When our kids ask and ask and ask, sometimes we finally give them an answer. Then they say, “Oh no! Anything but that!” I wonder if Abram felt that way after he badgered God and then received the covenant of circumcision…
Gen. 17:1-2 – “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’”
- Most of us hate waiting, and Abram had waited twenty-four years on Canaan’s soil. God finally tells him to DO something: “Walk blamelessly before God.” Yikes! Couldn’t we start with, “Don’t bite your fingernails?” The next time you get tired of waiting, remember the waiting may be preparation for the responsibility to come.
Gen. 17:3-8 – “Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called AbramB[exalted father]; your name will be Abraham,C[father of many] for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.’”
- God outlines in detail His part of the Covenant, Abram’s part (vs. 9-14) and even Sarai’s part (vs. 15-16). Imagine for just a moment that you’re Abraham, hearing these promises about you and your family in God’s grand plan. Realize that you, like Abraham, are part of God’s bigger plan.
- God changed Abram’s name – his very essence – from exalted father to father of many.
- God promised kings and nations to spring from Abraham’s seed.
- God promised this covenant would be everlasting – extending to Abraham’s descendants.
- God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants forever.
Gen. 17:9-14 – “Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.’”
- Isn’t every human tendency to DO something instead of standing idly by and waiting? After waiting for twenty-four years, no matter how frightening, how painful, how embarrassing, how shameful to their culture – Abraham was ready to obey, when God gave him the directive. If God had instructed Abram to be circumcised twenty-four years ago, would he have been ready to obey then? Only God knows when our hearts are ready to submit to the blessings He longs to bestow on us.
Lord, Your timing is always perfect, though I seldom like it or understand it in the moment. Thank You for waiting, and for making me wait, until my heart is ready to receive all Your blessings – no matter what the cost.