When Abram was 75 years, the LORD appeared to him and said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” And Abram did as the LORD commanded.
Soon after this, the LORD again came to Abram and said, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” And Abram built an altar to the LORD.
Sometime later, the LORD again appeared to him and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” And he let him know that contrary to what Abram suggested, Eliezer his servant would not be his heir. Rather, as the LORD said to him, “…a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. 5 …Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them… So shall your offspring be.” And “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” The LORD went on to promise to Abram, unconditionally, that his descendants would one day take possession of the land.
Finally, last week we saw that ten years after these appearances when Abram was 85 years old, the angel of the LORD appeared not to him but to Hagar, his wife Sarai’s servant, and promised her, “10 I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count…11 You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.” And what we discover in this morning’s passage is that Abram apparently took this promise made to Hagar by the angel of the LORD as evidence that the means by which he would fulfill his initial promise to him would be through Ishmael. For as we’ve noted, this way of producing an heir would have been viewed as acceptable at that time. And as the chief-wife, Sarai would have had influence over this child borne by Hagar, the slave-wife. But Abram was in for a big surprise! For this morning we see, at long last, that God would fulfill his promise to provide an heir not through Abram’s servant, Eliezer; nor through Sarai’s servant, Hagar; but through Abram and Sarai themselves. For when Abram was 99 years old and Sarai was 89, Sarai would miraculously conceive and thus Isaac, the child of promise, would be born.
Chapter 17 of Genesis provides an important prelude to this miraculous event. It records what took place thirteen years after the angel of the LORD’s appearance to Hagar, Sarai’s servant. Beginning with verse 1 we’re told, “1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’” Isn’t it wonderful to know that walking faithfully and blamelessly before the LORD is something intended not only for the young but also the old?! Whether we are 9 or 99, our gracious LORD desires for us to follow him, to live according to his will and ways, to be holy and blameless even as he is! And in disclosing himself as “God Almighty”— El–Shaddai in the Hebrew—God is reminding Abram of just how powerful and able he is to keep his promises. For only God Almighty, he who is the LORD and Giver of all life, would be able to bring life from the aged and barren bodies of Abram and Sarai.
As noted in verse 3, Abram’s response to this appearance was that he “fell facedown.” And then we’re told what God went on to state starting in verse 4. God began with his side of the covenant or agreement:
4 As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
God yet again reaffirmed here the two key aspects of the initial promise he made to Abram 24 years earlier when he was but 75 years old. First is the assurance of descendants stated in verse 6 as he promised to make Abram “very fruitful”—even as he had first told Adam and Eve and then reiterated to Noah and his sons after the flood— and to make nations of him, noting that kings would come from him—and, again, such ruling was also part of God’s mandate to Adam and Eve. Second the promise of land is also repeated. As stated in verse 8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you.” From the time that the LORD first brought Abram from his home in Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan, or modern day Israel, each time he appeared to him he reaffirmed these two promises.
But these verses additionally provide some new information. For one, as stated in verse 5, God changed Abram’s name from “Abram” meaning “exalted father” to “Abraham”—which scholars believe means “father of many” as indicated by the LORD going on to state, “for I have made you a father of many nations.” So, too, as stated in verses 15–16, did God change Sarai’s name from “Sarai” to “Sarah”—both forms meaning “princess”—as he declared to Abraham, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” With these declarations the LORD made evident that from the time at which he first appeared to Abraham and promised to make of him a great nation and bless him, it had ever been implicit that Sarah, Abraham’s wife and co-laborer, would similarly be blessed and used of the LORD to fulfill his promise. As Adam and Eve had both been given the creation mandate to be fruitful and care over the earth, so now were Abraham and Sarah to be co-rulers. For if Abraham was to become the father of nations as stated in verse 5, Sarah was to become the mother of nations as stated in verse 16; if kings would come from Abraham as stated in verse 6, so, too, would they come from Sarah. In this revelation from the LORD we can see that Abraham’s suggestion that his heir would come by way of his servant, Eliezer, and Sarah’s suggestion that he would come by way of her servant, Hagar, had never been part of God’s initial plan. No, the heir he promised would come from no other than Abraham and Sarah themselves.
