Skip to main content

Genesis 17 Part II

I want to revisit a part of Genesis 17 that I didn't focus too hard on during the sermon. This chapter of Genesis establishes the Abrahamic Covenant symbol of circumcision. It's not exactly a comfortable topic and in the more reserved culture, you just don't dwell on that topic.

Here in the internet, though, there's a little more openness. Not complete insanity. Just a little more freedom. However, if you're uncomfortable reading about circumcision and considering this, please just go on to your next blog. It won't hurt you.

As someone who has read the Bible a good bit, I've long been aware of circumcision. I understood it to be the sign of the covenant with Abraham, and learned a couple of basic things that we Gentiles think were God's purpose behind instituting it. These things are:

1. Circumcision was an immensely personal mark of belonging to the community of God. This is not a process that one is unaware of: you can tell it was done even if you don't remember it happening.

2. Circumcision was a permanent change. There were some issues in the Hellenistic period some 1500 years after Abraham, but even those weren't true "undoings." It was more of a cover-up. This action marked the member of the covenant community as a lifetime participant.

3. Circumcision was a parental directive. After you get past Abraham, parents choose to circumcise their sons. Except for the opening chapters in Joshua. This should have been seen as the beginning of parental commitment to raise children to serve the One True God.

On behalf of my Presbyterian reader (s)? I'll leave out the discussion, for now, of whether baptism is analogous to circumcision for the New Covenant. Let's focus on the Old Testament for now, shall we?

What struck me this time through Genesis 17 was this: Abraham is 99 years old at this point. The Almighty One tells Abraham two things in this passage: he'll have a child, soon. And to circumcise himself and all the males in the household.

We know from further chapters that Abraham is 100 when Isaac is born. So in the span of about a year, Abraham circumcises himself, Sarah conceives, and they have a baby.

Let's think about the obedience and faith factor here: just think, for a minute. Picture the idea of circumcision in your mind. Now, if you're not recognizing the risk to future generations, look up "circumcision" again. Yet Abraham obeys anyway.

What about us?

Based on the great preponderance of New Testament writings on the subject, we're not required to circumcise or be circumcised. So how does this help us understand?

What do we think about those acts of obedience and faith that come very close to home?

What about those that make us think the promise of God is endangered?

In all, I think there's a vivid portrait here of personal, painful obedience to God that we would do well to remember. It's not always easy. I know that I cannot always see how it helps.

But it's not my job to do that. Grand strategy is neither my strong suit nor my responsibility. Obedience is my responsibility. The results?

Those belong to Him who actually knows what's going on and what to do about it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…