April 25 I Sunday

2 Samuel 21-22

Luke 18:24-43

“In [Christ] you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.”  —Colossians 2:11


If we have been keeping track of how many times God had reaffirmed His promise, God’s reappearance when Abraham was 99 years old was the fifth time. Different, however, God added a sign to the covenant. God said, “As for you, you must keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come…every male among you shall be circumcised…it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and you…” (Genesis 17:9-11).

       It is interesting that the covenant sign that God gave is the very instrument Abraham used to bring about Ishmael. What if Abraham had not slept with Hagar and given birth to Ishmael—would God have provided him with a different sign of the covenant? Could the sign of circumcision and these events be correlated?

       In considering future events in Joshua 5, right before the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, we are told the Israelites born in the wilderness had not been circumcised. After Joshua followed God’s command to circumcise these men in the wilderness, God said, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you” (Joshua 5:9). There could be a connection between circumcision and Abraham’s reproach of turning to Egypt for an heir. Circumcision would serve as a reminder to him and future generations not to live by their own strength and abilities, but to trust that God was going to bring about the promise by His own strength and abilities.

       The latter part of God’s command in the Hebrew uses very strong language: “My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant” (Genesis 17:13-14). In other words, “if you do not observe this, you will be cut off from Me.” On that very day, Abraham carried out the commands of God, circumcising himself, Ishmael and every male in his household.

       In the New Testament, Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise as Paul writes, “Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through your faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12). When we place our faith in Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit, we are conjoined with Him. Being crucified with Christ through baptism is the new sign, the new symbol of our circumcision, of us cutting away the old self––the flesh––and being raised in newness of life.


Prayer: Dear Jesus Christ, thank You for the newness of life that is found in You alone. Circumcise my heart and help me walk a blameless life by depending on Your resources at work within me. Amen!


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