Now a point that has been implicit but is now made explicit is the statement made by the LORD in verse 7, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Up until now the key ways in which the LORD had identified himself had been either in terms of his attributes, e.g., “I am your shield, your very great reward” and now as “God Almighty,” or in relation to his initial and individual appearance to Abram, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” But now God made clear that he was to be not only the God of Abraham but also “the God of your descendants after you.” For God’s intent had ever been to create a nation, a people, for himself from the one man, Abraham. Therefore the identity of this people and nation would be tied to God. If God was the God of Abraham, he would also be the God of those who descended from him. The identity of both Abraham and his descendants was to be grounded in the God who called first revealed himself to him.
Too, we see in these verses that the LORD was making a new covenant. For unlike the Abrahamic Covenant of chapter 15 in which God made an unconditional promise to Abram to give the land to his offspring, this covenant is followed by conditions that Abraham and his descendants were to keep. As stated beginning in verse 9, God told Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” We mentioned a few weeks ago that in the Hebrew, the phrase translated as “making a covenant” literally means “to cut a covenant.” In that instance the “cutting” was in reference to the cutting of the animals that the LORD walked between, the idea being that in doing so God was indicating “May it be so done to me if I do not keep my oath and pledge.” Here the sign, the “cutting of the covenant,” refers to the cutting of each male’s foreskin. As noted by one commentator, this cutting similarly “…symbolized a self-maledictory oath: ‘If I am not loyal in faith and obedience to the Lord, may the sword of the Lord cut off me and my offspring as I have cut off my foreskin.’”
This sign of circumcision was the condition that Abraham and his descendants would need to meet in order to ratify this covenant from the LORD. As verses 12–13 state, the LORD told Abraham, “12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.” This covenant between God and his people would include not only those who were descendants of Abraham but also those who were not his offspring. What is more, as stated in verse 14, “Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” The sign of circumcision was so important that any male whose foreskin was not cut as an indication of their relationship with the LORD would be cut off from God.
Returning to Sarah, when Abraham heard God tell him that he would surely give him a son through her—and that he would bless her—and that she would be the mother of nations—and that kings would come from her, rather than shout out, “Hallelujah! Praise the Sovereign LORD!,” we’re told instead, verse 17, that “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” In other words, Abraham couldn’t believe what God had just disclosed to him. How preposterous to think that at the ages of 100 and 90 respectively, he and his bride would have a bouncing baby boy! And so he laughed to himself. No doubt his laughter was due to unbelief; but perhaps it was also due to the absurdity and delight of it all?
Well after laughing and speaking to himself, Abraham then spoke to God, verse 18, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” This is where we’re clued into the fact that up until this moment Abraham had been assuming that Ishmael, who had been conceived by way of Hagar, Sarah’s servant, was the intended heir. For remember that when Abram had suggested that perhaps Eliezer would be his heir, the LORD had told him, no, his heir would be from his own flesh and blood—and Ishmael therefore was his own flesh and blood, although not Sarah’s. For remember, as we saw last week, that the angel of the LORD had promised Hagar just as he had Abram, that he would increase her descendants “so much that they will be too numerous to count.” What is more, when Hagar’s son was born, Abram himself named him Ishmael and thereby publicly owned that this son born from Sarai’s slave was his very own son. In other words, it appears that Abram had been operating under the assumption that the birth of Ishmael thirteen years earlier was the means through which God had fulfilled his promise to him; that until this very moment Abram hadn’t understood that the child of promise was to be not only his son, but also that of his wife, Sarai, for culturally accepted practices of the day had blinded him from seeing this.
But God Almighty, El-Shaddai, would demonstrate just how powerful he really was. He was so powerful that he would bring life from the all-but-dead bodies of Abraham and Sarah. As stated in verse 19, the LORD wasted no time in setting Abraham straight. “Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’” You can’t help but love God’s sense of humor here. As Abraham had laughed to himself upon hearing that he and Sarah would have a son at the respective ages of 100 and 90, so now God had Abraham name his son of promise “he laughs”—for this is what Isaac means.
