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Sunday, July 21, 2019

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter SEVENTEEN


Contributing commentaries by Sonny Islas and James Fire

Studies by Ray Steadman: The Circumcised Life

GENESIS 17 – by James Fire
Watch the video teaching on Facebook here, taught at ETERNAL LIVING WORD Church.

Introduction:
The LORD appeared to Abraham in a vision back in GENESIS 15: that was the second time He did this; the first time in chapter 12:7, 12 years before chapter 15. Now we are in Chapter 17, which is 13 years after the last chapter when he was 86 years old. He’s 99 years old now, almost 100 – and still – no child from Sarah.

The last time we were in Chapter 16 and pastor Sonny said:
“…Sarai was blind to the fact that God was going to use her young [as well as her] old age barrenness in an incredible way! It was when Sarai could no longer scheme or naturally have a baby (90 yrs old) when God came through to show Himself mighty!
Sometimes, God will allow us to scheme and squirm, try, fail and fold (even brake) before He sends down the blessing. This way we don’t try and take any credit for His magnificent work. Sometimes we’re too strong and clever for God to bless us. In 2 COR 12:9 The LORD tells Paul ‘My power is made perfect in weakness.’”

And remember the story of Gideon, who had his ten thousand men, and GOD reduced his forces down to a measly 300 – just so that the children of Israel would know Who really won the war against the enemy!

GENESIS 17:1-2
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
.

This is the first instance of GOD declaring Himself as “Almighty GOD”
In the Hebrew, “Almighty GOD” is El Shaddai; from Dr. Scofield’s notes

Shaddai … means primarily "the breasted." God is "Shaddai," because He is the Nourisher, the Strength-giver, and so, in a secondary sense, the Satisfier, who pours himself into believing lives. As a fretful, unsatisfied babe is not only strengthened and nourished from the mother's breast, but also is quieted, rested, satisfied, so El Shaddai is that name of God which sets Him forth as the Strength-giver and Satisfier of His people. The primary name El or Eloheim sufficiently signifies almightiness. "All-sufficient" expresses both the Hebrew meaning and the characteristic use of this name in Scripture.
Almighty God (El Shaddai) not only enriches but makes fruitful. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the first occurrence of the name Genesis 17:1-8, to a man ninety-nine years of age, and "as good as dead" (Hebrews 11:12). He said: "I am the Almighty God or El Shaddai . . . I will . . . multiply thee exceedingly." The same name is used in Genesis 28:3-4.
As Giver of fruitfulness, Almighty God (El Shaddai) chastens His people. For the moral connection of chastening with fruit bearing, see John 15:2; Hebrews 12:10; Ruth 1:20. Almighty is the characteristic name of God in Job, occurring thirty-one times in that book. The hand of El Shaddai falls upon Job, the best man of his time, not in judgment, but in purifying unto greater fruitfulness Job 5:17-25.

GOD tells Abraham to walk before Him; we’ve read before how Enoch “walked with GOD” (GEN 5:22).

Christians have an odd vocabulary that the world doesn’t always get. We ask each other, “How’s your walk, brother?” And what we mean is, our walk with the LORD, or our life with JESUS.
In order to walk physically, you need muscle and bone in a living body, strength and will power, balance and coordination. 

It’s the same spiritually – you need a living spirit and you need will power – both of which are provided by the Spirit of GOD’s grace and the born-again experience. You also need balance and coordination – and we gain balance in life as we learn GOD’s instruction in the Word and obey it; coordination as we become sensitive to the LORD Who is the Head of the church, just as your body has coordination by the instructions it receives from your own head.

GOD commands this century old man to walk before Him, the Almighty and to “be perfect”! Wow; does GOD expect Abram to be sinless? The Hebrew word for “perfect” is tamiym, meaning “entire, integrity, upright, sincere, blameless, sound” among other words. That’s what GOD desires in our relationship with Him – just as we would want in any relationship we have with others, right? 

