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Blessings Delayed but Not Denied

Or, Why Have Your Blessings Been Delayed

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          Why do the things you pray for not come to pass, or have you ever questioned God as to why you don’t receive the things you’re praying for?

          Genesis 12:1-4Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”

That was a mistake because God had told Abraham to leave his family behind and Lot was his nephew. He is now 75 years of age when he received the promise of God that one day he would be a great nation through a seed or son that he would have. For Abraham to become a great nation it can only been through his seed and that seed must be a son because the family name is passed down through the son.

          Genesis 17:1-14And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

The question is this. God told Abraham when he was 75 years of age, I’m going to give you seed and make you a great nation, now move your family from the land where you are to the land I will show you. Of course it took him a few years to get to the Promised Land, but the child who we now know as Isaac, did not come immediately. As a matter of fact, when you look at this passage you discover that Abraham was now 99 years old when Sarah finally conceived the promised seed Isaac. The question is; why did it take 25 years before Isaac was birthed when the promise was already given so long before? God said I will make a covenant (beriyth - ber-eeth') with you. The Hebrew word covenant implies a cutting, a passing between the pieces of flesh that had been cut. In the Hebrew language, when you mention covenant it is not just a verbal agreement but the word implies a blood covenant, the shedding of blood by cutting of the flesh in some form. Now the Lord said, “I will make you a father of many nations.” Then later on God sealed it by His name saying that He could swear by no other greater so He swore by Himself, by His own name, telling Abraham I am going to give you this seed as sure as I exist. Hebrews 6:13-14 says, “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

What does it mean when God swears by Himself? That means to the Hebrew that if God doesn’t keep His Word, that Word, He will destroy His own throne in heaven because God could make a covenant by no higher than Himself. So that is a strong promise that God gave to Abraham.

Between when God first spoke to Abram and promised to bless him in Genesis chapter 12 and when God spoke to him in chapter 17 and told him that the promised son would come through Sarah, before Ishmael was born of Hagar in chapter 16, God made a covenant with Abraham in Chapter 15, and they cut the blood and God walked between the pieces. Genesis 15:8-12, 17-18 Abram said, “Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. …. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,

This is God confirming the covenant with a blood sacrifice and a blood offering. What did it mean that God passed between the pieces? There was a torch, a burning lamp that passed between the pieces. Back in Abraham’s day when a couple was engaged to be married and the marital process was beginning and they were going to enter into their marital covenant, they would put the husband on one side and the wife on the other side and the family members would pass between the two with a torch in their hand and it signified that if you are not faithful to this person, then you can be burnt with fire. This was a custom that goes back some 3500 years or more. In some Eastern way of thinking this is how serious the contract or covenant was that if you don’t keep the covenant you will be burnt with fire.

We do know there is a place called hell that people who do not keep covenant with God or do not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior will go. So there is that application for Genesis 15.

When Abraham was 75 years old, I think he got so excited about this that he began to tell his family about the promise of how God had visited him and made this promise of a son and to make his name great and to make a nation out of him and to get up and leave and go to a land God would show him. So they left, Lot a nephew and others going with him.

Eleven years later, the child had still not come. You know in the natural, if the Lord made you a direct promise and years have passed and nothing has happen you will come to the place of saying to yourself, ‘did God really speak to me,’ or ‘maybe I should help God and do something to make this happen or spread up the process.’ So, this is what Sarah, Abraham’s wife did. She said,’ look, obviously the child is not going to come through me or God would have already sent this son, so why don’t you take my Egyptian handmaid Hagar and go into her and I will give her to you to wife and you can have the child through her. So, Hagar became pregnant and had a son named Ishmael. Now Ishmael had Egyptian blood in her body because according to Jewish thought you are what your mother is. If you mother is Egyptian then you are Egyptian. If you mother is a Persian or Jew or whatever, that is what you are, based upon what the mother is. So now we have Hagar and Ishmael interning into the story.

In Genesis 15 God then comes down and tells Abraham again, “I’m going to give you a son” and Abraham says, “Wait a minute. Is Eliezar going to be my seed, the one to carry on my name?” And God says “no, that is not the plan or purpose. So all through this time of 24 years Abraham is just wondering what is going on. He is not doubting God but is trying to figure out how God is going to bring the promise to pass and make it happen. So finally, when Abraham is 99 years of age, God tells him, now you’re going to have a son through Sarah your wife.

