Open your bibles with me to Genesis Chapter 17 and read the entire 27 verses.
Overview: In this Chapter God speaks to Abram and says to him “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.” As part of the covenant, Abram and all his family – and future descendants had to be circumcised. In this chapter is also where God changes their names! Abram becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah. And this is where God tells Abraham specifically – I am going to give you a son by Sarah. Then I will bless her, and she will be the mother of nations. Abraham fell on his face laughing… and said in his heart “Shall a child be born to a man who is 100 years old?!? And Sarah, who is 90, she’s going to get pregnant and have a child?!?” Abraham responded, “Can’t you just bless Ishamel?” God said to him “I’ll bless Ishamel but my covenant I’m establishing with Isaac – the son you will have with Sarah.” Abrahm took Ishmael and all his household, and they were circumcised. Abraham was 99 years old.
Lessons from today’s scripture:
- God required circumcision for 3 – possibly 4 reasons (1) Sign of obedience to him in all matters. (2) Sign of belonging to his covenant people. Once circumcised, the man would be identified as one of God’s chosen people forever. (3) As a symbol of “cutting off” the old life of sin, purifying their hearts, and dedicating themselves to God. (4) possibly as a health measure. Circumcision more than any other practice, separated God’s people from their pagan neighbors. In Abraham’s day – this was essential to develop the pure worship of one true God.
- Abraham, the man God considered righteous because of his great Faith – was doubting God! He had trouble believing that at their advanced age they could really have a child. Despite his doubts, he followed God’s commands. Every believer will have doubts from time to time. When those doubts arise, and what God is wanting seems impossible, be like Abraham and focus on God’s commitment to fulfill his promises to you, and then continue to obey.
- God didn’t forget Ishmael. Although he was not to be the heir, he would also be the father of a great nation. Regardless of your circumstances, God has not forgotten you. Trust him. Trust in His plan for your life!
- I love that he changed their names! This was Old Testament, and it ties so beautifully with the New Testament … when we are baptized into Christ, we are a NEW CREATION! We’re not the old person we used to be. We are made new when we are washed in the blood! Behold ALL things are passed away (all the weight of those sins you’ve been carrying … buried and forgotten!) And ALL things become new! (You get a second chance, a new lease on life, a “do over” and this time with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit.)
It’s Friday! I pray that you enjoy the weekend ahead and take a moment to ponder the new life you have in Christ and remember what God has brought you from! That always humbles us a little and helps us to stay in state of thankfulness for all we have been delivered from!
See you back here on Monday!
**Some notes above taken from the Life Application Study Bible.