Sketched IV Day 5 Sarai: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out Sarai!

The Questions

1) Why was Ishmael not acceptable to God in terms of the covenant?

2) Why was circumcision necessary? What did it signify?

3) What is significant about Abraham falling facedown before God but then laughing (verse 17)?

Genesis 17:15-21

15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah will be her name. 16 I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?” 18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable to you!”

19 But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. He will father twelve tribal leaders, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will confirm my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.”

Original Intent

1) Why was Ishmael not acceptable to God in terms of the covenant?
Ishmael was born out of the will of humans, not the will of God. When God told Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, there was no directive given. In other words, God was going to make this happen, and He didn’t need any help from ol’ Abe…or any interference from Sarai.

2) Why was circumcision necessary? What did it signify?
God instituted circumcision as a sign of belonging to His chosen people. It seems a bit confusing that Ishmael was not to have the covenant confirmed to him, but he was to be circumcised.  Notice that all of Abraham’s servants and foreigners living with him were also to be circumcised. It was a sign of affiliation with Abraham, but more importantly, with God. As the Life Application Study Bible puts it, circumcision is “…a sign of obedience to [H]im in all matters…a symbol of “cutting off” the old life of sin…”

3) What is significant about Abraham falling facedown before God but then laughing (verse 17)?
Becoming prostrate before God is an act of reverence toward His Holiness. In this position, a person is signifying they are ready to accept whatever they hear from God, understanding that He is in control. Abraham’s laughter (unlike Sarah’s in Genesis 18:10-15) was a bubbling up of joyfulness. He didn’t know how God would bring forth a child from two tired, old bodies, but he certainly looked forward to holding his – and Sarah’s – own beautiful son. He remained faithful to God without doubt that He would do exactly as He said He would!

Everyday Application

1) Why was Ishmael not acceptable to God in terms of the covenant?
Sometimes God reveals a plan or calls a person to a purpose that seems like it can be manifested by human hands. It doesn’t qualify in our brains as “miraculous.” So, we set about trying to make it happen. And maybe it does come about, but wouldn’t the end result be so much sweeter and more powerful if we had let God bring it into fruition in His time and His way?
In Abraham and Sarai’s case, a baby was truly a miracle. They didn’t fully believe that God could make it happen. because they viewed the situation purely from the human, natural standpoint.
There is a spiritual world continuously happening around us. We have no clue, really, everything occurring in that very real realm! If God declares He will do something, believe wholeheartedly that He can and will! Even if it seems like something that you could make happen in your own power, allow His supernatural power to bring it about and worship Him for doing it. His plans, His Spirit, His way.

2) Why was circumcision necessary? What did it signify?
While circumcision was an outward sign of belonging to God in the Old Testament, baptism is the New Testament equivalent. As I’ve heard my pastor say, baptism is the outward demonstration of an inward transformation. Not only is it literally following Jesus’ example (see Luke 3:21-22), it’s also a means of identifying with Christ’s burial and resurrection. As such, a person who is baptized symbolizes the death of their old, sinful life and the beginning of their new life as a follower of Jesus.
How many times do we share news of something good in our lives with everyone who will listen? It might be something like, “Hey, I got a raise!” or “I lost 10 pounds!” It might be extraordinary like, “I’ve been chosen to give the keynote speech!” So, what’s different about our faith in Jesus? We should be even more excited to share this news because it’s the only Good News that will change our eternity!
Have you taken the plunge of baptism? I encourage you to talk to your pastor about going public with your new identity as a Christian.

3) What is significant about Abraham falling facedown before God but then laughing (verse 17)?
Is there something you’ve always dreamed of having? For Abraham, it was a son and heir. He was utterly distraught at the idea of leaving his estate to a servant. He was blessed with a wife of unequaled beauty, but still yearned for a son. Imagine his glee when God assured him that He would bring about the desired child!
Maybe you also long for a child. Maybe you wait expectantly for your child to return from their wanderings. As for myself, I (almost literally) ache for a godly husband. As we endure this period of waiting, let’s remain faithful to God without doubting that, in His perfect time, if it is His perfect plan for our lives, He will bring our heart’s desire. But – even if He doesn’t – let us remember that Our Beautiful Lord remains our heart’s greatest desire. And while we wait, let’s follow Abraham’s example and worship.

What do YOU think?! Share Here!
Missing the connection to our other Journey Study today?
Catch up with Sarai!

Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

Memorize It!

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