Summary: Journey of Faith, part 9 “Gods Promises and God’s Story”
Journey of Faith, part 9
“Gods Promises and God’s Story”
In Abraham, we have seen a man who at times shows great faith and at other times demonstrates great unbelief and sin. God’s promises are not delayed or even defeated by sin. Like many of us, he is far from perfect but growing in his relationship with God. In chapter twenty one, we see the fulfillment of the long awaited promise. We see that God’s word is trustworthy, it is reliable.
Main idea – God fulfills his promises to his people in order to fulfill his plan in our lives.
1. God is Trustworthy (vs. 1- 7)
Gods word can be trusted
God told Abraham and Sarah that he would come back at this time next year, at the appointed time (18:10, 14) and have a son. Here we see the Lord visits Sarah as he said he would and she gives birth to a son (as he said, Lord did, as he had promised, at the time as God had spoken). God said it would happen because God made it happen. What matters is that God’s word can be trusted because nothing is too hard for God. All the promises in this book are as good as cashing a check from the bank of heaven. God says it will happen because God makes it happen. If God makes you a personal promise, God will fill it.
Gods power can be trusted
Do you trust that God can do what he says he will? Abraham and Sarah were physically incapable of bearing children but that did not matter to God. Moses makes this point three times in this passage (in his old age, 100 years old, his old age v. 2, 5, 7). God created the human body and subjected it to the forces of nature. The laws of nature are only consistent laws because he is actively directing and sustaining them until he wants something different and then he goes against the laws of nature to accomplish his purpose. God controls the natural order and God can defy the natural order because he controls it. God’s sovereign power is not limited by anything in the natural or spiritual world. God says something will happen because God makes it happen. Where in your life do you need to trust God’s power? Do you seek God’s power in your life or do you regress to controlling some outcome because you are impatient or do not trust that He can or that He will do it?
Gods timing can be trusted
Gods timing is always perfect. Abraham and Sarah had waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of Gods promise and it happened in Gods perfect timing. God comes through with his promise in his perfect time to display his power and convince us it was his provision not something else (i.e. Pharaoh letting Gods people go; red sea; Gideon). The last time we saw Sarah laugh it was because of unbelief; now it is because God fulfilled his promise and everyone else who hears will also have great joy with her. Why? Because she has a testimony of God’s promise and Gods power in her life. Every time a testimony is shared, we relive the event and it recreates and builds faith in God’s people. The past acts of God are meant to build our faith in the present. Sarah’s testimony is our testimony because what God does in the life of one he has done for all people.
2. Sometimes the right decisions are the hardest decisions (8-21)
The family celebrates the weaning of Isaac when he is three or four years of age. During the celebration, Sarah notices Ishmael laughing at Isaac. It is a play on the name Isaac and Sarah’s laughing but here is a negative way. Paul confirms this in Gal 4:29, ‘But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit. Abraham had thought that Ishmael would be the heir and had communicated that to him for thirteen years. So Ishmael was expecting to inherit everything until Sara got pregnant. He became envious, jealous, and maybe even angry and Sarah saw this as a threat to Isaac. When Cain’s offering was rejected and Abel’s accepted, anger and jealousy rose in his heart so he killed his brother (Gen 4:3-6). She sees what he cannot or does not want to see and her motherly instincts responded quickly. Listen to what she says, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son (21:10-11). In Abraham’s mind the very thought of doing such a thing was evil. Ishmael was his son, he loved him, he even wanted God to consider him as the heir (17:18). She notices something Abraham does not or does not want to see because he loves Ishmael. God places people in our lives, even our wives, who will see what we will not or cannot see for any number of reasons: emotions, weaknesses, baggage, etc.