Here, Paul continues to teach his lesson about Abraham, which he began in Romans 4:1-22.
God had made promises to Abraham which were for the benefit of the future members of his family (Genesis 13:14-17). So it was clearly important, for the honour of God, that Abraham should have children. Otherwise, Godís promises would fail - however, it is not possible for Godís promises to fail (9:6).
Abraham cared deeply about the honour of God. However, Abrahamís wife, Sarah, was unable to have children. Even in this situation, Abraham continued to believe in what God had said (Genesis 15:1-6).
As Abraham and Sarah became older, Sarah urged Abraham to accept her maid, Hagar, as his concubine (secondary wife). Hagar gave birth to Abrahamís first son, Ishmael. God made great and wonderful promises to Abraham about the future of Ishmaelís family. However, Ishmael was not the son that God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 17:19-21).
Godís promises were for the benefit of Abrahamís second son, Isaac (Genesis 21:12). Isaac was born to Sarah in extraordinary circumstances, when she was too old to have children. From Isaacís family came the nation called Israel or the Jewish people. God chose Israel to be his special, holy nation. That was why he showed special kindness to them (9:4-5). God wanted the whole world to benefit from his kindness to them (Genesis 12:3; Romans 11:12-15).
Abraham also took another wife, Keturah, and by her he had 6 more sons (Genesis 25:1-2). Abraham provided for those sons, but he sent them to live abroad (Genesis 25:6). They could not have any share in the promises that God had given to him and to Isaac.
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© 2017, Keith Simons.