Why did God wait so long? There is a verse in Genesis 18:11 that might be the clue. “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” What that is telling us is that Sarah had already gone through menopause and she has already gone to the point in her body as a woman where it is totally and completely biologically impossible for her to have a child. That is when God finally came through to let both Abraham and Sarah give birth to this miracle baby. We have to keep in mind that in the future, the seed of Isaac, Jesus Christ would be going to come into the world through a miraculous birth, through a virgin birth. So we shouldn’t think it strange that God, early in the story, would give a miraculous birth to the son through whom the promise to the Hebrew people would be birthed. God waited until it was biologically and medically impossible for Sarah to give birth to a son before God allowed the promised seed to be born.  

Why was the blessing delayed so long and why did it take so long for this miracle to come to pass? Why 25 years to fulfill a promise that seemed simple for God to cause to come to pass. Here is the clue. Genesis 17:10-12This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.” The point is that God marks the seed in the loins. In every man is seed or sperm. Inside of that seed are genetic features and the capability to produce a living being with certain color hair, eyes, skin texture, etc. Now listen to the story of Abraham recorded in Hebrews 7:9-10 “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.”. Paul tells us how Abraham paid tithe to Melchisedec, the king of Jerusalem and he said that Levi paid tithes in Abraham while he was still in his father’s loins. In Genesis chapter 14 Abraham met Melchisedec in the Kidron Valley and there he gave tithe of all to this king and priest of the city of Jerusalem. Paul said that Levi paid tithes in Abraham while still in his father’s loins, yet Levi was not the direct son of Abraham. Abraham began Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat 12 sons and Simeon and Levi were two of Jacob’s sons. So Levi was not born till several generations later so what was Paul talking about in saying that Levi paid tithes in Abraham when still in the loins of Abraham?

It goes like this. God marks the seed before the child is born. As a matter of fact, when you read certain promises in the Old Testament that are for your children, it will say this promise is unto you and unto your seed and your seed’s seed. When God is talking about a child once it has been born He will talk about the child. But when God talks about a child before it is born He will always talk about it in the form of seed.

The mark of the covenant, the mark that Abraham had a covenant with God was the circumcision of the male foreskin. The circumcision of the foreskin on the 8th day after a child is born was the token or mark or sign of the Abrahamic covenant. The token and sign and mark that the Jewish people had that they were in covenant with God in the Old Testament was the marking of the male child on the 8th day after birth through the mark of circumcision.

Why does God talk about the 8th day? Because the number 8 in the Bible is the number of new beginnings. Also, it was discovered about 1946 that in every male child there is a substance we called vitamin k and another that I don’t recall that are blood clotting factors in the male or human body. There is more of that in the male on the 8th day after they are born than there is at any other time during their entire life. God knew that when the child was circumcised on the 8th day that the substances in the body of that male child would help to clot the blood better. Only God knew that until 1946 when men discovered it. Before that no one knew that. So there is a practical aspect to circumcision but there is also a spiritual application because it is the mark and sign of the covenant.

Notice, Abraham then immediately circumcised his servants and also Ishmael to show them that they had a covenant with God.  Abraham also circumcised himself. Then suddenly after Abraham circumcises himself, he had not been circumcised in the previous 24 years since God first revealed the promise to him, then God reveals to him the key to the covenant. The mark and sign of the covenant would be circumcision. Now Abraham circumcises himself and immediately Sarah becomes pregnant and 9 months later when Abraham is 100 years of age, this promised seed Isaac is born.

Why was the promise 24 years late in coming? The reason the promise was delayed for 24 years was because God knew that Hagar and Ishmael were in the plan. That Hagar and Ishmael would come on the scene. God knew that there would be an Ishmael. Abraham was ten years in the Promised Land and 86 years old when he went into Hagar and she conceived and Ishmael was born. Scripture tells us in an allegory by the Apostle Paul in Galatians that Isaac is the son of the spirit and Ishmael is the son of the flesh. In other words, God waited until after the son of the flesh was born before revealing the seal of the covenant. If God would have revealed to Abraham in Genesis 12 that the mark of the covenant was circumcision, then the seed that went in Hagar’s womb would have passed through the mark of the covenant that was on Abraham’s body and Ishmael would have been marked for the covenant at the moment of conception.

How can we say that? Because it teaches us in the Bible in Hebrews 7 that when Abraham paid tithe to the king and priest of Jerusalem that Levi was paying tithes and Levi was still in his father’s loins. In other words, God was marking the seed in Abraham’s body by the deeds that Abraham was doing. Abraham wasn’t circumcised yet and yet he paid tithe for Levi who was still a seed in his father’s loins. In other words, God marks the seed when it is still in the man’s body. When a seed passes from the man’s loins into the woman’s womb where she can conceive, it has to pass through the mark of the covenant and the seed is marked as it passes from the man to the woman. That is why God in speaking to the Jewish people, talks about their seed because their seed is marked. He talks about their children while they are still in the form of seed in their father’s loins because the seed is marked due to the covenant relationship of the father with God.

When Abraham went into Hagar he was not circumcised. Therefore the seed that went into Hagar was simply seed of the flesh, before the covenant was made. But when Abraham went into Sarah after he was circumcised, the seed that passed from his loins into Sarah was marked by the mark of circumcision.

How old was Ishmael when he was circumcised? Genesis 17:25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.” Abraham comes into the Promised Land and he is 86 years of age when he goes into Hagar and she bears Ishmael. But God waits 13 more years to reveal the sign of the covenant. Why? Because Ishmael was circumcised when he was 13 years of age, not when he was less than thirteen, not at 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12. In Jewish thought a father is responsible for a male child and for teaching him right and wrong and responsible for him if the child goes and does something wrong. The responsibility and burden of the child’s actions rests solely upon the father. But when a male child in Judaism turns to be 13 years of age, on the 13th birthday the responsibility of the child is no longer on the father but comes on the son. They have a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall if they live in Israel and there they pronounce the law of God over them and tell them, you are now a young man, you are entering manhood and you are now responsible for your own life, your own actions, your own sins, your own walk and deeds. Now, the father is no longer responsible if the son does wrong, but the son.

Isn’t it interesting that God waited until Ishmael was officially responsible for his own life and sins and out of the custody and care of Abraham at age 13 before God revealed the plan of circumcision. Simply put, Ishmael would have been marked as the promised seed if God had revealed circumcision to Abraham before Genesis chapter 17. But God waited until Ishmael was 13 years of age, the age of adulthood where the father is no longer responsible for that son. And because Ishmael was a son of Abraham and because he was circumcised when he was 13 years of age, this is the reason why God blessed Ishmael. You remember when Abraham cried out and said, “Oh that Ishmael might be saved?” In the KJV, Genesis 17:18 reads, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” The Hebrew word for ‘live’ is chayah, khaw-yaw and it means to make alive, promise life, save and be whole. Afterward, God brought 12 nations out of Ishmael’s seed and God blessed the seeds of Abraham. And most of the Arabs today in the Middle East are sons of Ishmael and look at the oil wealth pouring into their coffers. God has blessed them for Abraham’s sake.

Notice what it says about Ishmael when he and Hagar left the presence of Abraham. Ishmael became a son without a father. Genesis 16:12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

This brings us to the Ishmael generation. I believe that we have in America and Canada and other parts of the world today what we could call the Ishmael generation. What is this? Ishmael left the presence of his father. Ishmael grew up literally without a dad around him. Ishmael went out and he was wild like a donkey and his hand was against every man. We have an Ishmael generation. A group of teenagers who are fatherless, they don’t even know who their father is. Their father is not at home, they don’t have a male figure to look up to. As a mater of fact, 60% of the young people in schools today have had parents who have gone through divorce and there is an Ishmael generation that is as wild as donkey. That is to say they can’t be controlled by anyone. They are rebellious and independent. They have no restraint in their spirit and no one can restrain them. Their hand is against others, they are violent. The Ishmael generation are rebellious sons.

