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BBBI - 2018.01.31 - PM - Faith & Obedience (Gen. 17)

BBBI - OT101.2 - Genesis II  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:06:20
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Walking by faith requires us to deal with our flesh.

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Introduction

Genesis 17 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

Introduction

a
I want you to take God’s Word now and turn with me to Genesis chapter 17.
Raise Need:
Genesis 17:1–2 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
We’re talking about faith. We’re in the school of faith. Today, we’re talking about how to be strong in faith. Archimedes was a philosopher and physicist, and he said, “If you will give me a lever long enough, if you will give me a fulcrum with something to rest it on, and,” he said, “if you will give me a place to stand,” he said, “I can move the earth.” And he was right. My dear friend, may I tell you, for us, that the lever is faith, the fulcrum is the Word of God, the place where we stand is in His grace, and with it not only can we move the earth, but we can move heaven as well—if we learn to be strong in faith.
Orient Theme:
Now Abraham, as we’ve said, is the brightest star in the Hebrew heaven; he is the hero to our Jewish friends. But, my dear friend, he’s more than a Hebrew and a father to the Jews; he is the father of all of those who believe. And what a lesson we’re going to learn today on how to be strong in faith, because I remind you that the Bible says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” ()
Adrian Rogers, “How to Be Strong in Faith,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), .
State Purpose:

Main Thought

Walking by faith requires forsaking the flesh and being filled with the Spirit.

Sub-Introduction

On four earlier occasions, God had spoken His covenant to Abram (; ; ; ), although He used the term “covenant” (Hebrew berith) only once (15:18, outlining the boundaries of the promised land). Here in chapter 17, however, God uses the term “covenant” no less than thirteen times! The adjectives attached to the word are significant. Nine times it is called “my covenant,” three times it is called “an everlasting covenant,” and once it is called “the covenant betwixt me and you.” In every case, God Himself was speaking. In , it had been stated simply that “the Lord made a covenant with Abram.”
Background/Intro Material:
Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), 331.
The New American Commentary: Genesis 11:27–50:26 8. Covenant Sign of Circumcision (17:1–27)

v. 1a Introduction: Abram “ninety-nine”

vv. 1b–22 Covenant revealed

vv. 1b–8 Covenant promises announced

vv. 9–14 Sign of circumcision prescribed

vv. 15–22 Covenant promises explained

v. 23 Circumcision inaugurated

vv. 24–27 Conclusion: Abraham “ninety-nine”

I. Abraham & the Almighty God (Gen. 17:1-14)

At some point in your education, you may have read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; and you discovered in that famous quotation: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.”
Juliet spoke those words as she talked to herself on her balcony, ignorant of the fact that Romeo was listening below. She was pondering the fact that she belonged to the Capulet family and he to the rival Montagues, and that this accident of birth hindered them from getting married. What difference did two names make? No matter what his name was, Romeo was still her love!
Shakespeare notwithstanding, if you had asked a biblical character the question, “What’s in a name?” that person would have replied: “Everything! Our names are very important!” Names might record something significant about one’s birth () or about some life-changing experience. Jacob was renamed Israel after a night of wrestling with God (), and Simon received the name Peter (rock) when he met Jesus Christ (). The names assigned to unborn babies even carried messages (; ).
In this chapter, you will discover [three] new names and a name that will always be old because it cannot be changed.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 61–64.

A. Abram's New Title - Seen With God's Newly Revealed Name ().

Genesis 17:1–2 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Genesis 17:1 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, vol. 1, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1810), 120.

