samuel 23:5).

3. It will appear from the promises of the second covenant, though it is true, that they are all yea and amen in Him, yet are they properly and formally made unto us, either the first promises of grace or else of reward unto grace. Promises of grace are, "He will give His Spirit, and will give repentance, He will heal our backslidings," etc., and "We have an unction from the Holy One," etc.

4. The covenant of grace is a covenant in the hand of a Mediator, and confirmed by the death of the Testator; it is not only a covenant, but it is a testament.

5. The sacraments are seals of the covenant of grace.

6. There is a double oath to confirm this covenant, there is an oath made by God the Father to Christ, and there is an oath also made to us; there is an oath made unto Christ, and therefore He is said to be made a priest by a covenant oath (Psalm 110:4), and the oath to us: "Who are heirs of promise, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:17, 18).


1. To answer those great ends why God will deal with man in a covenant way.(1) The Lord will enter into covenant that He may declare His glory, not only in a way of goodness, but in a way of faithfulness. In the creation, the Lord did show forth much power and wisdom, and in the law much holiness; but there was no way to manifest His faithfulness, but by covenant: "The Lord hath chosen you above all people, that you might know that He is the Lord the faithful God" (Micah 7:20).(2) The Lord's intention was to honour man also; and it is one of the greatest and highest dignities that the Lord hath put upon His people, to bind them unto Himself for a name and a glory; and (Deuteronomy 26:18, 19) the Lord did avouch them to be His people, to make them high above all people; and therefore the staff of beauty mentioned in Zechariah 11:10 is the covenant between God and His people.(3) That the Lord might bind men unto Him more firmly in a way of obedience, and that the obedience might be made the more sweet. Man was bound unto God by a bond of creation; and from whom he has his being, unto Him did he owe his service; but the Lord will bind him unto Him with a further cord and bond of stipulation; the one was natural and necessary, and the other voluntary.(4) That the people of God might exercise faith in their prayers, putting these bonds in suit that the Lord hath made over unto them, when they look upon themselves as sons of Abraham, heirs of promise, and children of the covenant, etc., and thereby they come with a great deal the more boldness before the throne of grace, as David, "Let the thing Thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and his house be established forever" (1 Chronicles 17:23, 24).

2. There is a covenant made with the saints also, that they may see that they are as strictly bound to obedience in their own persons under the second covenant, as they were under the first covenant; and that the doctrine of the gospel though it be a doctrine of liberty, yet is not a doctrine of licentiousness.

3. That the saints also may stand in awe of the threats of God under the second covenant.

(W. Strong, D. D.)


1. Because of the unbelief of our spirits, and from the infirmity of our faith: for the confirmation of our faith in the mercy and grace of the covenant.

2. To manifest the sincerity of our hearts, that though we fail in the duty of it, yet our hearts still stand to it, we delight in the Law according to our inward man; though we fall every day, yet says a soul in covenant with God, I love to think of renewing the engagement that is between God and me; as a loving and tender wife loves often to renew her engagement to her husband, and to have it much in her mind.

3. By reason of the falseness of our hearts; there is so much treachery of spirit, that we are not easily kept within bounds, our purposes are easily broken, and men draw back from the Lord by reason of the falseness of their hearts, and the treachery that is in them: How weak is thy heart (Ezekiel 16:30).

4. They renew their covenant, that by often repeating and renewing it, it may be set on upon their spirits the more, and lay the greater engagement upon them.

5. By reason of the forgetfulness of the heart; there is nothing that the ungodliness of a man's heart is more prone to than to forget his engagement unto God, and therefore was that strict charge laid upon them (Deuteronomy 4:23).

6. By reason of the ignorance and blindness of the mind of man, we have need to be remembered of our covenant, and to renew it often; we are all narrow-mouthed vessels, and receive all things from God but by drops, and light comes in upon us but by degrees in several beams, and a man looks often upon it before he can understand it; and therefore the Lord gives unto us "line upon line, and precept upon precept" (Isaiah 28:10).


1. He that will renew his covenant with God must be deeply sensible of the breach of covenant, and of the unfaithfulness of his heart therein.

2. It must be with a resolution of heart to break all our covenants; men are said to "make a covenant with death and hell" (Isaiah 28:15).

3. A man must know the terms and read over the articles of the covenant anew; for no wise man will set his hand to an obligation, of which he is not well acquainted with the condition.

4. It must be with a free and full consent of heart, for the covenant in the renewing of it must be as voluntary as it was in the making of it; to make fair promises while men are under the rod, as many do in sickness, they promise to lead new lives, but yet return to their old ways.

