Genesis 17:1-5,10-11 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,And I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations... “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
We live in strange times when nothing in certain. Yesterday I was reading an economic update and was surprised to see how the current political crisis between North and South Korea has had an impact on the global economy and here in Canada our Dollar is yo-yoing on this uncertainty.
These are times when greed seems to have taken the reins of the world. Regardless of what we do for a living, we contribute to greed because we fuel it by our demand for more. To have more, we have to exploit and if you trace the roots of our exploits, it will be the lives of others for our enjoyment!
In such uncertain times, it would be wonderful to know that there is someone who is in control and can give us hope. Abram or Abraham as he has now been renamed certainly seemed to have that someone leading him and his family, the creator God. What an assurance that must be!
However, when we read this chapter, we notice that God has made a demand of Abraham and all the men in his household to be circumcised. This seems rather crude and painful and is that really needed?
God blessed Abraham, Sarah, Ishmael and their soon to be born son Isaac with much more than they could ever dream of or desire. All 4 of them were blessed and obviously everyone associated with them are too.
The condition of the blessing was circumcision or the cutting off a piece of the foreskin for all the male born who wanted to be a part of this covenant blessing. I'm not certain about you, but to me the thought is most repulsive that God would demand something so icky of us to be blessed.
With Noah, God's covenant was established by the rainbow, a natural phenomenon that did not hurt anyone but has always been a beautiful sight. With circumcision, God demanded man forego of a part of himself to commit to the new covenant relationship, a symbolic act of circumcising the body through which God was guiding them to remain pure in heart.
Modern days Christians tend to take these words lightly, assuming salvation by grace means the gift of God can be taken for granted, as long as you "follow Christ". Yet following Christ is much deeper than a mere confession, it transcends the realm of the flesh and the mind. It is an attitude of the heart and for those who understand it, transforming their heart into a truly circumcised one becomes a life quest.
I pray today that we as a wicked and greedy people would ask God to reveal the darkness in our hearts and help us to live in obedience to the only hope the world has. I pray that we would be circumcised in the heart and live a life of purpose, a life where His will is ours from henceforth.
Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My b wrath will go forth like fire And burn with c none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds."
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