Summary: Isaac is born and we learn lessons about how God works in our lives.
“Happy is the person who can laugh at himself. He will never be short on entertainment,” someone said.
This chapter links back to Genesis 17, 25 years before.
Gen 21:1-2 The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.
What did it mean that the Lord visited Sarah? Hebrews 11:11 – “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” God visited Sarah with power to have a child way past the age of child birth.
I ask you, how is God visiting you? What is He empowering you to do that you could not do otherwise.
1. When you trust in God, He will empower you to do what will delight you.
He delighted Sarah, and He delighted Abraham with His visits.
2. There is a connection between waiting, faith and joy.
I love what Charles Stanley said about this: We call Abraham not only a man of faith (Gal. 3:9), but a man of endurance. The starting gun sounded when God promised Abraham a son in his old age, and Abraham "believed in the LORD" (Gen. 15:5-6). But a year came and went, and no child arrived.
Abraham kept running. Two years flashed, and still no child. Still Abraham kept running. Despite a stumble at mid-race (see Gen. 16), Abraham kept running. For 25 years he kept running, until at last, at age 100, he and his wife, age 99, had a son (Gen. 21:1-3).
Why the long wait? Apparently, God wanted Abraham (and us!) to learn the connection between waiting, trust, and hope. (Ps. 33:20-21). “Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.”
Did you hear the connection between waiting and faith? It is that our faith is tested and strengthened by waiting. Abraham heard the promise of God, believed, and waited. Did you hear the connection between waiting and joy? The longer God waited answering the promise, the more he didn’t look unfaithful. The longer He waited, the greater joy in Abraham and Sarah. That may be one of the purposes of Him waiting. Not only to test our faith as we keep praying and keep believing, but it also adds more joy.
Ill. When I was a teen-ager, my mom finally gave in to my dad. After mom and dad bought our Christmas, dad talked mom into allowing us to open the gifts days, sometimes weeks early. He couldn’t wait until we opened our gifts. The problem is that it took a lot of the joy out of Christmas. There was no waiting, anticipation, sleepless nights, joy on Christmas morning.
God loves you and loves more than anything to bring you great joy. You may be impatient for God to answer your prayers, for something to happen, but God’s timing is perfect. It is perfect in giving us the best gifts at the very best moments.
Another illustration of God’s perfect timing. Ill. I have always loved to tell stories. After my junior year in high school, my family moved me away from some of the most amazing friends.
One of my close friends, Roger Graves, went off to college and I did not see him again for a couple of years. Between that time, I had a terrible senior year (my bad attitude), and my freshman year at college was almost a complete disaster. Near the end of my first year in college, the guys in our dorm held a meeting to confront me about my attitude. Actually, several of them wanted to run me out of the college on the rail, maybe tarred and feathered.
To make a long story short, that meeting was blessed by God and he revealed to me the bitterness I had in God about moving away from my friends. He showed me how I was hurting people by my attitude. I repented that night, as did almost the whole dorm (some 50 guys). We had a revival service that night and became lifetime brothers. It saved my life, my ministry, and shaped my future.
When I met Roger Graves, we went to eat pizza. I told him, with my normal flourish, about my anger with God, how it ruined my senior year and nearly all of my first year in college. I detailed to him how the conversation went that night in the dorm. I was excited all over again as I related to him how God intervened and the revival we had.