Summary: The Birth of Isaac. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Genesis chapter 21 verses 1-21.
One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room:
• The clerk said they were full;
• And they would probably find so were all the hotels in town.
“But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain,
would you be willing to sleep in my room?”
• The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted.
• The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said,
“You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States.
Someday I’ll build you one.”
The clerk smiled politely.
• A few years later the clerk received a letter containing and an aeroplane ticket;
• The letter invited him to visit New York.
• When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street,
• Where stood a magnificent new building.
• “That,” explained the man,
• “Is the hotel I have built for you to manage.”
• The man was William Waldorf Astor,
• And the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria.
It may have taken him several years:
• But he kept his promise!
• God too never breaks a promise.
• What he says he will do, he will do!
• Only he does not work according to our time-scale.
• Sarah had been childlessness for many years,
• A heavy burden in the culture and time in which she lived.
• What made the heartache greater was her husbands name ‘Abraham’:
• Which meant "Father of a multitude."
• We may give somebody very small the nickname ‘lofty’.
• Or somebody very large the nickname ‘slim’
Every time Abraham heard his name mentioned;
• It was a reminder that as yet God had not kept his promise!
• He was the father of one son ‘Ishmael’.
• Hardly a multitude;
• And this was by his maidservant ‘Hagar’ and not by his wife ‘Sarah’.
• But Abraham would discover;’
• “God is never too early, he’s never too late, he is always just on time!”
(A). Abraham and Sarah: faith and promise
(1). Fulfilment (verse 1-3).
“Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.
2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.”
• And Sarah had never given birth.
• But now at long last her reproach was ended. She gave birth to a son called ‘Isaac’.
• But the birth of Isaac involved much more than parental joy,
• For his birth meant the fulfilment of God's promise.
• When God had originally called Abraham to leave his home land,
• He promised to make of him a great nation that would bless the whole world. (chapter 12).
• Then He repeatedly promised;
• That he would give the land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants (chapter 17)
• Again God appeared to Abraham;
• And reiterated his promise to multiply his descendents (chapter 13 & 15).
• And God had made it clear to Abraham that Sarah (not Hagar);
• Would be the mother of his promised child (chapter 17).
• The birth of Isaac in this chapter,
• Is a reminder us that God keeps His promises,
(2). Patience (verse 2).
“Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him”.
• Isaac's birth also meant the rewarding of patience.
• Abraham and Sarah had to wait twenty-five years for their son to be born.
Twice a year we change time.... well our watches anyway.
• We put them forward or backward by one hour.
• A reminder that the whole of our lives revolve around time.
• But God doesn't operate in the realm of the clock:
• He is not restricted to a calendar or a diary, God is in no hurry!
• In fact the promises of God:
• Are fulfilled more by our obedience, than by our calendars.
• The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks;
• Was noted for his poise and quiet manner.
• One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion.
• “What’s the trouble, Mr. Brooks?” he asked.
• “The trouble is that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!”
• Just as Olympic athletes develop their skills as they practice hard;
• Long before the big event actually takes place.
• So God's children grow in godliness and faith;
• As they wait for the fulfilment of God's promises.