Reading 4/341, Genesis 15-18

God promises Abram a son, but he and Sarai try to conceive by a surrogate, Hagar, whom Sarai then hates. God requires circumcision and renames Abram and Sarai, Abraham and Sarah. Three men/angels visit Abraham who tries to negotiate for the sake of Sodom which they will destroy.
[A] God has plans in his own time. Sarai's plan to use a surrogate mother is not God's plan and only causes division in the family. How true this is of modern Fertility Clinics!
[B] We find it hard to believe that a 90 year old woman had a baby but so did Sarah.
[C] The three visitors are a type of the Trinity.

...Genesis...

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Abram said, “Lord God, what will you give me, since I continue childless, and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram said, “Behold, to me you have given no offspring, and behold, one of my household is my heir.” Behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come from your body will be your heir.” The Lord brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So shall your descendents be.” He believed the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.

He said to him, "I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it." He said, "Lord God, how will I know that I will inherit it?" He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." He brought him all of these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not divide the birds. The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him. He said to Abram, "Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years. I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth, but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age. In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."

Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bore him no children. She had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing. Please go in to my handmaid. It may be that I will obtain children by her." Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived. When she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. Sarai said to Abram, "This wrong is your fault. I gave my handmaid into your bosom, and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between me and you." But Abram said to Sarai, "Behold, your maid is in your hand. Do to her whatever is good in your eyes." Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face. The angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. He said, "Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, where did you come from? Where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands." The angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your seed, that they will not be numbered for multitude." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and will bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. He will be like a wild donkey among men. His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. He will live opposite all of his brothers." She called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "You are a God who sees," for she said, "Have I even stayed alive after seeing him?" Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi. Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar bore a son for Abram. Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord 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, and God spoke to him, saying: “This is my covenant with you: You will be the father of a multitude of nations. Nor will your name any more be 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 forth from 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.” God said to Abraham, “For your part, you will keep my covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.” This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you. Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin. It will be a token of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old will be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he who is born in the house, or bought with money from any foreigner who is not of your seed. He who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. The uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant." God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name will be Sarah. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. Yes, I will bless her, and she will be a mother of nations. Kings of peoples will come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to him who is one hundred years old? Will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?" Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!" God said, "No, but Sarah, your wife, will bear you a son. You shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year." When he finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house, and all who were bought with his money; every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the same day, as God had said to him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the same day both Abraham and Ishmael, his son, were circumcised. All the men of his house, those born in the house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

The Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood opposite him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, "My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not go away from your servant. Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. I will get a morsel of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant." They said, "Very well, do as you have said." Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly make ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes." Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it. He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate. They said to him, "Where is Sarah, your wife? He said, "See, in the tent." He said, "I will certainly return to you when the season comes round. Behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. It had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" The Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Will I really bear a child, though I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son." Then Sarah denied, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh."

The men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way. The Lord said, "Will I hide from Abraham what I do, seeing that Abraham has surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that the Lord may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him. The Lord said, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether their deeds are as bad as the reports which have come to me. If not, I will know."

The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. Abraham drew near, and said, "Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? Be it far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Should not the Judge of all the earth do right?" the Lord said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake." Abraham answered, "See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord, who am but dust and ashes. What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?" He said, "I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there." He spoke to him yet again, and said, "What if there are forty found there?" He said, "I will not do it for the forty's sake." He said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if there are thirty found there?" He said, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." He said, "See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. What if there are twenty found there?" He said, "I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake." He said, "O do not let the Lord be angry, and I will speak just once more. What if ten are found there?" He said, "I will not destroy it for the ten's sake. The Lord went his way, as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

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