Skin in the Game–Genesis 17 Part 2

Unlike Abram’s first covenant with God, in the second covenant God required circumcision by all the males in Abraham’s lineage.  This was no small task for the men in the clan.  It was a daily and forever reminder that they were called to be different. They were to be set apart and as God’s chosen people they would introduce God to all the rest of the world.  In exchange, God promised Abraham would become a father to his son through Sarah at age 100.  While unheard of, God’s plan would be different than the plans of men.
 
When we feel God owes us something–we act as entitled children.  We do little to honor or respect him; but then we expect him to act as a cosmic slot machine–we ask and he delivers.  Sadly, that is no way to be in relationship.  We have to have the same covenant attitude as Abraham.  We approach him humbly, follow him closely and trust him completely.  As we do, he will do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream.  God wanted Abraham to live in that kind of relationship–He knew that a one sided commitment would never work–the men had to be a part of the covenant. 
 
In our lives, we do not have to live a covenant based upon a surgery–instead our covenant comes from a heart felt commitment, a choice to surrender and follow him daily and humbly.  As we do, he promises to give us a full and meaningful life on earth and eternal life with him in Heaven.  It is not a trite commitment, we have to follow–like in a marathon runner, a long term journey fraught with twists, turns, ups and downs. As we make the journey, we do so with the same intensity as did Abraham.  If we live like a covenant partner, he will complete us and bless us beyond measure. 
 
God Bless You
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
 

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

The New Commission–Genesis 17 Part 1

Things simply moved along for 13 years–Abram, Sarai, Hagar and Ishmael all did life together. Abram lived his nomadic life and God was quiet. I am certain that Abram thought that the birth of Ishmael marked the end of God’s plan for him.  He probably thought many days–was I wrong, was all that covenant stuff a dream–then God appeared again. Abram–walk faithfully and blamelessly before me and we will amend our Covenant a bit!
 
Abram was dumbfounded and did what any good follower would do–he fell on his face knowing he was unworthy to be in God’s presence.  Instead of being punished by God, however, he was being re-commissioned–the father of many nations.  In his second century of life, Abraham–his new name, would be fruitful and would be the start of a lineage that would bring God across the world. 
 
What an amazing promise.  God was not ever displeased, he was simply preparing Abraham for a big job–being the patriarch of many nations and rulers across the world.  I am sure Abraham was astounded as he only had the one son by his wife’s maid and did not own even one acre of land.
 
One always needs to remember that God’s ways are never our ways.  He loves to take the impossible and make it possible.  Here–he would make a wandering nomad the father of the middle eastern world, but what of our lives? Is God simply quiet, or is he preparing us to do something amazing?
 
Like Abraham, we have to continue to journey forward and allow God to prepare us for what HE has in mind.  We cannot out guess him, out act him or even help him to get his plan implemented.  Like Abraham, we must simply fall face down in reverence and follow his lead–it may seem strange or even impossible, but with God–all things are possible.
 
God Bless You
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”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 Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c] 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 now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”