|Genesis 17 |
1 When Abram was ninety nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be perfect. [To become perfect, Abraham had to walk in the steps of faith. What steps of faith did Abraham walk? From the Word of the Lord within: "Abraham willingly exposed himself to God's commands." He waited on God by persistently and patiently sitting in humble silence to listen for God's voice, he heard, he believed God, and then Abraham obeyed God's voice, Gen 22:18,26:5; and he patiently endured in these steps of faith before he obtained the promise. If the model of Christian faith was told to be perfect, then so must all be perfect who aspire to be a Christian as Jesus so preached. See many other Old Testament references to being perfect, and New Testament references to being perfect too.]
2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will greatly multiply you."
3 And Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
4 "As for me, behold my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
5 Nor shall your name any longer be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you exceeding fruitful and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your descendants after you.
8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
9 And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you: Every man child among you shall be circumcised;
11 You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.
13 Both he who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised; and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised male child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that person shall be cut off from his people; for he has broken my covenant."
15 And God said to Abraham, "As for Sari your wife, you shall not call her name Sari, but Sarah [princess] shall be her name.
16 And I will bless her, and give you a son by her also. Yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall come from her."
17 Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a son?"
18 And Abraham said to God, "O that Ishmael might live before you!"
19 And God said, "Sarah your wife shall indeed bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and will greatly multiply him; he will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year."
22 And when God had finished talking with him, he went up from Abraham.
23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son and all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on the very same day, as God had told him.
24 Abraham was ninety nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.1
25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26 On that same day Abraham and Ishmael his son were circumcised.
27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
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1 Abraham took Ishmael his son and all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on the very same day, as God had told him. Abraham was ninety nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Circumcision is painful, but notice: Abraham did not procrastinate, he immediately obeyed. The Lord told Abraham: In your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice. Gen 22:18. By obedient faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place that he would after receive for an inheritance, went out in obedience, not knowing where he went. When tested, by obedient faith Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son. By obedient faith Abraham painfully circumcised himself and all the males of his household. Abraham is credited as being the father of all those who are justified by faith; but look! Abraham's faith was to obey God's voice.
Gentle reader: faith without obedience is lip service. Obedience is the evidence of faith; the result of persistent obedience is purity, holiness, cleanliness, and the fruit of the Spirit. The Lord Jesus said: Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46. Faith without works of loving obedience to the commands of the Lord, is make-believe Christianity and is a faith that is dead. Faith that doesn't purify is the hypocrites' faith. Salvation claimed, while still sinning, is the devil's covenant of death, a lie: Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with hell will not stand. Isa 28:18. For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 1 Thes 4:7. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Heb 12:14. By your steadfast endurance do you possess your soul. Luke 21:19. What steadfast endurance? Steadfast endurance on the cross, steadfast endurance in tribulation, steadfast endurance in obedience, steadfast endurance in seeking, steadfast endurance in self-denial.
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