5. A man must be willing to bind himself in the highest way unto obedience thereunto. When the people did make a covenant, they did stand up to the covenant, and said, Amen, Amen.

6. It must be with an earnest desire to God for grace to keep it, and an acknowledgment of our weakness and inability to perform any one of the duties of the covenant.


1. When a man hath eminently fallen into any great sin, or hath relapsed into former sins that were repented of, and that we have humbled our souls for, and if being washed, we have again defiled ourselves, and turned again to folly, then is a season in which the Lord calls you to renew your covenant.

2. In time of public humiliation, when men would divert and turn away judgment either from a nation or a person, then is the time for them to renew their covenant, and this was the ground of the covenant that Hezekiah made (2 Chronicles 29:8).

3. In a time of public reformation, when the foundations have been destroyed, and all things out of course, and a great deal of difficulty appears, and even impossibility in carrying on the work; yet the people of God, looking upon it as a duty, have set upon it with full resolution and purpose of heart, and have covenanted to go through with the work, notwithstanding all opposition.

4. As a testimony of a man's thankfulness for any great mercy or special deliverance, or as an argument of faith that a man is to use unto God, when he doth pray for and expect from God any special mercy.

5. When a man finds his heart bent to backsliding, and he is unsteady and unstable in any good way.

6. When a man doth receive the sacraments, any of the seals of the covenant, it is his duty to renew the covenant, as often as we set to the seal anew, we shall read over the obligation anew.


1. It hath been a testimony to them of the truth of their repentance (Matthew 3:8).

2. It is the foundation of consolation (2 Chronicles 15:14, 15); in the time of Asa the king of Judah they swore with a loud voice, with trumpets and cornets, and all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their hearts.

3. It is a means to establish and stay the heart, which is in itself exceeding fickle and uncertain.

4. It is a special means joined with fasting and prayer to prevail with God for mercy, when a man is willing as well to engage himself to duty, as he is to expect mercy from the Lord, "They sought the Lord with their whole desire, and He was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about" (2 Chronicles 15).

5. It cloth not only establish the heart, but make it better; as the will becomes good at first by willing what is good, so it is then best when it most strongly wills what is best. Now when doth the will more strongly will what is best, than when it doth most firmly renew its covenant with God, its best good? So many grains as there are of a determined will in adhering to God, according to the terms of the covenant, so many grains there are of saving grace.

6. The frequent renewing of our covenant with God is that which fortifies the heart against temptations.

7. Such as oft renew their covenant with God have a great advantage for the strengthening their union with Christ.

8. The principal part of the soul's communion and walking with God as a friend consists in this renewing its covenant with God.

9. The frequent renewing of our covenant with God is the most sovereign means to prevent or recover the soul out of any course of backsliding.

(W. Strong, D. D.)

To thy seed after thee.

The grounds of it are these: To show the extent of the grace of the second covenant; the Lord hath not dealt with men as He did with the angels, He did make a particular covenant with every particular angel, but He doth not so with men. He has always delighted to take in man into a covenant made with parents for them, that men might see that grace prevented them, and that they were engaged unto God, and His promise was out of grace entailed unto them as a birthright; and, therefore, as in the first covenant, God takes in Adam and all his posterity, and the second covenant is made with the second Adam and all His posterity; so, that there may be a resemblance hereof kept in the world, He hath taken in the children into their parents' covenant, that they may see grace extend beyond their persons, even to their posterity.


1. It will aggravate their sin if they abuse it; therefore it is a mercy and a privilege in itself: for what is not a mercy and a privilege in itself, that cannot add to a man's sin and judgment. Now, as it is in riches and honours, and all the blessings in this life, they will be unto a man judgments if they are abused; therefore, they are blessings in themselves, blessings in the thing, though a snare to the man; so this very argument that is brought to prove that they are no blessings, and give no benefit, doth clearly prove that the thing itself is a privilege and a blessing.

2. For a child to be disinherited and cast out his father's covenant is a very great judgment, and the sorest of all outward afflictions that can befall a man; as we see it in Cain, "Thou hast cast me out from the face of the earth, and from Thy face I shall be hid."

3. It is promised as a special blessing for the visible Church of God to continue in any man's posterity; and therefore we are to look upon it so (Genesis 4:25); it was so in Seth, "God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew"; and so it was promised to Shem, "that the church of God should be in his posterity continued," and that in due time "the Lord should enlarge Japhet to dwell also in the tents of Shem."

