Genesis 17:1-14

September 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Bible Study | 2 Comments
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Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

This week, we begin to look at chapter 17 of Genesis. Here, God speaks about both Abram and Sarai and makes some changes to their lives.

Last week, we saw the trouble that came from man taking things into his own hands. Sarai and Abram had been promised their own child as a descendant, but they were past child bearing age. Abram was around 86 when Sarai finally decided that he should go in to her handmaiden so that God’s promise would be fulfilled. This, however, didn’t go as Sarai had planned. When Hagar found that she was pregnant, she saw herself as more important than Sarai and despised her. Sarai got mad at this and blamed Abram. He told her to do whatever she wished to her handmaiden. Sarai was so harsh that Hagar ran away from her. Hagar ended up about 100 miles from where Abram was. She had given up hope when the angel of the Lord came to her and told her to return to her mistress. Hagar returned and obeyed Sarai and Ishmael was born.

In the first verse, we see that 13 years have passed since Ishmael was born and God appears to Abram again. When He appears, He starts with a statement of authority and a command:

I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.

God identifies Himself to Abram as El Shaddai, the Almighty. He is the all powerful and the One who is able to destroy. He then says “Walk before Me, and be blameless”. Many interpret this to mean that God expected Abram to be perfect and blameless. But, we know that this is not possible. It is impossible for sinful man to be perfect, completely spotless and utterly free from sin. Thankfully, the word doesn’t mean that. It is misinterpreted to mean this and I’m really not sure why. Instead, God calls Abram to walk before Him and he will be made blameless. By walking before God, Abram would be made complete. The same thing that God calls Abram to do, He still calls on Christians to do. As we walk according to the Spirit, and not the flesh, God works in us to make us perfect/complete and more like His Son. This process is what we refer to as sanctification. We will not be fully complete/perfect while still in our flesh, but we should see our lives moving in that direction.

God then tells Abram that He will establish His covenant with him and multiply exceedingly. At all of this, Abram falls on his face before God. God continues, promising Abram that His covenant is with him and that He will fulfill His promise to make him the father of many nations. God then changes Abram’s name (high father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). He then expands His promise, saying that He will establish His covenant with Abraham’s children. This covenant is to be an everlasting covenant. He also promises them the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession. He then tells Abraham that he and his descendants shall keep God’s covenant down through the generations. The sign of this covenant is circumcision. This is to happen on the eighth day after a boy is born. Interestingly, researchers have found that this is the day that the baby has the highest level of prothrombin which helps the blood clot. This was not only for the children though. It also applied to the servants that were born in the house or bought with money. There are not only blessings that come from circumcision, but there are dangers too. Those who aren’t circumcised will be cut off from God’s people for that one has broken His covenant.

In today’s time, there are arguments as to whether circumcision is healthy or not, but it is not a requirement for becoming a Christian. Gentiles in Biblical times didn’t practice circumcision. This meant that the Jews were set apart from the world around them by the sign of the covenant. While physical circumcision is not required for someone to become a Christian, spiritual circumcision is:

You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written. indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:23-29)

When a man or woman is saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them and He cuts away the heart of stone, giving them a heart of flesh. This circumcision shows itself in the change of attitude, action, and lifestyle that accompanies a true conversion. So only one question remains….Has your heart of stone been replaced by a heart of flesh? Have you been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit? Or, are you just copying the actions of those Christians around you? Have you truly repented of your sins and put your faith in Christ? If not, then you’re just pretending and you’re not fooling anyone. John says that it is obvious whether or not you are a child of God or a child of the devil (1 John 3:10). If you haven’t repented of your sins (lying, lusting, cheating, stealing, idolatry, gossip, coveting) please do so while you still can. The Bible says that you have one shot at this life and this is it. Once you die, it will be too late and, if you’re found in your sins, God will cast you into hell as just punishment for sinning against Him. However, if you repent of your sins (turn from them and turn to God) and you put your trust in Jesus Christ to save you; the Bible says that you’ll be saved from God’s wrath and know for sure that when you die, you’ll go to heaven. Please repent and trust Christ today!


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  1. Your post is so interesting…

    I will have to ask you to forgive me for the long post.

    “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless” – Genesis 17

    In Genesis 12

    Abraham lied to Pharoah about his wife. as a result, Pharoah and his household was inflicted with serious diseases.

    now, lets fast forward to Genesis 20, in summary

    Abraham before King Abimelek when asked about his wife Sarah, Abraham lied again! yet the second time.

    “…and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her” – Genesis 20:2

    what happen next was, God spoke to King Abimelek in a dream telling him that he is as good as dead if he touch sarah.

    then as a result of this Genesis 20:14-15 Abraham, was exceedingly blessed..

    this is hard. Abraham lied, and yet he was blessed. right after lying, He was called prophet.

    God looks at Abraham as righteous, because he believed.

    @” Instead, God calls Abram to walk before Him and he will be made blameless”
    — this is absolutely true. looking at Abraham, there is no way he was made blameless based on his own effort

    @ “If you haven’t repented of your sins (lying, lusting, cheating, stealing, idolatry, gossip, coveting) please do so while you still can.”

    — Confess that you are a sinner, simply because you do not steal means that you are not a sinner. You are a sinner because of Adam’s sin

    “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” – Romans 5:12

    “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” – Romans 10:9

    Repent. in the bible, Repent means Metanoia, means change of mind

    repent simply means you change your mind. You cannot be saved by obedience. or by doing good works. believe that you will be save by grace. receive Gods grace..

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast” – Ephesians 2:8

    Receive the gift of God, salvation. receive it by believing. when you believe, God calls it Faith.

    Grace and Peace to you

    • Hello! Thanks for the comment on my blog…I hope that this finds you well…

      In regards to Abraham lying, he really didn’t. Sarah really was his sister (see Genesis 20:12, which you seem to have skipped…). She was his step-sister. They shared a father but not a mother. Not only that, it’s inaccurate to say that Abraham was blessed because he lied (even though he didn’t). That’s not what the scripture says. It only says that Abimelech gave him “sheep and oxen and male and female servants” and it doesn’t say why he did it. So, while Abraham was blessed, it wasn’t because of how he presented his wife/sister.

      I agree that Abraham’s righteousness came from his faith. But that faith was in the coming Christ.

      As for the rest of what you post, I’m not sure if you’re disagreeing with me or not. The Bible clearly calls for sinners to repent. It was the first thing that both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself preached (see Matthew 3:2 and Matthew 4:17). It is also what Peter preached after Pentecost (see Acts 2:38). Jesus said in Luke 13:3 and 13:5 that if you don’t repent, “you will likewise perish”. We are sinful humans because of Adam’s sin, but we are not condemned for Adam’s sin. We are condemned for our own sins, including unbelief in Jesus as the Messiah (see John 3:17-18).

      While metanoia does mean “change of mind” there is more to it than that. Metanoia means to change one’s mind with the resulting reformation of the person. It is a change of heart that causes the one repenting to be reformed/conformed to God’s word. This is different from metamalomai which is just a selfish regret/remorse for what you’ve done with no change of heart or action. You feel bad for getting caught. This is what Judas felt after betraying Christ. That is not repentance. True, Biblical repentance is not a work of man, it is a gift from God, just as faith is (see 2 Timothy 2:25).

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