Thursday, November 4, 2010

Genesis 17:21-27 Abraham's Immediate Obedience

God has promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a son, who was to be named Isaac ('He laughs').  God had also reassured Abraham that his son Ishmael would not be forgotten, either -- he was to become a numerous people and God would make Ishmael into a great nation.

God repeats, however, that He would establish His covenant with Isaac.  (Genesis 17:21)  After this, "When He had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him." (Genesis 17:22 NIV)  This seems to be a very stately exit -- there would be no further discussions about these matters at that time.

As for Abraham, "On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.  Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was thirteen; Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day.  And every male in Abraham's household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him." (Genesis 17:21-27 NIV)

Abraham's immediate obedience was striking, especially since the prospect of what he and his household had to do was, well, --- if there was any time to procrastinate, it would have been then, right?  Yet Abraham obeyed promptly.  This characteristic of prompt obedience will come up again at least twice in a couple of upcoming chapters of the book of Genesis, and the price of obedience becomes, unbelievably, even higher.

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