When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Walk with me and be trustworthy.
The aged couple Abram and Sarai cannot have children; Abraham is already 99! Sarai gives up and has Abraham bear a child through her servant, Hagar. Ishmael is born, the father of all the Arab nations.
It’s all been “downhill” in the Book of Genesis so far, but in Chapter 17 things begin to look up. God is going to bring a child to Abram, whose name is changed to Abraham, and to Sarai who becomes Sarah. Isaac will be born to them.
This chapter is one of those great ones where God gives a promise called a covenant to the human family. Through Abraham, a great nation of God’s people is going to come to be. Think of it: the three great religious of Islam, Judaism and Christianity all look to Abraham as our common father and patriarch. Let’s keep up prayer for unity and harmony among these religions. We don’t seem to be living up to the covenant of love and peace that God is offering us!
Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
El Shaddai: “God Almighty” 17:1
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.
Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.
These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook. You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet. More information…