4. It is the greatest wrath that God doth pour out upon men in this life, to cast them out of external church privileges.


1. Many of them shall be saved, elected, and converted to God; for the Lord doth take the number of His elect out of the loins of His own, the Church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven is hid in the visible Church here as wheat in a heap of chaff.

2. It is the only ground of hope that parents have for the salvation of their children dying in their infancy.

3. There is no ordinary way of salvation, but it is amongst them that are taken into covenant, salvation is of the Jews: there was in an ordinary way salvation to be had nowhere else, and therefore, by being taken into the outward privileges of the Church, a man is brought into the ordinary way of salvation.

4. It is a special honour to be the vineyard of the Lord, the garden of the Lord hedged in from the rest of the world.

5. By this you have special privileges: Jerusalem is the valley of Vision, and Jeshuron the seeing people; it is Ariel, the altar of the Lord, chiefly to them are committed the oracles of God, which they are to keep and to transmit unto posterity; it is a depositum laid up and concredited to them: "In Judah is God known, His name is great in Israel; He hath not dealt so with other nations"; they are a people near unto Him, and the Lord hath promised that He will give them His special presence: "I will dwell in the midst of them"; Christ walks in the middle of the golden candlesticks, though He be in glory.

6. By coming under the outward privileges of this covenant, they have very glorious operations, mighty works upon them that other men have never experience of; and all this, even in them that perish; and they have this as a fruit of their external interest; for (Hosea 6:5) there is hewing and slaying, there is sowing and planting, when the rest of the common fields lie untilled, and there are great gifts bestowed, such as the Lord cloth not bestow on any other sort of people in the world; for the great gifts that come from Christ as ascended are upon the visible Church of God; yea the thorns and briars in the Church have the rain and influences, great and many common works of the Spirit raising and elevating and improving nature, the least of which works and motions is more worth than the world, it is so in the things, though it prove at last a curse to the man.

7. They by this means come under the care of the Church.

8. They attain many temporal blessings, and are delivered from many temporal afflictions thereby; Ishmael had many outward blessings by Abraham's covenant; the external blessings of the covenant are made good to them; God will not destroy Jerusalem, and the judgment came not upon King Hezekiah, "for David My servant's sake," and, "I will not rend it from Rehoboam, because I will not put out the light of Israel."

III. WHY WILL THE LORD HAVE THE COVENANT RUN BY WAY OF ENTAIL, IN REFERENCE TO THE OUTWARD PRIVILEGES OF IT, AND NOT IN REFERENCE TO THE INWARD GRACES OF IT? The covenant that was made with Adam was to convey the one as well as the other, and the image that he had received he was to convey to his posterity, and the promise of life spiritual, and life eternal, was made unto his posterity in case of his obedience, as well as unto himself; and therefore, as all died in him, so all should have lived in him. So that by the first covenant Adam might have conveyed not only outward privileges, but inward graces also; and whereas now by reason of the fall, all mankind do convey death to their children, but not life.

1. The Lord will not have the graces of the covenant entailed from parents unto posterity.(1) Because the curse of the first covenant is now become ex traduce, by propagation, and all the posterity of Adam do now as naturally convey the curse, by reason of the broken covenant, as Adam should have conveyed life and blessing, if he had stood in his integrity; and therefore whatever the immediate parents be, Adam's sin comes alike unto all whether they be godly or wicked; and the child of a godly parent is as truly and as deeply guilty of the sin of Adam in his birth, as the child of the most wicked man that is, that is an entail left upon all mankind that can never be cut off, while there is a man born upon earth.

2. Because under the second covenant it is the election of God that takes place, and puts all the difference between men and men, between whom in themselves there is no difference.

3. Because since the fall the Lord has appointed another way to convey life unto His people, and that is not by generation from the first Adam, but by regeneration from a second Adam; and therefore, the Lord will surely honour His own way, and He will not; convey the grace of the covenant from parents unto their posterity, but from Him only who is the second Adam.

(W. Strong, D. D.)

