Summary: Part III of a six week series demonstrating how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

A Promise is a Promise

+In the movie, “It could happen to you” Nicholas Cage plays the part of a New York Cop who walks into a little café orders a cup of coffee. When he’s ready to leave, he reaches back and realizes he’s misplaced his wallet. The struggling young waitress played by Bridget Fonda figures she’s just been duped. The Cop pulls a lottery ticket from his pocket and promises that if he wins he’ll split the money with her, 50 / 50.

Well as luck would have it he wins. And even though he isn’t under any legal obligation, and against the advice of his friends and at an extreme financial cost, he keeps his promise to the waitress in the corner café. As he repeats the phrase over and over throughout the movie, “a promise is a promise.”

The value he placed on his word outweighed the value he placed on the lottery ticket.

In today’s society very little value is placed on one’s word, one’s promise. Years ago a handshake was all that was needed to finish a deal, to seal a contract between two people. Today even though someone signs an insurance waiver promising by the signing of his name that he will in no way hold you or your business liable for something… as soon as the person changes his mind you may find yourself or your company in the midst of a lawsuit.

Though today we place little credence in what a person promises, God is not a promise breaker! +God is a Promise-Keeper! When we come to God with a small piece of our faith… with holes shot through it… with tears staining it’s fabric… God understands and still remains faithful to His promises He has made to us… His children.

A Great example of God’s faithfulness is found in the life of Sarah.

(Gen 11:27-30 NIV) This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. {28} While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. {29} Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. {30} Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

+Sarah was Barren

The name Sarai or Sarah means +one of importance, honor; A Princess.

Sarah is introduced to us in the very beginning as the barren princess. I have a feeling that all through Sarah’s life that introduction followed her: “The Barren Princess”

It can be absolutely devastating for a young woman when the Dr. tells her she’ll never have children. And the guilt and self-condemnation that one feels can be difficult to overcome.

Example of our missionary friends:

+Some friends of ours, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, worked as foreign missionaries in Thailand for over 20 years. +As they ministered to the people there they were exposed to high levels of DDT in the drinking water, well, after prolonged contact Mrs. Smith had to have a radical hysterectomy where she lost the ability to bear children. Each day Mrs. Smith was approached by women in the villages asking if she was pregnant yet, and why not? Didn’t her God love her? They would ask. Each day, day in and day out Mrs. Smith was taunted by the local women, because she was barren. +Maybe it was like that for Sarah. They had well over 1,000 warriors with them, so we could venture to say that there were probably at least that many more women. Sarah was the most honored of all the women among the people. She was Abraham’s wife. Her name even meant Princess… one of honor… where was Sarah’s honor? As I have scoured the text and poked between the lines of commentaries… I think that Sarah’s biggest battle was inside of her. Where no one else could see… where no one else could go. Except God.

Let’s pick up Sarah’s story now 25 years later as God is bringing her to the point of emotional healing. Sarah is now about 90.

Intro to God’s conversation with Sarah (theophany)

+ (Gen 18:1-15 NIV) The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. {2} Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. +{3} He said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. {4} Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. {5} Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way--now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say." +{6} So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread." {7} Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. {8} He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

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