SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep the covenantal requirement I am imposing on you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep: Every male among you must be circumcised. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskins. This will be a reminder of the covenant between me and you. 12 Throughout your generations every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not one of your descendants. 13 They must indeed be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money. The sign of my covenant will be visible in your flesh as a permanent reminder. 14 Any uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off from his people—he has failed to carry out my requirement.”
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife, you must no longer call her Sarai; Sarah will be her name. 16 I will bless her and will give you a son through her. I will bless her and she will become a mother of nations. Kings of countries will come from her!”
17 Then Abraham bowed down with his face to the ground and laughed as he said to himself, “Can a son be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live before you!”
19 God said, “No, Sarah your wife is going to bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a perpetual covenant for his descendants after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes; I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 When he finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
23 Abraham took his son Ishmael and every male in his household (whether born in his house or bought with money) and circumcised them on that very same day, just as God had told him to do. 24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised; 25 his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised. 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on the very same day. 27 All the men of his household, whether born in his household or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
18:1 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest time of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing across from him. When he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought so that you may all wash your feet and rest under the tree. 5 And let me get a bit of food so that you may refresh yourselves since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.” 7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8 Abraham then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food before them. They ate while he was standing near them under a tree.
9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, in the tent.” 10 One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?”
13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.”
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked out over Sodom. (Now Abraham was walking with them to see them on their way.) 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 After all, Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on the earth may receive blessing through him. 19 I have chosen him so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then the Lord will give to Abraham what he promised him.”
20 So the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant 21 that I must go down and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests. If not, I want to know.”
22 The two men turned and headed toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you really sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 24 What if there are 50 godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare the place for the sake of the 50 godly people who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?”
26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom 50 godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord (although I am but dust and ashes), 28 what if there are five less than the 50 godly people? Will you destroy the whole city because five are lacking?” He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.”
29 Abraham spoke to him again, “What if 40 are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the 40.”
30 Then Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak! What if 30 are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find 30 there.”
31 Abraham said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only 20 are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 20.”
32 Finally Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if 10 are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 10.”
33 The Lord went on his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham. Then Abraham returned home.