1. Revelation ().

Genesis 17:1 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Gen. 17:1
State Point -
the Lord appeared to Abram; in a visible manner, in an human form very probably, even the Logos, the Word and Son of God: it seems as if the Lord had not appeared to him since the birth of Ishmael, until this time; and if so, it may be thought to be a correction of him for listening to the voice of his wife in marrying Hagar, without asking counsel of God
John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, vol. 1, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1810), 120.
El Shaddai:
This name of God is found 48 times total in the OT. Only twice of those is it rendered exactly thus, Almighty God: here, , and describing the sound of cherubims' wings as the voice of Almighty God.
Five times it is given in reversed order as God Almighty, which arrangement is peculiar to God's revelation of Himself to Jacob in particular (see ; ; ; and ).
The majority of times (41 of 48x), it is simply given as Almighty, and the most of these in the Book of Job (31x).
Of note however, this name of God was selected by Naomi, particularly when she desired a changing of her name to Mara (see ). Significantly, the first time the name appears is when God changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah, respectively. Naomi appears to be invoking the covenant God in her name change.
Also of note is that the first time the Book of Job uses the name (), it treats of God's chastening, which consider the thought of 13 years of silence that Abram experienced from Jehovah over the episode of Hagar and Ishmael, when he hearkened to the voice of Sarai over the LORD's.
This blessed text, “I am God All-sufficient,” may apply to us in times when we are inclined to shirk any service for God. Have you never felt on certain seasons that God’s choice of you for a special labour could not be a wise one, for you were so unfit for it? Have you never felt in your own hearts—“I cannot do that; I think the Lord would have me do it, but I cannot. I have not the qualification. I believe I am called to it, but it is too difficult for me. I shall not be able to achieve it”? Have you never had the disposition, like Jonah, to flee to Tarshish, or somewhere else, and to escape from Nineveh and its trials? Have you never pleaded, like Jeremiah, “But I am a child?” Have you never cried, like Moses, “I am slow of speech, send by whomsoever thou wilt send, but not by me”? Now, at such a time the Lord may well remind us, “I am God All-sufficient, cannot I strengthen thee? Weak as thou art, cannot I make thee strong? Worm of the dust, cannot I make thee thresh the mountains? Why dost thou fear? Thou art feeble, but I am not. Thou art foolish, but I am wise. Give thyself up to my guidance; trust thyself in my hands, and thou shalt achieve marvels; and exceeding great wonders shalt thou accomplish by my power and grace.” It will be sadly sinful if we arrogate to ourselves the right to arrange our own place, and alter heaven’s appointments. We are not where we are by chance, or by a freak of fate: as God’s servants, our work is allotted us wisely and authoritatively. Dare we be wiser than the Lord? Are we also of Jehovah’s council? His choice of instruments is wise, even when he chooses the weak things of the world to work his purposes. Their insufficiency is of no consequence, for their sufficiency is of God.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 18 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1872), 652.
But why would God reveal this name to Abraham at this time, at the close of thirteen years of silence? Because God was going to tell His friend that Sarah would have a son. The Lord wanted Abraham to know that He is the God who is all-sufficient and all-powerful, and that nothing is too hard for Him. God says “I will” twelve times in this chapter; He is about to do the miraculous.
After Abraham’s battle with the four kings, God came to him as a warrior and told him He was his “shield.” When Abraham wondered about his refusal of Sodom’s wealth, God told him He was his “exceedingly great reward” (). Now when Abraham and Sarah were “as good as dead,” God assured them that He was more than sufficient to bring about the miracle birth. God comes to us in the ways we need Him most.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 64.
a
THREE times over in Scripture Abraham is called “the friend of God.” In that moment of agony, when tidings came to King Jehoshaphat of the great heathen alliance which had been formed against him, he stood in the Temple, and said, “Art not Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land, … and gavest it to the seed of Abraham, thy friend, for ever?” ().
And the Apostle James, at the close of his argument about faith and works, tells us that when Abraham believed God, “it was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God” ().
But, better than all, Jehovah Himself uses the title of friendship, and acknowledges the sacred tie between this much tried spirit and Himself: “Thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My friend” ().
And it would almost appear as if these two chapters, and 18, had been written for this, among other things: to show the familiarity and intimacy which existed between the Eternal God and the man who was honoured to be called His “friend.” However, in reading them, we must not suppose that there was something altogether exceptional and unique in this marvellous story. Without doubt it is a true record of what happened more than three thousand years ago; but it is surely also intended as a specimen of the way in which the Eternal God is willing to deal with true-hearted saints in all ages. To hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of His saints, God has been all that He was to Abraham; and He is willing to be all that to us still.
Let us peruse these ancient lines beneath the flood of light shed on them by our Saviour, when He said: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends” ().
The friendship of God is freely offered to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. We cannot merit or deserve it. We cannot establish a prior claim to it. We are simply His bankrupt debtors for ever, wondering at the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, of the unsearchable riches of His grace.
F. B. Meyer, Abraham: Or, The Obedience of Faith, Old Testament Heroes (New York; Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.), 105–106.