The LORD then went on to reassure Abraham about his other son, Ishmael, borne by Hagar. As stated in verse 20, “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you:”—again, remember that Ishmael means “God hears!”—“I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” In other words, God would also keep his promise to Hagar to bring innumerable descendants through Ishmael. However, as the LORD went on to make clear, verse 21, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” Isaac, not Ishmael, would be the heir that God promised not only to Abraham but also to Sarah, his wife.
Well, after this encounter with the LORD we see that Abraham yet again followed his usual pattern of obedience to his God and Maker. As stated beginning in verse 23 (emphases added),
23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.
We see in this that Abraham had understood clearly the LORD’s teaching that any male who was not circumcised would be cut off from the LORD. Therefore he had himself, his son, and every male in his entire household circumcised for, as we’ve already noted, from the beginning Abraham was one who acted on whatever God disclosed to him. What a great example he is for us!
Now the apostle Paul adds to our understanding of circumcision. This morning’s reading from Romans 4 is a continuation of one we looked at when covering the opening verses of Genesis 15 in which Abram believes God and his faith is credited to him for righteousness. Commenting on this passage, Paul—after demonstrating in the opening verses that Abraham’s righteousness was through faith, not works, and therefore he had nothing about which to boast—notes in verse 5 that it’s the person who trusts God, not the one who works, whose faith is similarly credited to them as righteousness for God justifies the ungodly, not those who deem themselves godly by virtue of their works. Verse 7 then picks up on this argument after noting in verse 6, “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.” For in the opening verses of Psalm 32 quoted by Paul David wrote, “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Therefore, following Paul’s argument we can ask, “So who is the one whose transgressions are forgiven? Who is the one whose sins are covered? Who is the one whose sin will never count against them?” The answer? It is the one who believes God; who trusts that God will do what he has promised; it is the one who, like Abraham, believed God and therefore had his belief credited to him as righteousness.
But given that the Jewish nation of Israel was created by God through Abraham and his descendants—and that Paul preached not only to his own people, the Jews, but also to the Gentiles, including his Roman audience—Paul goes on to ask in verse 9, “Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?” In other words is God’s blessing of forgiving transgressions—and covering sins—and not counting sins against us—something that is available or limited only to the Jews, i.e., to those who are circumcised, or is it also available to the non-Jews, the Gentiles, i.e., to those who are not circumcised? By way of answering this question Paul returns to Abraham. Starting in the second half of verse 9 we read, “We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!” Paul’s point is that at the time at which Abraham was declared to be righteous by God, not only had he not done any works to merit that conclusion (verses 1–6), but God had not yet told him that he and every male who was in his household, whether born or bought, family or foreigner, had to be circumcised or risk being cut off from God. In fact, God credited Abraham’s faith to him as righteousness 14 years before he gave him circumcision as a sign of the covenant. Therefore blessedness can’t be tied to works or circumcision for God’s blessing came first. It’s all by his grace.
As Paul goes on to explain starting in verse 11, Abraham “…received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.” Circumcision was a confirmation of Abraham’s faith, not a prerequisite to faith. Paul underscores the importance of the order of faith preceding circumcision in stating, “So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” It’s Abraham’s faith in God, not his being circumcised as a sign of that faith, that matters. Since Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness prior to his being circumcised, then both Gentiles and Jews find themselves in a similar position, i.e., their faith can also be credited to them as righteousness regardless of whether or not they’ve ever been circumcised. Therefore, Abraham is indeed “Father Abraham” to all who believe in God who has disclosed himself to his people as recorded in his Word. For faith in God is how God fulfilled his very first promise to Abram that one day all nations would be blessed through him. And we who believe in Christ have now been grafted into the family of Abraham and, more importantly, we’ve thereby been embraced by our Father in Heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters, these teachings beg us to delight in God’s Almighty humor and in his blessing in giving himself, his presence and eternal life, to us. For as the Scriptures continue to confirm, our gracious and kind LORD will keep every promise he makes. Though we may find it impossible to believe that he is able to bring life from the all-but-dead bodies of Abraham and Sarah, Almighty God knows both our disbelief and his power to fulfill such a promise. He knew and heard Abraham—and later Sarah’s—laughter of disbelief, and therefore had them name their child Isaac, “he laughs.”
