Thursday, May 23, 2013
Genesis 21:1-7 ESV
as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.
And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age
at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old,
as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said,
"God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
How many times have you heard this story? I know I've heard it many times. And it seems to me every time I've ever heard it before I've left thinking of Abraham and even more so of Sarah. And to be sure both of them are key characters. We should empathise with them. It is an exciting miracle. A very old couple have become first time parents. Sarah is ninety! Ninety year old women don't have babies!
But this is not first and foremost a story about Abraham, Sarah, or Isaac.
This is a story about God!
If you take a moment to thumb through your Bible around these chapters in Genesis. Look for the number of times the narration punctuates the action with God or the Lord. God said. The Lord said. The Lord went. God came. God caused.
And crucially in these seven verses above, God has made.
Listen to how Paul puts God the focus of Abraham's sorry in Romans,
Romans 4:19-22 ESV
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
Romans 9:8-11 ESV
This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son." And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—
Later the author of the book of Hebrews sheds this light on these events,
Hebrews 11:11-19 ESV
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
In every case the story is about God. Is your life story about God? Are you putting your faith in the promise of God to you?
When you review your past or contemplate your future is it seen though the lens of God's plan and God's promise?
Don't try to be the star of this epic saga. Trust God who, keeps giving. Expect God to enable you to fulfil his promise to you.
Do you even know God's promise to you? Here's a clue it is a promise about Jesus. Jesus is the son of promise, born out of time. Born into impossible circumstances. Born to declare God's intention to save. Born to show God to you. Jesus is ultimately the one who in every way fulfils the many promises of God.
Do you know him?
Do you trust him?
Are you expecting him to work out the promise of God to you?
Are you making sure the story of your life is a story about God fulfilling his promise through Jesus?
- Spoken Word