In Israel, neonatal male circumcision is routine practice. According to Jewish law, circumcision is the physical representation of the covenant between God and Abraham described in the Old Testament and is required for the inclusion of males in the Jewish faith.  According to Genesis, God told Abraham to circumcise himself, his household and all his male slaves as an everlasting covenant in their flesh. The uncircumcised were to be “cut off” from their people. Circumcision was enjoined upon the biblical patriarch Abraham, his descendants and their slaves as “a token of the covenant” concluded with him by God for all generations, an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:13), thus it is commonly observed.
Imagine being an Israelite having walked and seen the mighty things that God has done yet God has one thing that would be considered to be against you, what would you do? When I consider this fifth chapter, the first seven verses, stunned by the fact that there are seasons that God would actually ignore my ignorance yet still goes ahead to perform whatever he wanted to do through and with me. Let us consider the some of the truths from God’s word in regards to our familiarity and our ignorance in matters of our faith in God.
We learn from Scripture that there is a generation that died in the wilderness therefore did not see the Promised Land. This generation was promised the land that flows with milk and honey. This generation saw God do wonders right before them. They were fed and watered in the desert, and were protected from the elements as it were. They did not change clothes not because they were poor but whatever they had was kept in pristine condition all the days of their lives. They walked on a dry seabed and saw their enemies being defeated yet “…they did not listen to the voice of God” (Vs 6).
This is should be traumatic to any child of God, but it happened.
Many times, as leaders or allow me to just say Christians, we get so familiar with the things of God and assume that since we were “circumcised” we have nothing to be afraid of. We could have seen God do great things in our presence or even answered our prayers in a manner that many would exclaim that they were seeing miracles yet God had already decided that we will not see the promise that He gave to our predecessors or even ourselves. We get so comfortable and familiar with Him making us to think that we are okay even if we err a little He is full of mercy and will overlook that.
I know that He is merciful and just in all He does. But, could it be in my walk with Him I missed the mark and ended up suffering the consequence of the sin thus missing the opportunity that He had laid before me? Could I be moving in my glory that is certainly vain and not knowing that God is not with me in this? Could He be waiting for me to raise another generation that would see His promise then get me out of the picture? May the Lord be lenient. When the Lord is satisfied that we do not listen to Him, he gets an alternative. It will not matter whether we are “circumcised” or not. It will not matter whether we have fulfilled all righteousness as far as the church is concerned in its liturgy or not. It will not matter whether we are foundations of Christian communities or not. When we stop listening to God, He puts us out.
When the children of Israel cross over, the news of their movement went before them. The people of the lands were terrified because of what they had heard God do with them. This in itself is enough to build the esteem of the Israelites. I mean, your enemy is already scared of you even before you appear. Their presence was momentous. But wait, they were not circumcised! How come God walked with them and performed wonders yet they were “out casts” by virtue of them not being circumcised? They were “not of the faith”! Their fathers did not circumcise them yet they raised them.
There is nothing as important as to have a father. We all have fathers though we may not consider them as so but there are people who have raised us in many aspects of this life and this doesn’t exclude our Christian walk. When we look at our fathers or when we father others in the ministry, do we really prepare them for ministry or do we wallow in former glory and forget to train the people we are nurturing the ways of our gospel ancestors? Are we having an attitude of accomplishment as opposed to looking at the harvest and training workers that the Lord needs for the fields? When we will be long gone, for whatever reason, will we have left a generation that knows God?
But God has a servant who listened to His voice and had the desert babies circumcised. An interesting thing with God is that He will still see to it that the conditions that He had laid before are to be observed if He is to be involved in the affairs of men. The boys had to get the “cut”. The covenant God had with Abraham, had to be kept inviolate at all cost and so shall man keep his part. In as much as they saw God do wonders before their very eyes did not signify that it was okay but it was an introduction of the mightier things that He had in store if only they obeyed. Their terror had gone before them and so this could be sufficient, I think, but no. God has greater plans if the promised land was to be bequeathed.
If we may stop here and ask ourselves some pertinent questions. How many of us have been satisfied with the things that make our lives comfortable and yet forget that there are better things ahead of us? Have we convinced ourselves that we have already fought out battles and now it is our time to “reap” in the victories that God has given us? Have we made ourselves “gurus” in our knowledge of God not knowing that we have not even scratched the surface? Could we be in need of circumcision? Could we be enjoying the blessings of our faithful fathers not knowing that we need to cultivate our own relationship with God? Could we be putting our trust in man? This may sound far-fetched but it is very close to us. How is our walk with God? Are we dependent on those before us so much so that we live in their shadows, or their praise as opposed to creating our shadows made as a reflection of Gods glory upon us?
The desert babies walked with God until it reached a time that if God was to do any other thing with them they had to be circumcised. In our lives today, as leaders, ministry leaders or teachers, have we prepared ourselves to be used by God in God’s terms? Are we faithful to our covenant of God? Have we dealt with the issues that we ought to deal with before we get ourselves in the things that God has in store for us or do we want to walk uncircumcised and expect God to be faithful to His covenant with us? I understand that you love God, but are you still carrying baggage in your loins?
Oh how I pray that I will be found faithful in the work of the ministry and nothing shall by any means prevent me from getting to the promised land that the Lord has for me. May I not be blinded by the things would make me satisfied yet there is so much more to do in the ministry and many victories to be won. Are you circumcised?