The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 17

written by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter seventeen
  Chapter 17- The sign of circumcision
  Gen. 17:1 - 8 God changed Abram's name
  El Shaddai- one of God's title names
  What does it mean to be perfect?
  What does the name Abraham mean?
  Gen. 17:9 - 14 Physical circumcision
  Spiritual circumcision of the heart
  Gen. 17:15 - 27 God changed Sarai's name
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I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
Many words on this web page are color coded:

The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
The words of Scripture are in purple that symbolize His royalty.
A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 17
The sign of circumcision

God changed Abram's name to Abraham:
"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"
(Genesis 17:1-8).


El Shaddai:
In verse one, the Hebrew word for God is 'el. Also the Hebrew word for almighty is Shadday (Shaddai). The words in combination mean God Almighty. In other words, God says that He is El Shaddai meaning "Almighty God of strength", "Almighty God", or "the Strong One." That is one of the title names of God.

Keeping that in mind, let us follow the blood line (or genealogy) of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, through
Abraham and Isaac (Exodus 6:2-8),
Jacob (Genesis 28:1-4, 35:11), and
Joseph (Genesis 48:3).
Only God was able to bring about that plan because He was and is El Shaddai- "The all powerful One."

Is there an application to be made for us from these verses of scripture? I think so- God deals in love with those who belong to Him and He uses us for His own purposes when we are willing. I am sure you know how God has dealt with you. He has also dealt with me. I have a strong love for God's Word- that is why I initially floated missionary bottles to reach others for Christ and now why I write this devotional commentary.


What does the word "perfect" mean in verse one?
The word "perfect" does not mean without sin. It means to be mature and complete in Christ
(2 Timothy 3:17; Colossians 1:28; Philippians 3:12 & 15; Ephesians 4:13).

We need to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord to be perfect:
(2 Peter 1:8, 3:18; Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:10).

We need to grow in the Lord. We need to be weaned from the milk of the word (as an infant) so that we can eat the meat of the word (as a mature adult):
(1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-13; 1 Corinthians 3:2 & 9:7).


What does the name "Abraham" mean?
God changed his name from Abram meaning "exalted father" or "high father" to Abraham meaning "father of a multitude" or "father of a great multitude."

  You do not perform good works in order to be saved
  You perform good works because you have been saved
  (James 2:14)

Circumcision was a sign of God's covenant:      
"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"
(Genesis 17:9-14).

Physical circumcision was a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Was it circumcision that initially placed those folks under God's covenant or their faith in God? Circumcision was the evidence of their faith in God.

But what if a man was circumcised but was not justified by his faith? Then that man was trying to be saved by his good works rather than by his faith in Christ
(Romans 2:25). In a similar way, the Law of God (works) versus the grace of God (faith) was mentioned by Paul the Apostle. The works of any man will not save him- only Christ will save him. True believers in Christ, in the New Testament, are called the children of Abraham due to their faith in Christ
(Romans 4:16-25). In other words, God indicated that if there was no circumcision, there was no inheritance. If a man had an uncircumcised heart, he would not share in God's spiritual inheritance.

Any slave in those days, who was circumcised by his master, was entitled to share in his master's national and religious privileges. Since you and I are love slaves to Christ, then we have a right to share in all that God has for us.


Spiritual circumcision of the heart was a sign of the new birth experience
(Romans 2:28-29). It was the cutting off and casting away of the flesh (the depraved nature or self life) and the dedication of the inner new man (one who had been born again) unto holiness.

Sometimes, when the old human nature was cast away (like the foreskin), the person's birth name (according to the flesh) was also cast away. Since that redeemed individual had a new nature then he needed a new name. That was a custom for many in the days of old.

What was the biblical teaching about physical circumcision?
It was instituted by God before the Law of God (Genesis 17:9-10),
It was a physical sign of one's spiritual covenant with God (Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11),
It was performed on a male child the eighth day after his birth (Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3),
It was done even on the sabbath day (John 7:22-23),
It was done by the family leadership (Genesis 17:23; Exodus 4:25),
It was accompanied with the naming of the child (Genesis 21:3-4; Luke 1:59, 2:21).


God changed Sarai's named to Sarah:
"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"
(Genesis 17:15-27).

The name, Sarai, means "my lady" or "my princess," however, the name, Sarah, means "princess of the multitude."

"Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed." Has something ever happened to you from God that was so joyful that it made you laugh? With Abraham, it was the laughter of anticipation, joy, and the delight of his heart and soul. He wanted a son with Sarah for so long and now he was going to have one. Jesus said: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad"
(John 8:56).
Christ, as the Angel of the Lord, had fellowship with Abraham at this time. Abraham, His friend, was glad at the good news which Christ had given to him
(Isaiah 41:8; Romans 4:18). As His children, you and I can expect God to give us good things when we ask Him, believing in faith that we will have them
(Matthew 7:9-11).

Ishmael was 13 years old by this time and God had promised to bless him also. No one, today, is too little or significant to be left out of God's blessings. He is an equal opportunity Blesser.

Abraham believed in instant obedience to God. He did not delay or procrastinate in doing what God wanted him to do- he circumcised himself and the other males. You and I should also be instantly obedient to the Lord in carrying out any of His commandments to us.



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