Yet Ishmael had a promise. He may have been a wild man but he had a promise. His hand was against every man, but he had a promise. The Ishmael generation has a promise. It was Abraham who cried out, Oh God, that Ishmael might be saved.” Ishmael was in rebellion but he still had a blessing. Ishmael didn’t have a daddy, but he still had a blessing. There may be some mothers like Hagar, you’re a single mother in the wilderness and your about to die. But do you know what God did for Hagar? He brought a well of water up in the midst of the desert and spared their lives. You may be a single mother and you feel like you have an Ishmael, but Ishmael means “God has heard my cry.” You may be a single mother and you may have actually birthed a child in the flesh. You may have even had an illegitimate son, but let me tell you this, thank God for the power of the covenant. Thank God that Abraham cried, “Oh, that Ishmael might be saved.” And God put a blessing upon Ishmael, just like He did Isaac because both of them were the sons of Abraham. So be encouraged if you are a single mother and fell like dad is never there, your children don’t have a father and you may not even know who the father of your child is. Trust God and believe Him and lay hold of His blessing and say, God, this may be an Ishmael generation and my child may be an Ishmael, but let Ishmael be saved, let this child that has no father come to the knowledge of the Lord and the blessing and favor of God. If you will read the book of Genesis you will see that Ishmael came into the actual, tangible blessing of the Lord through his seed. Many of his sons became dukes, the duke of Edom and the duke of Moab and that part of the Middle East became blessed and prosperous at that time.

Let’s go back to the key part of this message, that circumcision was the key to the blessing coming in. The blessing was delayed, but God said, “No, if you will circumcise then you will see the promise come to pass.”

Let me give you two examples in the Bible of the power of circumcision. The first is the revelation given to Moses. When God appeared to Moses in Exodus chapter 2 and 3 and 4, you see that Moses was a Hebrew hidden in the bulrushes and taken in by Pharaoh’s daughter who found him and he was raised in Pharaoh’s house. Being that Moses was placed in the bulrush right when he was born and being that he was raised in Pharaoh’s house, he was not circumcised. If Moses would have been circumcised, then the Egyptians would have automatically recognized him as a circumcised marked Hebrew baby and he would have been killed like all the other male children at that time. So Moses was not circumcised as a baby.

So, Moses not being circumcised was called of God in Exodus to go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go and was to do that through the mighty signs and wonders that God would perform through him. There is a strange passage in Exodus 4 and it says that Moses took his wife and sons with him. Exodus 4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.” God didn’t tell Moses to take his family down there with him but he did it anyway. The story goes a little further and then it says that God wanted to kill him. Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.” This is odd because God had called Moses to go down to Egypt then God is wanting to kill him. So you have to wonder why. What has caused this seeming change of mind by God? Why would God want to kill Moses now? Let’s back up and read the verses between 20 and 24. Exodus 4:21-23 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

You see that the verses just before verse 24 when the Lord sought to kill Moses it is dealing with the issue of the first born and that God would kill the first born of the Egyptians if they didn’t let the children of Israel go. Then you see that Moses’ wife took a sharp instrument and circumcised the eldest son because of it. Exodus 4:24-25 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.”

Why did God do this? When you read Exodus, Moses went down to Egypt to let God’s people go and Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. So God began to send judgment and plagues on the Egyptians. Now the 10th and final plague that God sent to the Egyptian nation was the death of the first born child. The death of the firstborn or oldest son. If Moses had not circumcised his oldest son and they would have gone down to Egypt do you understand that only the circumcised, only the Hebrew that had the blood of the lamb over the doorpost and the Bible teaches that the generation that came out of Egypt were all circumcised, although they did not circumcise their children that were born in the wilderness, the generation that came out of Egyptian bondage were circumcised. In fact, it circumcision was required before a Hebrew could partake of Passover, which was their means of deliverance from the plague. Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.” So every person, every Hebrew male in the house under the Passover lamb, the blood of the lamb was protected from the destroyer and from the angel of death. It is important to grasp this. The couldn’t partake of the Passover without the sign of the covenant!

So Moses leaves the territory were Jethro his father and law is and goes down to Egypt and as he is going down to Egypt God stops him and says, ‘No, I will just have to kill all of you here if you don’t obey me’ and they are all circumcised. Now Moses wife was very upset and threw the foreskin down at Moses and called him a bloody husband. She didn’t understand what it was all about. Maybe Moses didn’t fully understand the process and the covenant because when God appeared to him, he asked who He is and the reply in Exodus 3:14 was “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

Moses is on the back side of the mountain for 40 years and sees the burning bush and hears a voice saying I am God and Moses says, which God, what’s your name, who are you. Moses didn’t fully understand the God of Abraham and who He was and what His covenant was about. Remember Moses was not raised and taught by his parents, was not circumcised and had not circumcised his sons, which was a requirement of the covenant God gave unto Abraham.