This passage challenges us to similarly delight in our delightful and Almighty LORD. For as we’ve noted before though he hasn’t promised us an heir in our later years, he has promised that when we die, all who believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, will be taken into his presence by the Holy Spirit he’s given to seal and indwell us. This sealing by his Holy Spirit is as certain a sign as circumcision. It’s God’s pledge to us that he will never let us go. And as Jesus’ disciples disbelieved for joy when he appeared to them after he had been crucified and risen from death and then went on to eat fish they gave him in their presence, so we are called not to disbelieve for joy but to believe for joy in a God who loves us with an Almighty humor—and desires to bless us with his Almighty blessing.
Let us pray.
 Genesis 12:1–3. See sermon preached on 6/14/20, God’s Blessing through Abraham on Genesis 12:1–9.
 Genesis 12:4–5: 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
 Here and in verse 16 “offspring” may also be translated “seed.”
 Genesis 13:14–17. See sermon preached on 6/28/20, Valuing Others above Ourselves on Genesis 13:5–18.
 Genesis 13:18: So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.
 Genesis 15:1.
 Genesis 15:4–6. See sermon preached on 7/5/20, Believe God—Be Credited his Righteousness on Genesis 15:1–6.
 In the remainder of the chapter but beginning with Genesis 15:7: He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
 Genesis 16:10–11.
 Genesis 9:1, 7: 1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth….7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
 Genesis 1:28: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
 Genesis 15:7: I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.
 The Creation or Cultural mandate is first found in Genesis 1:28: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
 Again, concerning Abram’s offering up of Eliezer, the LORD replied in Genesis 15:4: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”
 Sarai incorrectly concluded that Hagar might be the solution to their not having an heir in Genesis 16:2: “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
 Genesis 15:1.
 Genesis 15:7.
 See sermon preached on July 19, 2020 on Genesis 15:7–21, The Promised Land Is Our True Home.
 Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 15:17. Again, in the sermon preached on July 19, 2020 on Genesis 15:7–21, The Promised Land Is Our True Home.
 Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 17:10.
 Genesis 16:10.
 Genesis 16:15: So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
 Genesis 16:16: Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
 Genesis 16:11: The angel of the Lord also said to her:“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.
 The Zondervan NIV Study Bible interestingly notes concerning circumcision (Genesis 17:14), “The Arabs who consider themselves descendants of Ishmael, are circumcised at the age of 13…” In other words, the age at which Ishmael is circumcised in this passage. Verse 25 notes that Abraham’s “son Ishmael was thirteen.”
 Also noted above re: sermon preached on 7/5/20, Believe God—Be Credited his Righteousness on Genesis 15:1–6.
 Romans 4:1–3, 5: 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness….” 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
 See, e.g., Romans 1:14–15: 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.; Galatians 1:15–16: 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.; Ephesians 3:8–9: 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
 As noted earlier from Genesis 17:12–14: 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
 As we’ve previously noted, Abram was 85 at the time at which the LORD declared him to be righteous in Genesis 15:6. At this point in his life, as stated in verse 1 of Genesis 17, Abram was 99 years old.
 Earlier in the second chapter of this letter to the Romans Paul makes a similar point in declaring, “28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” See also 1 Corinthians 7:18–19: 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.; Galatians 6:15: Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
 Genesis 12:1–3: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
 Romans 11:17–21: 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
 See Romans 15:8–12: 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[Greek circumcision] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”[2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49] 10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”[Deuteronomy 32:43] 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”[Psalm 117:1] 12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”[Isaiah 11:10]; Galatians 3:29: If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.; Revelations 7:9–10: 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
 2 Corinthians 1:21–22: 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
 Hebrews 13:5–6: 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Quoting Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. See also Romans 8:38–39: 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 Luke 24:41–42: 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.