But what about being blameless before GOD? Or having integrity that is without flaw? Can we walk before the LORD in this, as He commanded Abram to do?
ONLY by the power of the Holy Spirit saints – and as we grow in the LORD and mature – just as we grew and matured from childhood and learned how to walk in balance and coordination – it’s the same spiritually

And again, GOD reminds Abram of the covenant He made with him, the father of the faith, back in GENESIS 15. AND that He will multiply His children (“seed”) exceedingly – how exceedingly? Remember what GOD said, “as the dust of the Earth” and “as the stars of the heavens”. And for all that promise, Abram still has – no child through Sarah!
He has Ishmael, true – but he was not the promised son!

WHAT IS GOD WAITING FOR? – we heard it already – GOD’s strength is made perfect in our weakness – and when you reach 100 years old, the hopes of fathering a child, is pretty weak! Powerfully weak even!

GENESIS 17:3-4
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
.

GOD repeats Himself again, stating that His covenant is with Abram – and that he will be a father of many nations: well he already has Ishmael, and the lad was promised that he would have a tremendous number of descendants – but at this point, this is all he has: one son. Yet what does GOD then tell him?

GENESIS 17:5-6
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
.

Notice something strange about what GOD told him? He didn’t say, “I will make you a father of many nations” but rather “I have made you a father of many nations”!
What does ROMANS 4:17-21 tell us about this?

17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who [brings to life] the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 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: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

The Eternal GOD Who exists outside of time, often talks like this to His saints: Telling them what He has done for them (in what we consider to be the future), even though it’s not yet evident (in what we consider to be the present). 

When confronting the enormous city of Jericho, GOD didn’t tell Joshua that He would give him the city, but that “[He] has given [him] the city.” (JOSHUA 6:2). When GOD tells us something is a done deal, even if we don’t see it – we walk by faith saints, not by sight (2 COR 5:7). Let us trust the 100% trustworthy GOD, our Abba Father, amen?

Now GOD not only tells Abraham that he will be exceedingly fruitful with innumerable descendants, but that kings will proceed from his family tree! And one particular King – who is the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords!

GENESIS 17:7-8
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
.

Pastor Sonny was eloquent in his expression in what this Book is all about: every page, every verse, is about JESUS and “the testimony of JESUS” which is the very heart, the very spirit, the very focus - the core of prophecy – prophecy in this case referring to the overall plan of GOD as expressed from GENESIS to REVELATION as accomplished through the LORD JESUS CHRIST (REV 19:10). 

He starts here with Abraham, then Isaac and Jacob; then the twelves sons of Jacob, which become the twelve tribes – and the LORD chooses Judah as the tribe to reign as the government of GOD – specifically the son of Jesse, David, and through David the Messiah – who is the Ultimate Son of David – and will reign over Israel forever and into eternity!

This is a plan that He reveals slowly, generation by generation, revealing more and more of this progressive revelation, page after page, for his saints to learn about. However, the enemy is also paying attention, and understands this plan, and does what he can to disrupt and even destroy that plan. It’s a sort of race between GOD accomplishing His plan in establishing His world order just as He started it in the beginning and Satan accomplishing his plan in establishing his [new] world order. 

An excellent series that goes throughout the history and current prophetic scenario is KNOW YOUR ENEMY, by the Fuel Project [note: TTUF does not necessarily agree with all of the assertions and doctrinal beliefs of the Fuel Project ministries].

This is why Satan hates Israel so much, because this nation is central to the plan of GOD. We see how he uses the Muslims, the UN, the EU, the nations at large and even the facets of the USA to bring Israel down – but those who try to remove or destroy Israel, specifically the city of GOD – Jerusalem, are fighting a losing battle!

In ZECHARIAH 12:3 it states that those who mess with Jerusalem, to try to wipe her off the face of the Earth, or even remove Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the city of David, the city of GOD, will be destroyed for all their efforts.

