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January 9, Day #9 - Living the Sanctified Life



We come today to Genesis 17-18, and we see God’s covenant with Abram and His promise of a son that will result in making Abraham a father of many nations (verse 3). Names are changed to reflect this new, very personal relationship with God. This covenant includes circumcision, which will be the “sign of the covenant” (verse 11). As an irreversible procedure, physical circumcision represents God’s intent to establish a permanent reminder of His eternal relationship with the Jewish people as well as the symbolic separation and removal (i.e., “cutting off”) of the physical and the worldly (i.e., the extraneous “flesh”) for both personal and national or collective sanctification unto the spiritual (i.e., the indispensable). In this sense, circumcision pictures a complete sanctification. Abraham expresses his desire that Ishmael “live under God’s blessing” (verse 18), and by God’s promises, he will – but not the way Abraham requested. God’s holy covenant with Abraham continues with Isaac – not Ishmael. We also see here the promise of a son for Abraham and Sarah, in spite of their initial disbelief and laughter. God is able to do what would otherwise be – for us – impossible to do in every sense of the word.


In Genesis 18, the Lord again appears to Abraham and Sarah and reaffirms His promise to them. In addition, this section reveals Abraham’s dialogue with the Lord on behalf of the so-called “righteous people” of Sodom. Significantly, not even 10 righteous people can be found there. Genesis 18:17 contains a very important verse: “then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’” This expression is repeated again twice in Genesis 41:25 and 41:28 - to Pharaoh through Joseph. Importantly, God does not hide what He is doing from mankind; He is a Revealer of His plans for the future. We may say, generally, that the entire Bible tells us what God is doing. The Word of God - in both the written and living forms – discloses to us “what God is about to do.”


In Proverbs 1:8-19, we are exhorted to embrace wisdom and to eschew the enticement of sinners. Temptation often comes to us through other people, and sometimes, that it the hardest kind of temptation to resist. We always need to think twice when someone suggests that we become involved with him or her in an activity. The Word teaches us, “do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths, for their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed blood” (verses 15-16). Real wisdom calls for discernment.


In Matthew 6:25 – 7:23, Jesus continues His teachings. Here, he addresses the issues of worry, but He is not saying to avoid planning or being concerned about the present. Worry focuses on the future, which hasn’t happened yet. The difference between worry and concern relates to the present; we ought to be concerned about today because we are in the middle of the present. Jesus points out that the lower creatures – birds, lilies of the field, etc., - do not worry, and God takes care of them (verses 26-30). To God, we are “much more valuable” (verse 16) than they are. We cannot “add a single hour to our lives” by worrying (6:27), and Jesus says that worry is the currency of “pagans.” They ought to worry because they don’t know the Lord. In other words, worry is inconsistent with who we are as Christians. Worry – for the Christian - is also irrational, ineffective, illogical, and irresponsible. Jesus goes on to address judgment, asking God for His provisions, taking the path that leads to life, and bearing fruit in the Christian life. Today’s readings are filled with the principles of truth to help us live the sanctified life.


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