“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, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
~ Genesis 17:1-8
As man finds himself flipping between disobedience and faithfulness we come across a man named Abram. He was a man that had everything materially that one could crave, but he was still lacking. Abram had yet to conceive a child with his wife Sarai. But God had a plan and multiple promises for Abram.
First, in Genesis 12 we see God call Abram into a land yet to be seen. So Abram got up, took all he had and he went to the land God had promised. Then in Genesis 15, God promises Abram a son who was to be an heir. Genesis 15:6 says,
“And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.”
God had promised Abram some remarkable things – things that God had faithfully delivered or would soon deliver. Though Abram would struggle with disbelief (see Hagar), he trusted God. This wasn’t some wobbly, emotive decision but one which Abram staked his life and his family’s life on. It was this faith, even before Christ’s blood was spilt, that saved him.
As we come to Genesis 17, we see a promise fulfilling God come to Abram with yet another gracious promise. It is no accident we see God reveal His name as El Shaddai (though the ESV reads – “I am God Almighty). It is somewhat unclear what El Shaddai truly means, we do see that it is clearly tied to a God who keeps His promises. Promises that He stands by, even when men like Abram stumble.
God makes an everlasting covenant with Abram. A covenant so sweeping that Abram has his name changed to Abraham – “father of a multitude” – as he was set to be the father of many nations, kings and people. It was a promise that the promise-keeping God was certain to fulfill, just not in the way that Abraham may have imagined.
For from the line of Abraham (Matthew 1:2) would come THE KING who would be worshipped by those from every tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation 7:9) and who everyone will bow before one day (Philippians 2:10). The promise was one that is still is still being won today. It is a promise that Abraham clung to and one that we should take notice of.
God’s promise never fails, even when we do. No enemy can foil it, no sin will spoil it. What he says always has come to be and will always be. El Shaddai has never failed to deliver on His promises and He will never fail to do so.
May we be faithful to believe the One who never fails to do as He says.
Take a few minutes to ask God to help you to rest in Him. Even when it hurts, even when you fail and even when it seems impossible – seek to trust in our promise-keeping Father.