Last week in Sunday School we talked about the Abrahamic covenant, the promises that God makes to Abraham about his posterity in Genesis 17. We know that God does not just make covenants with men but that he also makes them with women and as we talked I couldn't help but wonder where Sarah was when all this was going on. Later that afternoon I went home and started to read Genesis 17 closer and I was so excited to realized that the covenant God is making is not just with Abraham but it is also with Sarah.
Here is what God tells Abraham:
- He changes his name from Abram to Abraham (17:5);
- Promises him that he will be exceedingly fruitful (17:6);
- That he will "make nations of thee" (17:6);
- That "Kings shall come out of thee"(17:6);
- It will be an everlasting covenant with his posterity (17:7);
- His posterity will be given the land of Canaan (17:8);
- Every man child must be circumcised (17:10-14).
- Changes her name from Sarai to Sarah (17:15);
- Blesses her and promises that she will bear a son (17:16);
- That she shall be a "mother of nations" (17:16);
- That "Kings shall be of her" (17:16);
- The covenant will be with her posterity(17:19).
Having a better understanding of Sarah's part in the Abrahamic covenant sheds new light on the story of Hagar and Sarah and Ishmael and Issac. Even though Ishmael was Abraham's first born he could not be heir to the covenant blessings because he was not Sarah's son. God has covenanted with Sarah that the blessings of the priesthood would come through her; she was heir to all the blessings just like Abraham was.
It is really powerful to me to realize that the Abrahamic covenant wasn't just with Abraham but also with Sarah. This really makes a lot of sense because the covenant that God made with Abraham and Sarah was called the "everlasting covenant" and promised eternal increase. Today in the LDS church we believe that couples whose marriages are sealed in the temple are partaking of the "new and everlasting covenant" (which is outline in D&C 132) and that one of the promises is eternal increase, or eternal posterity. The covenant today is "new" because we are in a new dispensation and because the covenant no longer involves circumcision ( which is no longer needed because of the resurrection of Christ). God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and it makes sense to me that if today the "everlasting covenant" is made with couples then in Abram and Sarah's day it also would have been made with couples. The promises of Abraham, Issac and Jacob are also the promises of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel.