Genesis Chapter 17:
(1) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
(2) And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
(3) And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
(4) As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
(5) Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
(6) And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
(7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
(8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
(9) And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
(10) This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
(11) And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
(12) And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
(13) He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
(14) And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
(15) And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
(16) And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
(17) Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
(18) And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
(19) And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
(20) And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
(21) But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
(22) And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
(23) And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
(24) And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, 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) In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
(27) And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
Thought For This Chapter…
In this chapter, we find the first mention of circumcision as a responsibility that the Lord placed upon Abraham. There is much symbolism involved with circumcision and its significance for the Jewish nation.
I think we all understand the basic idea behind circumcision… it signified that the Jews were set apart from all the other nations around them. They were God’s people and circumcision was one of the great outward evidences that this was so.
Please keep in mind, that the OT Jewish people are symbolic of Christians in both the Old and New Testaments. Their rite of circumcision is one example of this.
The physical act of circumcision physically represents for us the spiritual circumcision of the heart that is received by all Christians at the time of their salvation…
(29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
This circumcision of the heart enables the Christian to love the Lord and willing serve Him motivated by a heart of love and appreciation for all He has done for us.
Just like physical circumcision outwardly declared those who were members of God’s physical nation of Israel, the circumcision of our heart at salvation does the same for us. Our changed heart results in our living a changed life bearing fruits for Christ, which sets us apart from the lost world. Our lives of fruit bearing shows that we are one of God’s people, a Christian, possessed by Christ and separated for His use!
(9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
(10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Folks, as Christians, this is our calling… to be a people separated to the Lord’s service, motivated by a changed heart of love and appreciation towards Christ.
Do we fulfill our calling? Are we actively serving Christ, driven by a changed heart of love and appreciation for our Lord, the One who has given so much to us?
May we all, honestly, come before our Lord asking Him to show us the true condition of our heart and the great need for living lives of spiritual fruit bearing for Him.