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The seventeenth chapter of Genesis is a very important portion.  It is here that the Lord speaks of the covenant He had made with Abraham.  Let’s read Genesis 17:1-7, “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.  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”  It is in this chapter the Lord gives to Abraham the token of His covenant, which was circumcision.  It is also in this chapter that the Lord informs Abraham that His covenant would be continued through a son that he would give to Abraham and Sarah, his wife.

The Lord had said to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “…I will make of thee a great nation.”  A son had been promised to Abraham. Now, for the first time he is informed that this promised son was to be a child of Sarai. This nation would be established through Isaac, the promised son of Abraham and Sarah.

Now let’s read Genesis 17:15-17, “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”  Upon hearing God’s promise of a son through Sarai, Abraham fell on his face and laughed.  Was this a laugh of scorn and unbelief?  Did Abraham doubt the word of the Lord?  Let’s read of this account in Romans 4:19-22 where the Apostle Paul wrote of Abraham, “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  We learn here that Abraham did not doubt the Lord.  He was fully persuaded that the Lord would deliver on His promise.  Abraham may have been momentarily stunned at the promise of God, but he fell upon his face in reverence and awe before the Lord, believing what he had been told.

Later, when Sarah learned of this promise, she also laughed.  Let’s read Genesis 18:11-14, “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”  It’s pointed out to us here that Sarah’s laugh expressed doubt and unbelief.  Although, Abraham and Sarah both laughed at the promise of God, Abraham’s was a laugh of amazement at the power of God, while Sarah’s was a laugh of doubt of the power of God.  (92.1)