Week of October 7 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Genesis 17:9-14

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Reflect: We get the sense Sarah was eavesdropping on this conversation. What do you think she must have thought at the announcement she would have a son?

Consider: You shall keep my covenant: there are two main ways in which keep my covenant may be understood. In verse 1 Abraham was instructed to “walk before me [obey me] and be blameless.” On the other hand, God requires in verse 10 that Abraham and his descendants be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. Consequently, keeping the covenant is best taken in this context as obeying the requirement that Abraham and all the males of his camp be circumcised. This interpretation is strengthened in verse 14, where failure to follow God’s instructions regarding circumcision is said to result in a broken covenant.[1]

Respond: Why do you think Sarah was afraid when God asked why she laughed? How does Sarah’s response, and what she subsequently learned about God through the process, encourage you to be open with your feelings to the direction God sometimes wants you to go? How can you encourage others who might be experiencing similar feelings as Sarah’s?

[1] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 370.