“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Gen 17:7
What does it mean, Scripturally, to have YHVH be God to Abraham’s seed forever? There is the side we always think of first: that He will be the One who Abraham’s seed worships and serves. But there is the other side of the coin: He will be the One who takes care of the seed (us), who provides for the seed, and who comes to our aid.
We saw at the beginning of Genesis, that Elohiym (God) indicates mighty power and supreme preeminence joined to the shepherd’s teaching, leading, guiding, caretaking heart. When God says to Abraham, “I will be God to you,” He is saying, “I will be the Power available to you in time of need.”
This bears out in the new title for Himself that God gives to Abram:
When Abram was ninety- nine years old, the LORD [YHVH] appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God [El Shaddai]; walk before Me and be blameless.” Gen 17:1
There are two explanations for the meaning of the word Shaddai: the first is that Shaddai comes from a primitive Hebrew root (Strong’s H7703) that means “to deal violently with, devastate, ruin, destroy, spoil,” thus, Shaddai indicates overwhelming might to devastate His enemies, or God All Powerful. The second is that Shaddai comes from the Hebrew two letter root for breast, thus Shaddai indicates complete sufficiency, or God All Sufficient.
Rather than picking one or the other, I think it could be possible that God chose to reveal one of His titles as El Shaddai, because He means to be both God All Powerful, and God All Sufficient, for all Abraham’s seed forever.
For further study: Look up the words “all,” “powerful,” and “sufficient” in Webster’s dictionary. If God is All Powerful and All Sufficient, what does that mean exactly for Abraham’s seed? Use the definition from Webster’s to answer the question!
1A: Gen 17.1-17, the covenant reaffirmed and circumcision, the sign of the covenant, given;
1B: Gen 17.15-16, the covenant will go through Sarah and her son;
1C: Gen 17.17-18, Abraham pleads for Ishmael;
CENTRAL AXIS: Gen 17.19, “But Elohiym said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him;”
2C: Gen 17:20, the blessing upon Ishmael;
2B: Gen 17:21, the covenant will be established through Isaac, the son of Sarah;
2A: Gen 17:22-27, the circumcision of Abraham and his household.
God places neon flashing lights around the fact that Ishmael, the son of the flesh, will NOT be the heir of the covenant, but that Isaac, the son of the promise, will be the heir of the covenant. Abraham is the father, Isaac is the son. Isaac is a type of Messiah, the Son of the Father, who was conceived miraculously, and who is the Promised Seed of Gen 3:15.
For further reading:
Isaac and Ishmael (Christian Action for Israel) (Broken link, active January 9, 2011)