If Moses had not circumcised his sons, then when the plagues came through Egypt, Moses oldest son would have died along with the uncircumcised Egyptians and that would have been a terrible reproach for the man who brought the people out of bondage to have lost his own son in the judgments and plagues of God because he was not circumcised. It would have been a reproach to God and an embarrassment to Moses for God to have killed his oldest son. So God told him before you get down to Egypt, before you meet Pharaoh face to face, before you tell him to let my people go and before you can lead my people out of bondage with no feeble person among you, before the blood of the lamb is put on the door, before you can partake of Passover, your child must be circumcised. That is the power of circumcision.

The people who came out of Egyptian bondage had been circumcised but when their children were growing up in the wilderness and you remember how the Hebrews wondered through the wilderness for 40 years before their children inherited the Promised Land. The reason they wondered for 40 years was because God was killing all the people off that came out of Egypt, the original mothers and fathers who came out of Egypt because of their unbelief. God first allowed all them to die in the wilderness before He could bring their children into the land. They had wilderness babies. These children had not been circumcised by their mother and father. So the men 20 years and older were the men of war. These were the men designated by the law of God to fight the wars and battles ahead. So, Joshua called all the young men 20 and older who were about to cross at Gilgal and go over to take Jerico, after 40 years of wondering in the wilderness. The first thing that Joshua did was they had the Passover supper but Joshua circumcised the men before the battle.

The second example is Joshua 5:1-9And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not show them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.”

After Joshua circumcised all the men 20 years of age and up guess what happened? The captain of the Lord’s host showed up, who was the angel of the Lord that followed them in the cloud in Exodus and God said concerning this angel of the Lord. My name is in Him so do not offend Him. Exodus 23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions for my name is in him.” This would have been the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus declared, “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58). The angel of the Lord there in the Old Testament was none other than Jesus Christ Himself. So, the angel of the Lord, the captain of the Lord’s host shows up and gives Joshua a complete battle plan. After Joshua circumcised the young men over 20 years of age, preparing them to take the fortified city of Jericho, the angel of the Lord said, “Now the reproach of Egypt is rolled away.

Think about it. These young men had been raised in the wilderness, born in the desert sands and tents of the Hebrews that wondered because of their unbelief toward the promises of God and there they had been uncircumcised because their families had not been concerned about them in the least. They were not keeping the commandment of God and not going in so they didn’t care. They weren’t going to inherit the land and so they didn’t care. You see; if a people know that God isn’t going to bless them, if I’m not going to experience the blessing and receive it, it must not be real and I want nothing to do with it. But when Joshua circumcised the young men the Lord said to them, “Now the reproach of Egypt is rolled away.” Now, you don’t have to look back to what was but your going to cross over into your promise. Now, you don’t have to think about how bad it used to be, you’re going to cross over into your promise. You will no longer be reminded about the cares and bondages of Egypt in your past but you’re about to cross over into the provision and promises of God. So they crossed on over. God had destroyed their enemy at the Red Sea, but the Hebrew’s were out worshipping a golden cow. But when they were circumcised, God cut out of them, Egypt. That first generation had come out of Egypt but they still had Egypt in them. But when that next generation was circumcised in their flesh, God cut Egypt out of their hearts.

What does that have to do with us today? Are you talking about natural circumcision? No. I’m not talking about natural circumcision but when I talk about why is the promise of God delayed, the key is spiritual circumcision. Why has the promise of God in your life taken so long to come to pass? You may have been saved for many years, you’ve learned how to pray, you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you pray, you intercede, you read the Bible and can quote verses, you talk about your dream and you have done all you know to do to see God do something in your life and yet you have not seen it come to pass. What I am about to say may not be for every situation of all people, but it applies to many. It is a key to receiving or speeding up the blessing of God in your life. The key is this. Just as Abraham had to have the revelation of circumcision of his foreskin in order for the promise to come to pass, so likewise there is a circumcision of the heart of the human spirit that must come to pass in your life and my life in order to fulfill the blessing and promise of God that God has for us.

In Deuteronomy 10:16 it says,“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

Here is the point. There are things in every person, that if you don’t deal with those things, then those things in the very near future could destroy you. There are things in you that if God moved in your life, if God brought you that blessing that if it wasn’t handled correctly it would not only destroy you but it would destroy your entire family.

In John 14:30 Jesus said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” Why? Jesus understood the power of words. He understood the anointing of the Holy Spirit and that if you open you mouth at the wrong time the enemy will come along and take what you do or say and twist it to use your words against you to cause trouble. It’s almost like Peter when they were at the Mount of Transfiguration.