GOD establishes an everlasting covenant – which means it can’t be broken or nullified by Israel’s disobedience – and has granted the land for an everlasting possession – GOD will see to it that Israel remains in the land in the last days, and where the enemy may scatter a portion of the population, the LORD Who is their Shepherd will lead them back and there stay forever!

GENESIS 17:9-10
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 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
.

Up until now Abraham was a man from the city of Ur, of the Chaldees – a Gentile saved by faith in GOD – but now as the inheritor of the land, and a people who will dwell in that land, GOD separates this man and his descendants, sanctifies them as His peculiar people. The symbol of this sanctification is circumcision, the cutting away of the flesh, which represents “holiness unto the LORD”.

A very sharp razor was used for this procedure of circumcision, to effectively slice through the flesh with a minimum of pain. Likewise, the LORD uses His Word, the Sword of the Spirit (EPH 6:17) – the sharpest that there is (!) to cut away at the sinful nature of our flesh – with a minimum of pain, but there is pain nonetheless – dying to self, crucifying our flesh is never easy or comfortable. Crosses are not upholstered, and those who died upon them die a slow death. Dying to our sinful nature is a life-long process, but we pick up our crosses nevertheless and follow our LORD (MATT 16:24)!

ROMANS 4:11
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also
:

It’s the same for us Christians in the sense that we deny self, die to self and the flesh and are consecrated to the LORD, living holy by the power of the Spirit of grace:

COLOSSIANS 2:6-12
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead
.

GENESIS 17:11-13
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 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. 13 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
.

Circumcision then is a symbol of sanctification, of holiness unto the LORD, and everything in our lives is to be so sanctified, and those things that are inherently sinful, must be removed from our lives – all things in our house, our lives, our hearts, our minds are to be circumcised! Without exceptions! 

Eight days after birth, every male child is to be circumcised – why eight days? Why not three or seven? Seven as you are probably aware is the number used in the Scriptures to denote completion, or perfection. So how is the number eight used? Just as seven means something complete, eight means new beginnings. Also a babies blood can only coagulate on the eighth day and following (how did GOD know that??).

And GOD is doing a new thing here – making a people, a peculiar people for Himself]:

DEUTERONOMY 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth
.

And just as Israel is chosen of GOD, so is the church:

1 PETER 2:9-10
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy
.

In the Hebrew this word “peculiar” means a valued possession, treasure, jewel, property; in the Greek it also means property, but with an emphasis on something obtained and preserved, protected – like pearls kept protected in a locked safe! You are GOD’s treasure, kept safely in His Divine care!

GENESIS 17:14
14 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
.

What does Scripture say about those who are not GOD’s saints? Those who remain in rebellion and sinfulness?

EPHESIANS 5:5-6
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience
.

Everyone is welcome to partake of this everlasting covenant – Jew and Gentile, and receive salvation through Christ, the Lamb of GOD – but for those who refuse the Gospel, they are “cut off” because they refuse this covenant freely offered to all.

GENESIS 17:15-19
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 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
.
17 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? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 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
.

So it seems that Abraham, after all these years, is doubtful about ever having a son through Sarah, but GOD keeps insisting that this will happen and that His covenant with Abraham will be established with his son, and all of his descendants as well!

GENESIS 17:20-22
20 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. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham
.

So we know that this covenant is not through Ishmael, Abraham’s eldest son, from whom came twelve princes – many of whose descendants eventually would become members of Islam, but this verse plainly declares that Isaac, not Ishmael – Israel – not the Islamic nations, are GOD’s chosen people. Even so, we do see that in the prophetic future, the LORD will bless nations that we know as Muslim, when they turn to the LORD in faith – notably, Egypt and Assyria* (ISAIAH 19:24-25).
* - the borders of ancient Assyria consisted of portions of the modern nations of: northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the northwestern fringes of Iran make up the area of what was the Assyrian empire.

GENESIS 17:23-27
23 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. 24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him
.

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