Covenant Circumcision

Open Your Bible

Genesis 17:1-27, Genesis 18:1-21, Galatians 4:21-31, Galatians 5:1-6

Four years ago, the university where I was working went through financial difficulties and laid off several recent full-time hires. I was one of them. It was devastating since our team was like a close family. After reestablishing financial stability, they extended an offer to come back one year later; and because I was juggling part-time gigs at the time, I accepted. Here’s the crazy thing: it was a far better role than before and wound up being the closest thing I’d ever had to a dream job. The experience led to one of those moments when you think: I sure wouldn’t want to go through that again, but I’m so happy things worked out the way they did. I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my family and, like Abram, say in amazement: “Is anything impossible for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14).

In Genesis 18, both Abraham and Sarah laugh after the Lord says they’ll have a son in one year’s time. What a crazy claim! Being in their autumn years, how would they have the strength and endurance to raise a child? Abraham responds by laughing to himself and asking if a hundred-year-old man and ninety-year-old woman can have a baby (Genesis 17:17). It’s a legitimate question. But God isn’t even close to being done working the miraculous into Abraham’s story.

God came through for them. He gave them a son, demonstrating it had always been His intention to further their family line. And the story didn’t end there. God not only chose to make Abraham a father, but also the father of many nations and the root of Christ’s lineage (vv.4–5). It wasn’t about how tired or advanced in years the couple was now; it was about the kingdom.

The reason why it’s so important to remember how God worked for our good in the past is because it anchors our trust for the future. My story didn’t have to end with returning to that university, just like Abraham and Sarah’s story didn’t have to end with a male heir. God could shape us and build His kingdom in a million different ways. In the end, we’re left in awe and wonder, laughing and marveling, just like Abraham and Sarah.

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48 thoughts on "Covenant Circumcision"

  1. Tesla Thompson says:

    I loved this lesson. I’ve always been raised to believe in god but now at 25 I’m just starting my own journey with God and learning to let things falls into his hands because nothing is too hard for god when your put your faith into him and his word. This lesson was perfect in helping me realize that I might not see his blessing or grace right away but I need to have faith that it will come!

  2. Casey Evans says:

    Remember how God worked for our good, anchors our trust in the future – so true!

  3. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Thank you Jesus Christ

  4. Tracie Nall says:

    “Is anything too hard for God? At the appointed time….” I love that God spoke this to Sarai who hadn’t trusted in Gods timing to provide her a child but rather ran ahead in her own time and gave Hagar to Abram! How like God to reiterate the importance of His timing! How like us to rush ahead, be impatient, impulsive and then regret our decision when reaping the consequences. I also love the aspect of Gods timing not be limited to our human understanding! God is God, I am NOT! It doesn’t matter if you have NOT yet seen your promise fulfilled, He who promised is Faithful! He isn’t limited by my age (too much or too little), He isn’t intimidated by my experience, He isn’t hindered by my current condition, He is God!

    1. Ms Amy* says:


  5. Diana Fleenor says:

    Church mouse, I thank you for taking the time to write about this homebound woman! I’m encouraged, challenged and a bit overwhelmed as I read all that she did. I, of course, don’t know what her specific disability was, but know that it’s important to be careful in comparing myself with others in a way that tears me down instead of builds me up. My disability is one in which I have many limitations in regard to energy, cognitive function and tolerance to every day things that would be needed for the kind of ministry this woman had.

    I’ve already taken steps to write to others, at my church and otherwise, yet have much limitation on this as my energy and tolerance wanes quickly. This is the hallmark of ME/CFS which often brings deep isolation because of the grave limitations on energy and tolerance we have. There are people with much less ability than I with this illness who would not even be able to type on the computer at all or physically write a letter.

    I’m grateful for the mercy the Lord has had on me allowing the amount of energy I am allotted each day. And I do plead to him each day for the ability to serve him and others with more consistency. There is a tension between the desire to serve and the very reality of so many limitations. Again, thanks for your words and care, Church mouse, I just thought it may be helpful to make you and others aware of the particular issues with ME/CFS that you may not have known. Blessings to you!

  6. Emily Guerra says:

    Just a few questions I had here…was there a specific reason why God chose Circumcision as a way to show the obedience of those in covenant with him? Did this physical thing have specific meaning during this time period. Also, a thing I noticed was that when the Lord was making a big impact/change/promise in the lives of Abram and Sarai he wanted them to change their names. This also happens multiple times later in the Bible and I took it as a sign that when God intervenes we undergo both a physical (maybe healing or maybe a name change) and a spiritual change (we are renewed and our hearts are revived).

    1. Yolanda Harbon says:

      Such interesting questions!

    2. Jackie Mars says:

      I like the correlation to a physical and spiritual change. I never thought about that before

    3. Georgia Di says:

      I suggest checking the name change explanation by Joseph Prince, he speaks a lot about Abraham & cites a few very good commentaries on this.

  7. Laura Theobald says:

    I had a great reminder of how God is always working for our good because I just got engaged! I am 30 and have had so many failed relationships and so much hurt and made so many dating mistakes. I didn’t think it was possible for a man to tick as many boxes as my fiancé does and I let myself compromise. As soon as I made a promise to myself and God that specifically I would no longer compromise on dating non-Christian men, I met my my future husband on a dating app of all places!

    1. Nolvia ❤️ says:

      Congratulations on your engagement. His timing is always PERFECT!!!❤️

  8. Camille English Davis says:

    Two weeks before Christmas 2015, I learned my job was being eliminated. I was just shy of 25 years with this employer and had worked for them since I graduated college! I was devastated… It took almost 2 years before I found my dream job. I have been blessed beyond measure! Thank you Holy Father for your faithfulness, your enduring mercy, and your great grace.