In The Past
It was a few hours past midnight on the morning of July 18, 1980. My daughter, Acacia, had just been born. During the entire pregnancy, I had been hoping for another son. It was selfishness on my part, for I was thinking of no pleasure but my own. However, the hardness of my own heart instantly melted when I saw my daughter come into the world. She was a gift I would never want to exchange. Later that same night, after I had called the grandparents, I walked through the dark, quiet hospital corridor. Passing the nurses’ station, I ran into the obstetrician who had performed the delivery. Excited yet weary, I said to him, “When are you going to do the circumcision?”
He replied, “In the morning.” Then we both walked away, not realizing, at the time, what had transpired. In the morning, we both laughed as I recalled our exchange.
When God called Abram to leave his country and follow Him, Abram was 75 years old. He just trusted God and set out, although he must have wondered how God was going to fulfill His promise, for he is concerned that the only person he has for an heir is a servant born under his roof. To calm Abram’s fears, God tells him that he will have a son, and He tells Abram that his offspring will be more than the stars in the heavens. However, as time moves on, Abram’s wife, Sarai, becomes impatient and believes the Lord will not give her a child, so she convinces Abram to sleep with her handmaid, Hagar, which he does. At 86, Abram’s first son, Ishmael, is born, but he is not the child God promised. When Abram is 99, God appears to him again and makes a covenant with him, a covenant that included the act of circumcision, an external act performed by the hands of men. However, God also includes a son for Abraham with Sarah, a son that He will give. Abraham doubts silently yet asks God to bless his son Ishmael, but God has other plans. Though He does promise to bless Ishmael, the covenant will be fulfilled through Isaac’s line. Knowing God has all in control, Abraham carries out the rite of circumcision.
Anyone not circumcised would be cut off from the covenant God made with Abraham. They would not be acceptable to God! That anyone included all Gentiles, who were despised as worthless dogs by the Israelites. The attitude still prevails today, but thank God for His indescribable gift of Jesus Christ. Only faith in Him, by those called the uncircumcised or those called the circumcised, can make one acceptable to God. Any work done by man, by his own hands in the flesh, is unacceptable to God. But God, working by His grace as Paul has already shown, brings us into a special relationship with Himself by the work of Jesus on the cross. We are given new hearts by a circumcision that takes place by Jesus Christ – not by the hands of men. It is God from start to finish, and His gifts are irrevocable. Praise Him!
Mountain Time Moment
So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called "the uncircumcised" by those called "the circumcised," done by hand in the flesh.
Ephesians 2:11 HCSB
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