Matthew 16:13-19Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Yet, just several verses later after Peter had this great revelation of who Christ was, what happened? V.21-23From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Just a few verses after Peter spoke such a great revelation of the father, Jesus said Satan was speaking through him. This shows you what can happen to an individual who loves the Lord but they are immature and their walk with God is not established. Peter’s name was Simon which means a reed blowing in the wind, but in verse 18 Jesus changed his name to Peter (petros) meaning a small stone. But yet, when Jesus told Peter that he was about to be tested by the devil in Luke 22:31 he referred to him as Simon. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Jesus here used Peter’s old name, a reed shaking in the wind, repeating it twice, which in scripture establishes something. It was fact that Peter was not yet Peter, but the old Simon. Peter was still Simon until some time after Calvary.

Jesus had spoke to Simon of who he was to become in Matthew 16, but he was not there yet. In fact, Simon was not fully restored until after John 21:15-18, when three times Jesus spoke to him “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? because of the three times that Simon had denied Jesus before the cross.

Here, he was still Simon, until after he answered Jesus the third time. Part of the revelation of this passage is in the word Jesus used to ask if Simon loved him and the word Simon used in replying to Jesus. Jesus said, agapao (ag-ap-ah'-o) thou me. Simon responded truthfully, I phileo (fil-eh'-o) you. I love you as a friend. Jesus was telling Simon that he had to come to the place of loving him with a divine love, with the love of God, but Simon knew that he only loved Jesus with the love of a friend, a human love. It is in this change or transformation that took place at the day of Pentecost that Simon fully became Peter, one who would willingly lay down his life for his lord and master and was no longer a reed blowing in the wind.

The point is this, it takes a circumcision of our heart to make us stable and settled in Christ that we can and will stand faithful to Him. There are things in us that are not good, there are things in us that are carnal, there are things and attitudes in us that are not right and may have been something passed down from generation to generation, a spirit, an attitude or manner that we have to ask God to take those things out of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is only then that you can love others and be used by God, when He has circumcised your heart to love others as He loves and have compassion on those who are hurting. You have to be able to work with others, to consider them, to be honest and faithful in the little things or God can not use you or trust you with bigger things. Wrong feelings or attitudes and other spiritual things are that which require us to be circumcised in heart so that we can be pure and right before God.

What are we to do? Remember Jacob had a brother by the name of Esau and every time Jacob saw Esau, he was looking at himself because Esau was his twin. But one night Jacob got tired of being a deceiver and trickster and so he wrestled with God, with the angel of the Lord and wrestled all night. You have to remember that Jacob was not just wrestling with God but he was wrestling with himself. When he got through with this wrestling match, God gave him a limp and a name change. He had to limp, to walk differently the rest of his life. He walked differently after he spent time in the presence of God saying, God change me, I don’t like who I am and what I have been and I don’t want to be that way any more. I will not let go of you until you bless me and change my nature and character. After he wrestled with himself, his flesh and with God, he was given a name change, but the name change reflected the character change within, which was the real change (Genesis 32:24- 31). That is why Jacob then began to make restitution over the faults he had with Esau. Then he was able to take hold of the promise of God. He was now in reality no longer Jacob, but Israel, a prince with God.

Many times our blessings are delayed, but just because they are delayed does not mean that they will be denied. God is still working on you and me and the plans He has for us are good plans. The thoughts He has for us are good thoughts and it is God’s perfect will for you to encounter the blessing of God in your home and family and life. But in order to extend into the greater blessing of God there must be a circumcision of the mind, the heart, the soul and the spirit by your spending time with God saying, “God change me. Cut out of my heart those things that are not right before you. Take out of me those things that are a spiritual hindrance. Take out of me those things that would destroy me down the road if your blessing came into my life. When God is completed with the circumcision, the many of the blessing of God will follow, when God sees that He can trust you with the blessing. When God sees that you won’t misuse or abuse the blessing and you heart is pure and circumcised, you have been changed and you are humble and ready to receive the blessing.

Remember, God knew Ishmael was coming. God knew the son of the flesh was coming, so He couldn’t reveal the covenant and the token of the covenant which was circumcision. But when God finally revealed it to Abraham and Abraham followed through with it that is when the blessing came.

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