Summary: God gave the nation of Israel a sign of their commitment to him with circumcision. The people thought that the sign was their salvation. Not their relationship with God. Many who profess Christian faith do the same with baptism.
Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
Genesis 17: 9-13 (NLT)
Intro: Back in the seventies, there was a one hit wonder band called the five man electrical band. There one mega hit was called “Signs”.
. The chorus went like this:
. Signs, Signs, Everywhere there's signs. Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind. Do this! Don't do that! Can't you read the signs?
. That song was true then and it is true today. We have signs everywhere don’t we. Signs that tell us where we are, when to stop, when to go, when to be careful. When we can’t speak or people can’t hear us, we just use a sign to tell people what we want them to know.
. A Salvation Army woman was informed by a policeman that a local ordinance would prevent her from ringing her bells to invite contributions. She was contrite and apologetic that she had “broken” the law. But the next day she was back in front of the store… doing a brisker business than ever… as she waved one sign and then another in the air.
One sign said "ding" and the other said "dong."
. As the old saying goes, there is more than one way to skin something.
. Signs are one way we communicate and many times how we identify things.
. Signs are important in the lives of Gods people also. They may not be printed signs but we do portray who we are by the way we live. There are things that Christians are supposed to do to identify themselves as Christians. The Lords Supper and Baptism.
Doing these things say that we belong to God. People should be able to identify God’s people by looking at them, and what they do and how they act. Our lives are signs to the world.
. Our scripture this morning is telling us about a sign that identifies God’s people.
. We are back in Genesis, chapter 17.
. This chapter tells us many things.
. The first thing we see is this is where we are introduced to the name El Shaddi which means God almighty. The all powerful God.
. Many times we see that the names of God are introduced to us by the people who are speaking or writing.
. If you remember a few weeks ago we were introduced to the name EL-Roi by Hagar. She told God that from now on I will call you El-Roi, the God who sees me.
. Here in chapter 17, God tells Abram the name the He wants him to remember Him by.
. Verse 1 of chapter 17 tells us this:
. 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty. Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.
2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
. We are introduced to the name for the powerful God of the universe. The almighty God.
. God tells Abram to serve Him faithfully and in return He will bless him.
. Also here in chapter 17, God changes Abram,s name to Abraham and Sari’s name to Sarah. He gives them these new names when He gives them the sign of the covenant.
. God has just told Abraham that He was making a contract, a covenant with him. He told him that Abraham and his descendants would be God’s chosen people and God promised him the entire land of Canaan forever. Then He told them this.
. 9Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.
10This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised.
11You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you.
12From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.
13All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant.
. You will have a sign, a mark on you that will identify you as one of my chosen people.
. When you do this, you are acknowledging who I am and what I mean to you.
. This will set you apart from the rest of the world. Your old identity will be gone. No longer are you who you used to be, now you are one of my chosen people.
. This tells the world who you worship and serve.
. This sign of faith by circumcision is just the beginning of what God expected from Abraham and his descendants.