Cutting Away The Unwanted Parts of Us!
Circumcision is mentioned nearly 100 times in the Bible. Whatever be our feeling about that, it is absurd that this is the word that found such importance in the bible. Why?
While circumcision was a symbol of God’s covenant with Abraham, this was not unique to the people of Israel. The religions and people of the time practiced this custom as well. Jeremiah 9: 25-26 “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will attend to all those who are circumcised only in the foreskin: Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.” It was practiced in Syria and Phoenicia dating back to 2200 BC. Josh 5: 2, 9 “The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.” Joshua commanded his men to be circumcised to let go of the blemish of Egypt.
We all believe the birth of Isaac miraculous. That’s because both Abraham and Sarah were old and couldn’t have borne a child, but in their old age, they became parents of Isaac. When God asked Abraham to be circumcised, it was more than an act of purification, it got associated with the miracle of the birth of Isaac that happened later. All men and women knew from then on, circumcision is to symbolize the miracle God performed for the people of Israel through Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac.
The entire existence of the people of Israel began with the miracle of the birth of Isaac. Circumcision was a way of reminding the people that they were brought forth through the miracle of Isaac and they owe it to God. It is like Baptism.
If baptism does not remind us of this miracle of rebirth, or the miracle of freedom from sin, then it is as well be like that of the gentiles or pagans. We all need to be circumcised of our pride and unawareness of the miracle of our lives. Paul compares Baptism to circumcision to remind us how important it is for us to set ourselves apart through removing what makes us less than the child of God.