Leslie M. John

The LORD God of Israel whose name is Jehovah took an oath saying He loved the children of Israel.  However, it was not because they were more in number than any other nation but because He swore to their fathers that He will make them a great nation. In fact, they were ‘fewest’ among nations. Therefore, He delivered them with His mighty hand from the bondage of slavery under Pharaoh King of Egypt.

“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

The un-conditional covenant the LORD made to Abram, when he was ninety years old, was that He will multiply him exceedingly and will make him father of all nations. God renamed Abram as “Abraham” and said to him that his wife sarai’s name will thenceforth be “Sarah”.

The covenant was fulfilled in two ways. Firstly of his natural descendants by Isaac and Jacob; and secondly of spiritual descendants that believed in Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Abram’s promised seed with whom God promised to establish His covenant was Isaac. Jacob was Isaac’s son and God blessed him and changed his name as “Israel.

Even before Isaac was born Abram already had a child by Hagar, an Egyptian, who was handmaid of Abram’s wife Sarai, and the child’s name was Ishmael. The child was the result of Sarai giving Hagar into the bosom of Abram to be his wife, and raise children for him; but when Hagar became pregnant Hagar mocked Sarai on her barrenness. Sarai contended with Abram, who delivered Hagar into Sarai’s hands to take decision about her future. Sarai dealt hard with Hagar and the latter fled from Sarai. (Ref. Genesis 16:1-6)

The angel of the LORD, who found Hagar “by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur”, inquired Hagar as to where she was coming from. Hagar narrated as to how Sarai dealt hard with her and the angel of the LORD said to her that Hagar was pregnant and she should return to Sarai and submit herself to be under her.

The angel of the LORD said to Hagar that she will give birth to a son and she should call his name “Ishmael”. The meaning of the word “Ishmael” is “God will hear” (Hebrew Strong’s definition Number 3458 Yishma`e’l) (Ref. Genesis 16:11-12). The angel of the LORD blessed Hagar saying He will multiply her seed exceedingly “that it shall not be numbered for multitude”.

Abraham worshipped God. He 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?” and then said to God, “O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year”.

God blessed Ishmael because Abraham sought favor for him and the LORD said “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation”

The LORD continued saying an important part of the covenant and it was “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year” (Ref. Genesis 17:1-21).

Thus, God established His covenant with Isaac, the promised child of the covenant of God.