As we read in Genesis 17 we learn a great deal about the patterns after which God works with His children here on earth. The impact that the covenant the Lord makes with his son Abraham during this chapter has had significant influence on the traditions of the world that we live in today. Abraham was given the law of circumcision as a token of the covenant that was made between God and Abraham's posterity.
Genesis 17:10 - This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.
Through this we are reminded again that the covenants that we make with the Lord require a sacrifice from us. The token of covenants provide a daily reminder of what we have promised and for those not spiritually ready, covenants can seem overwhelming or extreme. However, the pattern is clear and this way is seen from the most ancient of times that God tutors and rears His children by giving them promises or covenants to make, and reminders for us to keep them.
I can imagine how the less spiritually minded young men must have felt when they heard as it states in Genesis 17:11 -
Genesis 17:11 - And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
The physical pain of circumcision may have felt unbearable at the time but the promise to be multiplied exceedingly greatly triumphs the token that would be a reminder of great blessings.
The President of BYU, Kevin J. Wortham stated in regards to covenants:
"Making and keeping eternal covenants with God gives individuals the opportunity to complete their faith through action.