As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.’
God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
God attempted to establish Eden with Adam and Noah, but both failed to overcome the curse of sin. The world looked less and less like the garden of paradise and was once again a violent place filled with violent people. They were governed by the flesh because they replaced God.
So once again God tried to find a righteous man. This time he sent Abraham out into the wilderness to create a new nation, a nation of chosen people who would be righteous enough to redeem the world.
God’s covenant with Abraham was a mark upon the body: a reminder of the promise that Abraham made to God and that God made to Abraham. Circumcision is a painful and visible reminder to our bodies that we serve God, not the flesh. It is a mark that communicates that our bodies belong to YHWH. The children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Jews, were God’s people and his instruments to work his will. They were supposed to model the righteous way to live in unity with God, but none of these men, or the nation of Israel, could overcome the flesh, so God gave them over into slavery.