Today’s Reading: Genesis 15-18:15
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith – for he was a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. – Hebrews 11:8-10
Abram’s life is a great example to us of what it means to daily obey and submit to God’s plan, following Him wherever He leads. This requires a great amount of faith, which is exactly what Abram had. But Abram also had to deal with some fear, especially when it came to Sarai. He had to learn how to trust God to protect him and to fulfill His promises. He had to overcome his fear in order to grow in his faith.
Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” – Genesis 15:1-3
God has promised Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth (13:16), but Abram is confused by the fact that he is still without a son of his own. He calls God “Sovereign Lord” showing that he recognizes God is in charge. God reminds him – My will, my way, in my time. God confirms his promise again to Abram, telling him his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky (15:5).
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. – Gen. 15:6
God reminded Abram that the promise for his descendants included the promise for a territory or inheritance. Abram’s response – “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” Abram again recognizes that God is in charge and God again confirms his promise (15:8,18-19).
The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born out of God’s own fulfillment of his promise (Galatians 4:22-23).
Sarai tried to force God’s will her own way in her own time by having Abram lay with her servant girl, Hagar. Then in jealousy, Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that Hagar ran away. God SAW Hagar’s pain (16:13) and met with her, but sent her back to Sarai. It wasn’t time for her to leave. Later, after the birth of Sarah’s son Isaac, Hagar was sent away. This second time, God HEARD Hagar’s pain and met with her, providing for her needs and blessing her son. Again God makes it clear – My will, my way, my time.
There have been too many times in my life when I have made a human attempt to force God’s hand. What a great reminder for me this morning that God has a plan, God has a way and God has His own timing. I can rest and relax in His Sovereignty!
“I am El-Shaddai – ‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” – Genesis 17:1-2
God again confirmed His promise to Abram. He changed his name to Abraham, which means ‘father of many’ and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, stating He would bless her richly and make her the mother of many nations. At ages 100 and 90, what God was promising seemed humanly impossible. But God is Sovereign and for Him nothing is impossible.
Abram loved Ishmael and asked God to fulfill His promise through his son.
God’s will: “No – Sarah, your wife will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant…” (17:19).
God’s way: “But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah…” (17:21)
God’s time: “…about this time next year” (17:21)
Three men appeared to Abraham one day to once again confirm God’s promise (probably the Lord and two angels): “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” (18:10). Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent and laughed silently to herself saying, “HOW could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master – my husband – is also so old?” (18:12)
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (18:13-14).
Sarah struggled in her faith but she did not stay in that struggle. She would probably always look back with regret at her initial response to God’s promise and to the mess she made when she tried to force God’s promise through her servant, Hagar. But she didn’t stay in the struggle to believe or the shame of her mess. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews says about this woman loved by God.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead – a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. – Hebrews 11:11-12
What a great reminder to start off my day! With a hot cup of morning coffee on this very cold morning and a word from the Lord, I’m eager to face what is ahead. All of the “How?” questions rattling around in my brain have the same answer – God’s will, God’s way, and in God’s time.
El-Shaddai, I place my day in your hands.
God Almighty, I place my life in your hands.
Sovereign Lord, I let go and let you decide what happens from here.
I long to experience your will, your way, in your time. Amen.