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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.”—Genesis 17:26–27 (NKJV)
At ninety-nine years old, Abraham’s conversation with God ended, and he had a job to do. “So Abraham took Ishmael his son, 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 foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him” (Genesis 17:23 NKJV). Abraham was also circumcised, along with his son Ishmael, who was thirteen at the time.
That’s an intimidating task to complete. But, as David Guzik points out, “Abraham didn’t need to pray about this. He didn’t need to grow or transition into this. God said it, and he did it. This is a wonderful example of obedience from a great man of faith.”
There are three lessons we can take away from this. First, Abraham’s obedience extended beyond his personal willingness. Abraham was a leader, not only as a father but also over the men in his care. It could not have been easy for him to ask this of his men, let alone inflict pain on his own son. Let’s look at this from a parental standpoint. If you are a parent, is there something you need to cut out of your child’s life? Is there something the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do in order to guide your child in the wisdom and will of God?
Secondly, we can’t ask others to do what we won’t do. So, being faithful and obedient to God also pertains to how we act. The apostle Paul refers to this as “walking in the Spirit,” and he advises us to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Charles Stanley describes it as “living submissive to the Holy Spirit who indwells you for the purpose of Jesus Christ living His life in and through [you].” We can only do this through a close relationship with God, drawing from His strength to shine the light of Jesus.
Lastly, remember this was the first covenant God instituted with Abraham requiring his participation. Abraham did not delay; he obeyed. I know in my life, I have felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do something, and I ignored Him—only later to regret it. It’s wise to obey those initial promptings of the Spirit.
No matter how old you are, you have a job to do. So, walk in the Spirit, in faith and obedience, and see what God will do in and through you.
DIG: What does walking in the Spirit have to do with obedience and faith? How can we best do this? For a hint, read Zechariah 4:6.
DISCOVER: Who in your life needs to see your relationship with God as vital?
DO: Spend some time with this person and talk about what they see in you. If there are a few changes to make, God will show you.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.