Bible Study Lessons – Discover Genesis 17:9-27
Have you ever wondered why the Jews were required by God to be circumcised?
Seems a barbaric tradition but God had His reasons.
We will learn a few in this study lesson from the Bible about the circumcision covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis.
Why the Jewish People are Circumcised
God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.
And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. – Genesis 17:9-12 NASB
The Circumcision Covenant Between God and Abraham
On the surface, this seems like a barbaric ritual and ceremony of a backward tribe. In reality, there is some powerful symbolism in this passage from Genesis.
God required Abraham and all the males in his household to be circumcised for several possible reasons.
One – A covenant with God’s people and obedience
At the time, circumcision provided a way to be obedient to God. And, it meant there was no doubt who the Jews were.
Circumcised people belonged to God and were Jews. No matter where they roamed, they had a separate identity as followers of God.
Two – A new life with God
The circumcision itself is a way of showing that the old, sinful life was now cut away allowing for a new life under God.
Not shown in my study Bible, but I personally have an opinion that circumcision was an outward show of faith in God. It could be much like the baptism of Christians is a public statement to let others know of a new (or first time) commitment to accepting Christ.
You may disagree and, as I said, just a personal observation.
Three – Circumcision and Health
God also knows the health benefits of circumcision so He could have used this as a way of keeping His people healthier along with the other reasons.
In fact, WebMd did an article on circumcision and health. It states:
“the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks,” Mermin said. read more ..
Israel is Set Apart through Circumcision
In view of all these reasons, circumcision was one way that made the Jewish people different from all others in the land.
It showed that they truly worshiped the one and only God. This show of commitment was essential to keeping them strong in faith and strong as a nation.
God does not ask us to go so far as Christians. But, He does ask us to be obedient to what He requires us to do.
Our job is to love God, love other people, and make new disciples of Christ.
Easy to say but sometimes very difficult to practice. Can we at least make an effort towards doing our job for God today?
Love in Christ
If you want to know more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please go to this verse and learn more about becoming a Christian.
Read Today’s Passage Here:
New American Standard Bible
New King James Version