Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genesis 17

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.

The Great I AM made covenant with Abe and his boys.  The covenant response for them was to be circumcised.  
Even in Paul's time the circumcision was a huge deal.  Ever since I understood what this requirement was, I have wondered how did they determine the obedience of another, especially a new member of the community?  Was this really part of the 'welcome to the neighborhood' ritual?

I know this is a rather small issue; but it has been a real question for a while.  (yes, I have asked it out loud and been laughed at pretty consistently)

Today the Lord answered my question as He drew my attention to the words "the sign of the covenant between me and you."  I praise Him for that.  

Sure there was a circ'd formality back then; but then as now, the significance was not the cut; but the relationship of God and man.  It was not about what man did; but that he was willing to do it and carried through on his heart's setting of obedience for him and his family.  It was a private affair between a person and his God.

Today, He gives us the sign of His new covenant as our seal.  Again, that gift is very personal, private and extravagant as it signifies the relationship between God and His child.  There will be physical evidence for those who look and see; but the most important part is the individual, intimate bond of that divine covenant.

Lord, I thank You for putting the pieces of this puzzling situation together for me.  I thank You for putting to rest this old and perhaps silly question with Your revelation.  Thank You for Your New Covenant and Your gift of the Holy Spirit.  Please help me to live fully in obedience and to delight in the relationship You have provided me.  And please, let me give abundant evidence to any who look to see that I bear Your covenant sign.  What grace, what love, what presence You have given me.  

I thank You, also, for showing me that the circ'ing had to happen before the promised Isaac would be conceived. The promise of Isaac was hope that though the cutting would hurt, it would not be fatal or result in futility.  The promise of Isaac was hope that though the cutting would hurt, it would not be fatal or result in futility.  Isaac really was fruit of the covenant and obedience.  Lord, I receive Your ordering of my steps.  Help me to live with that kind of fruit, too.  You are good. 

One other thought that came my way was that when God created man, He created him in such a fashion as to supply the "cut-away-able part" for circumcision.  Man didn't have to cut off a vital part; a finger joint, a toe.  Nor did he have to maim or mutilate himself as is the man-made fashion in many cultures.  God provided what He required.  He is so good.  And what comfort that may have offered to Abe in a few years when he makes the trek with Isaac to go and worship on that mountain.

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