2. Commission ().

Genesis 17:1–2 KJV 1900
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Genesis 17:2 KJV 1900
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
These are commands not conditions, as the Covenant was unconditional.
There are, however, three conditions to be fulfilled by us if we would enjoy this blessed friendship: Separation, Purity, and Obedience, each of which was set forth in the rite of circumcision, which was given to Abraham for himself and his decendants at this time.
F. B. Meyer, Abraham: Or, The Obedience of Faith, Old Testament Heroes (New York; Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.), 108.
Our surrender must be complete, our obedience absolute, our faith fixed steadfastly on the Promiser.
F. B. Meyer, Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1914–1918), 25.
a
Walk before me.” Not merely “think before me,” and “pray before me,” but “walk before me.” I know many find it easy to cultivate a sense of God’s presence in their own study, or in the room where they are accustomed to pray, but this is the point—to feel it in business, and in the details of every-day life. God’s eye is upon me
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 18 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1872), 655.

3. Submission ().

Genesis 17:3 KJV 1900
And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
In being fruitful for God, we have nothing in ourselves that will accomplish the task. Abraham and Sarah had tried their own plan, and it failed miserably. Jesus said, “Without Me, ye can do nothing” (). “We say that we depend on the Holy Spirit,” wrote Vance Havner, “but actually we are so wired up with our own devices that if the fire does not fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce false fire of our own.”
I read about a young Scottish minister who walked proudly into the pulpit to preach his first sermon. He had a brilliant mind and a good education and was confident of himself as he faced his first congregation. But the longer he preached, the more conscious everyone was that “the Lord was not in the wind.” He finished his message quickly and came down from the pulpit with his head bowed, his pride now gone. Afterward, one of the members said to him, “If you had gone into the pulpit the way you came down, you might have come down from the pulpit the way you went up.”
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 66.

4. Transformation ().

Genesis 17:4–5 KJV 1900
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
Abram (“exalted father”) is changed to Abraham (“father of the multitude”)
Anchor Point -
Validate Point -
Explain Point -
“But thy name shall be Abraham.”] “From ab, a ‘father,’ and the Arabic word raham, that signifies a ‘thick and continual rain,’ and metaphorically such a vast multitude, that like the drops cannot be numbered.” Bedford, Scripture Chronology, p. 323. The saints that are the children of Abraham are elsewhere compared to the drops of rain or dew. , “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.” And , “The remnant of Jacob shall be as the dew from the Lord, and as showers upon the grass.”
1 בָב
[Apply Point] -
Jonathan Edwards, The “Blank Bible”: Part 1 & Part 2, ed. Stephen J. Stein and Harry S. Stout, vol. 24, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 158.
Jonathan Edwards, The “Blank Bible”: Part 1 & Part 2, ed. Stephen J. Stein and Harry S. Stout, vol. 24, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 158.

B. Abraham's New Token - The Covenant Reaffirmed ().

1. The Nature of the Covenant ():

State Point -
Genesis 17:6–9 KJV 1900
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

Gen. 17:6-9

Anchor Point -
“everlasting covenant” / “everlasting possession” ().
Validate Point -
Explain Point -
[Apply Point] -

2. The Sign of the Covenant: Circumcision () -

Genesis 17:10–11 KJV 1900
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
State Point -
“Every man-child,” etc.] This is an evidence of original sin, for let the Scripture be its own interpreter; and we are in many places taught that the foreskin represents sin or lust. , “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart.” , “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.” , “If then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled.” , “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” , “That is not circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.… But circumcision is that of the heart.” , “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh.” , “And all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
Jonathan Edwards, The “Blank Bible”: Part 1 & Part 2, ed. Stephen J. Stein and Harry S. Stout, vol. 24, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 159.
As a sign of the covenant, he is to circumcise himself, all males in his camp, and all baby boys eight days after their birth.
Anchor Point -
Validate Point -
Explain Point -
Those who refuse to be circumcised are to be cut off from the Israelites.
[Apply Point] -
Circumcision was not the means of his salvation but the mark of his separation as a man in covenant relationship with God.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 69.

3. The Person of the Covenant: Isaac [not Ishmael] ().

Genesis 17:21 KJV 1900
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
a
Anchor Point -
Validate Point -
Why did God choose circumcision to be a sign of His covenant with Abraham? One reason may have been that it was a permanent physical sign symbolizing the permanence of the covenant. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant (verse 13). Second, it was a painful procedure: perhaps God wanted to test Abraham’s obedience and that of his descendants. A third reason is possible, and perhaps most important: according to the Apostle Paul, circumcision symbolized the “cutting away” of the sinful nature (see ). Paul taught that it was not outward circumcision that was most important but rather inward circumcision—circumcision of the heart ().
Explain Point -
[Apply Point] -
Thomas Hale, The Applied Old Testament Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Ontario, Canada; East Sussex, England: David C. Cook, 2007), 156.
Application:
Transition:

II. Sarai & the Almighty God (Gen. 17:15-19).

A. Sarai Renamed ().

Genesis 17:15 KJV 1900
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
Sarai (“my princess”) is changed to Sarah (“princess”) - broadening of influence
Anchor Point -
Validate Point -
Explain Point -
[Apply Point] -

B. Sarai Reassured ().

Genesis 17:16–19 KJV 1900
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
The womb of the mother is a holy of holies where God is at work (). How tragic that we turn that womb into a tomb, that holy of holies into a holocaust.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 71.
God's promises that this barren woman will surely become the mother of nations.
John 8:56 KJV 1900
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Anchor Point -
Paul, writing in the fourth chapter of Romans, says this: “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb” ().
Sarah’s womb actually was a tomb—it was the place of death. And out of death came life: Isaac was born. Paul concludes that fourth chapter by saying this about the Lord Jesus: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (). Life out of death—that is the promise God is now making to this man. Abram is 99 years old, and that means that Sarai is 89 years old. When Isaac was born, Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90.
Validate Point -
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 1 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 73.
Three different occasions of laughter are associated with Isaac’s birth: Abraham laughed for joy when he heard his wife would give birth to the promised son (); Sarah laughed in unbelief when she heard the news (18:9–15); and Sarah laughed for joy when the boy was born (21:6–7). The name Isaac means “he laughs.”
Explain Point -
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 70–71.
[Apply Point] -

III. Ishmael & the Almighty God ().

A. Detailing the Future ().

Genesis 17:20–22 KJV 1900
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
God shows Abraham how Ishmael will become the the ancestor of twelve princes and a great nation.
Anchor Point -
Validate Point -
Explain Point -
[Apply Point] -

B. Dealing with the Flesh ().

Genesis 17:23–27 KJV 1900
And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
The first baby in the Bible who was named before birth was Ishmael (16:11), and the second was Isaac. As we shall see when we study , these two boys represent two different births: (1) Ishmael, our first birth after the flesh, and (2) Isaac, our second birth through the Spirit. (See and , especially vv. 28–29.)
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991), 71.
At age ninety-nine, Abraham circumcises himself, thirteen-year-old Ishmael, and all the men in his camp.
Observe Abraham’s true obedience!
a
Examine Yourself
Validate Point -
I would ask the question, Are you walking after the flesh, or after the Spirit? We hear a great deal about sanctification nowadays, and yet few people realize what true Biblical sanctification is. It certainly is not going to the altar or standing on your head, or spinning like a top. It is not “praying through,” and it is not “tarrying at the altar.” It is not seeing visions, or having icicles going down your back. It is not seeing balls of fire or hearing voices, talking in tongues, or walking on air. Sanctification is a matter of honestly recognizing the presence of the flesh within ourselves, confessing with Paul that in us (in our flesh) “there dwelleth no good thing,” frankly judging the old nature and then, by the grace of God, yielding to Him and starving the old nature to death.
Explain Point -
Many years ago I heard Dr. Ironside give an illustration which I have never forgotten. He said that he was doing certain work out in the mission among the Indians in New Mexico when an Indian chief was saved at one of the meetings and went back to his tribe. After some weeks he came back, and they asked him at the mission compound, “Chief, how are you getting along since you have been saved?” And he answered, “Well, I have had quite a time. Since I’ve been saved, I have found out that I have two dogs inside of me, a white dog and a black dog, and they are always fighting and always snapping at each other.” And they asked him, “Well, which one of the dogs wins the fight?” And he answered, “Which ever one I say ‘sickem’ to.” That is the answer of the two natures as well. The one that will be in ascendancy is the one which we encourage and feed and pamper and pet. May God grant us the lesson of victory through the example of Abraham.
[Apply Point] -
M. R. De Haan, Adventures in Faith: Studies in the Life of Abraham (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 144.

Conclusion

All this was done on the same day God had spoken to him. This required a particular act of faith on Abraham’s part, since it no doubt incapacitated all the males in his community for several days, thus leaving his home and possessions with no protection at all (save God!). One can imagine there may have been a great many questions from his household that day—and quite possibly some resistance. Nevertheless, finally all submitted and this in itself must have been a testimony to the effectiveness of Abraham’s influence and esteem in his own household. By this time at least, everyone knew that God was with Abraham; and if this was what God asked of them, they, along with Abraham, would obey.
God Wants You To:
Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976), 336.
[Parts of this Outline were also adapted from Wilmington’s Outline Bible]
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