The three chapters of this reading record more experiences of Abraham which show the development (and sometimes the digression) of the faith of Abraham.
Genesis 16—Compromise of Abraham. This was a very sinful compromise. •Suggesting of the compromise: Sarah, Abraham’s wife, suggested the compromise which demonstrates how very subtle temptation can be. •Specifics of the compromise: Abraham was to have a child through Sarah’s maid, Hagar, since Sarah felt she was unable to have a child (she blamed God for her barrenness). •Success of the compromise: Abraham got a son via Hagar (sin always boasts of success and seems to get results quicker than God’s way). •Sorrow from the compromise: Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael (the progeny of the compromise), and Abraham all experienced much sorrow from the compromise—the success of the compromise really turned sour and caused more problems than it was suppose to cure. This is the way sin works, however.
Genesis 17—Covenant for Abraham. This is not a new covenant for Abraham, but is a further revelation of the one given to Abraham earlier. God does not reveal everything to us at once. Four major additions to the covenant are given here. • Change of names: Abram was changed to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah. •Circumcision of males: this was the seal of the covenant. •Coming of Isaac: the promise of a son becomes more specific, and his name is given. • Counsel about Ishmael: God excluded him from the covenant in spite of Abraham’s wistful pleading.
Genesis 18—Callers on Abraham. Three men (heavenly beings) called upon Abraham. •Politeness to the callers: Abraham was extremely hospitable which compliments his character. •Promise from the callers: Sarah would bear Abraham a son (Sarah laughed at the promise, but when rebuked for laughing, she denied that she had laughed). •Prediction by the callers: Divine judgment was coming to Sodom. •Petition to the callers: this is Abraham’s famous prayer for Sodom in which he first pleaded that if fifty righteous persons were in Sodom, God would spare the city; then when God accepted Abraham’s plea, Abraham, with much trepidation and humility, kept reducing the number until he stopped at ten.
Butler, J. G. (2003). Daily Bible Reading: Synopsis (Vol. 1, p. 5). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.