Below is a scripture from Gen 17:1 I’m just sharing some devotional thoughts from my reading.
Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision
17:1 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, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 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. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Isaac’s Birth Promised
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”
22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
There are two things that stands out to me about this scripture.
1. Gods covenant extended to all the males in Abraham’s household which included more than just his actual children. “Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
God could have just gave this command to Abraham to circumcise himself and his immediate offspring. But he didn’t. He wanted all those under his roof to be circumcised. The act of which showed fealty to the covenant, and that they were a “people”.
Is it fair to extrapolate, that when God looks at us, he looks at us and everything/everyone we have under are charge, as something that must be touched intimately? That all persons under our authority are to be brought into this relationship with him, and that we are responsible for executing to see that this decision is made throughout our realm of influence? I think so. What’s powerful for me is that there are people who are in relationship with you and I, who we and or they might not think immediately of being in relationship. And God wants us to bring them along for the “ride” too.
2. “he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day” Abraham didn’t wait, to institute the command of God. He took immediate and decisive action to see the thing done. HE did it. Not someone else. He looked at each man’s most intimate place and cut it. Each man yielded himself to be cut in his privates.
Who do you trust to cut you? To cut you so that you can come into God’s purpose. You are you yielded to so that if God willed, that person can provide you the cutting you need? Which community are you a part of? Who can identify you as part of “the people?” There are many things we need in life. But there are two that are important in our growth and development. To be identified with God, and to be part of a group that will lovingly “cut us” to remove any obstacle that might hinder our relationship with God. Circumcision is a bloody act. I can’t imagine that it’s comfortable for the person doing it, let alone for the person receiving circumcision, especially at such an older age in particular. I think that when I see someone approach me to cut me, to lovingly cut me, to assist me in maintaining communion with God. I’ll thank them next time. Not for the pain, but for loving God and me enough to make sure I’m part of his people. To risk the rejection I might give them, to risk seeing me in discomfort and pain. I don’t actually want to be cut mind you. I might even know I need to be cut. God didn’t tell the others of Abraham’s household. He told Abraham. But there are people you are in relationship with who will cut you.
Lord let your will in me be to submit to the knife of cutting in my life. Remember me as part of your people, who abide in you. Amen