Abram, Isaac, Ishmael, Sarah, Sarai
Age-during, Alien, Canaan, Descendants, Eternal, Everlasting, Heritage, Possession, Seed, Sojourning, Sojournings, Stranger, Traveling, Wherein
1. God renews the covenant with Abram,
5. and changes his name to Abraham, in token of a greater blessing.
9. Circumcision is instituted.
15. Sarai's name is changed to Sarah, and she is blessed.
17. Isaac is promised, and the time of his birth fixed.
23. Abraham and Ishmael are circumcised.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 17:8

     4207   land, divine gift
     5477   property, land
     5704   inheritance, material

Genesis 17:1-8

     1335   blessing
     5076   Abraham, life of
     6667   grace, in OT

Genesis 17:1-22

     5467   promises, divine
     7915   confirmation

Genesis 17:3-8

     5044   names, giving of

Genesis 17:4-8

     5701   heir

Genesis 17:4-14

     1348   covenant, with Abraham

Genesis 17:7-8

     1140   God, the eternal
     7258   promised land, early history

Consecration to God --Illustrated by Abraham's Circumcision
Let me remind you of the order in which these blessings come. If we should speak of sanctification or consecration, it is not as a first thing, but as an elevation to be reached only by preceding stepping-stones. In vain do men pretend to be consecrated to God before they are called of God's Spirit; such have yet to be taught that no strength of nature can suffice to serve the Lord aright. They must learn what this meaneth, "Ye must be born again," for assuredly until men are brought into spiritual
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 14: 1868

(First Sunday in Lent) GENESIS xvii. 1, 2. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. I have told you that the Bible reveals, that is, unveils the Lord God, Jesus Christ our Lord, and through him God the Father Almighty. I have tried to show you how the Bible does so, step by step. I go on to show you another step which the Bible takes, and which explains much that has gone before. From
Charles Kingsley—The Gospel of the Pentateuch

With, Before, After
'Enoch walked with God,'--GENESIS v. 22. 'Walk before Me.'--GENESIS xvii. 1. 'Ye shall walk after the Lord your God.'--DEUTERONOMY xiii. 4. You will have anticipated, I suppose, my purpose in doing what I very seldom do--cutting little snippets out of different verses and putting them together. You see that these three fragments, in their resemblances and in their differences, are equally significant and instructive. They concur in regarding life as a walk--a metaphor which expresses continuity,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Balaam's Prophecy. (Numb. xxiv. 17-19. )
Carried by the Spirit into the far distant future, Balaam sees here how a star goeth out of Jacob and a sceptre riseth out of Israel, and how this sceptre smiteth Moab, by whose enmity the Seer had been brought from a distant region for the destruction of Israel. And not Moab only shall be smitten, but its southern neighbour, Edom, too shall be subdued, whose hatred against Israel had already been prefigured in its ancestor, and had now begun to display Itself; and In general, all the enemies of
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Birth and Early Life of John the Baptist.
(Hill Country of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke I. 57-80. ^c 57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her [mercy in granting a child; great mercy in granting so illustrious a child] ; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass on the eighth day [See Gen. xvii. 12; Lev. xii. 3; Phil. iii. 5. Male children were named at their circumcision, probably
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Circumcision, Temple Service, and Naming of Jesus.
(the Temple at Jerusalem, b.c. 4) ^C Luke II. 21-39. ^c 21 And when eight days [Gen. xvii. 12] were fulfilled for circumcising him [The rite was doubtless performed by Joseph. By this rite Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 16, 17); that is, he became a member of the covenant nation, and became a debtor to the law--Gal. v. 3] , his name was called JESUS [see Luke i. 59], which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke i. 31.] 22 And when the days of their
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
God's procedure when imitable forms a peculiar argument for duty. That is made known for many reasons; among which must stand this,--that it may be observed and followed as an example. That, being perfect, is a safe and necessary pattern to follow. The law of God proclaims what he wills men as well as angels to do. The purposes of God show what he has resolved to have accomplished. The constitutions of his moral subjects intimate that he has provided that his will shall be voluntarily accomplished
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Power of God
The next attribute is God's power. Job 9:19. If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong.' In this chapter is a magnificent description of God's power. Lo, he is strong.' The Hebrew word for strong signifies a conquering, prevailing strength. He is strong.' The superlative degree is intended here; viz., He is most strong. He is called El-shaddai, God almighty. Gen 17:7. His almightiness lies in this, that he can do whatever is feasible. Divines distinguish between authority and power. God has both.
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Confessing Christ an Indispensable Duty.
"--If we deny him, he also will deny us." This is predicated of Christ; and looks forward to the day when all mankind will stand before him as their judge. Denying Christ is here declared to be a mortal sin. Those found guilty of it will hear that sentence--"Depart ye cursed!" But this is to be understood only of a persevering denial of him. Those who turn by a timely repentance, will find mercy. This is true of every sin. But repentance may be too late. It must antecede death, or it will be of
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer
CHAPTER I The Universal Call to Prayer What a dreadful delusion hath prevailed over the greater part of mankind, in supposing that they are not called to a state of prayer! whereas all are capable of prayer, and are called thereto, as all are called to and are capable of salvation. Prayer is the application of the heart to God, and the internal exercise of love. S. Paul hath enjoined us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. v 17), and our Lord saith, "I say unto you all, watch and pray" (Mark xiii.
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

All are Commanded to Pray --Prayer the Great Means of Salvation
CHAPTER I. ALL ARE COMMANDED TO PRAY--PRAYER THE GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION, AND POSSIBLE AT ALL TIMES BY THE MOST SIMPLE. Prayer is nothing else but the application of the heart to God, and the interior exercise of love. St Paul commands us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. v. 17). Our Lord says: "Take ye heed, watch and pray." "And what I say unto you, I say unto all" (Mark xiii. 33, 37). All, then, are capable of prayer, and it is the duty of all to engage in it. But I do not think that all are
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Covenant of Grace
Q-20: DID GOD LEAVE ALL MANKIND TO PERISH 1N THE ESTATE OF SIN AND MISERY? A: No! He entered into a covenant of grace to deliver the elect out of that state, and to bring them into a state of grace by a Redeemer. 'I will make an everlasting covenant with you.' Isa 55:5. Man being by his fall plunged into a labyrinth of misery, and having no way left to recover himself, God was pleased to enter into a new covenant with him, and to restore him to life by a Redeemer. The great proposition I shall go
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them,' &c. Matt 28: 19. I. The way whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemptions, is, in the use of the sacraments. What are the sacraments in general? They are visible signs of invisible grace. Is not the word of God sufficient to salvation? What need then is there of sacraments? We must not be wise above what is written. It is God's will that his church
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the Eleventh
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among the author's papers after his death, in his own handwriting; and published in 1691, by Charles Doe, in a folio volume of the works of John Bunyan. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR Being in company with an enlightened society of Protestant dissenters of the Baptist denomination, I observed to a doctor of divinity, who was advancing towards his seventieth year, that my time had been delightfully engaged with John Bunyan's commentary on Genesis. "What,"
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Supplementary Note to Chapter ii. The Year of Christ's Birth.
The Christian era commences on the 1st of January of the year 754 of the city of Rome. That our Lord was born about the time stated in the text may appear from the following considerations-- The visit of the wise men to Bethlehem must have taken place a very few days after the birth of Jesus, and before His presentation in the temple. Bethlehem was not the stated residence of Joseph and Mary, either before or after the birth of the child (Luke i. 26, ii. 4, 39; Matt. ii. 2). They were obliged to
William Dool Killen—The Ancient Church

Peaceable Principles and True: Or, a Brief Answer to Mr. D'Anver's and Mr. Paul's Books against My Confession of Faith, and Differences in Judgment About Baptism no Bar to Communion.
WHEREIN THEIR SCRIPTURELESS NOTIONS ARE OVERTHROWN, AND MY PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES STILL MAINTAINED. 'Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?'--Psalm 58:1 SIR, I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Influences that Gave Rise to the Priestly Laws and Histories
[Sidenote: Influences in the exile that produced written ceremonial laws] The Babylonian exile gave a great opportunity and incentive to the further development of written law. While the temple stood, the ceremonial rites and customs received constant illustration, and were transmitted directly from father to son in the priestly families. Hence, there was little need of writing them down. But when most of the priests were carried captive to Babylonia, as in 597 B.C., and ten years later the temple
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

John Bunyan on the Terms of Communion and Fellowship of Christians at the Table of the Lord;
COMPRISING I. HIS CONFESSION OF FAITH, AND REASON OF HIS PRACTICE; II. DIFFERENCES ABOUT WATER BAPTISM NO BAR TO COMMUNION; AND III. PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES AND TRUE[1] ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Reader, these are extraordinary productions that will well repay an attentive perusal. It is the confession of faith of a Christian who had suffered nearly twelve years' imprisonment, under persecution for conscience sake. Shut up with his Bible, you have here the result of a prayerful study of those holy
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Promise to the Patriarchs.
A great epoch is, in Genesis, ushered in with the history of the time of the Patriarchs. Luther says: "This is the third period in which Holy Scripture begins the history of the Church with a new family." In a befitting manner, the representation is opened in Gen. xii. 1-3 by an account of the first revelation of God, given to Abraham at Haran, in which the way is opened up for all that follows, and in which the dispensations of God are brought before us in a rapid survey. Abraham is to forsake
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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