Summary: One overriding lesson of the Life of Abraham, especially as it relates to Isaac is that God is in control.
One overriding lesson of the Life of Abraham, especially as it relates to Isaac is that God is in control.
That’s the message as we leave chapter 20 and move into chapter 21. In chapter 12, God promises Abraham a son. That promise is repeated throughout Abraham’s 25 year journey till this point in chapter 21. In Chapter 16 Sarah tries to rush God’s program and Ishmael is born to Hagar. In chapter 18 God promises both Abraham and Sarah that by the following year, Sarah would have a son. Chapter 19 highlights with the dire consequences of ignoring God all the way from Sodom’s destruction to the incestual pregnancy of Lot’s daughters. In Chapter 20 God proves he’s in control first by preventing pregnancy in ABIMELECH’S household and the allowing it again after Abraham’s prayers. Now in Chapter 21 we begin once again with the bold reminder that God is in control of his promises.
Chapter 21 begins with the birth of Isaac and these first 8 verses are really about Isaac, not Abraham or Sarah. In the same way the Bible is really about Jesus Christ - not about us or anybody else.
It is the presence of Jesus in our lives, that Paul calls "the Hope of Glory" in Colossians 1:27. Our current lives are intended to be lived in the constant reminder of our future glory. As you move through your days, let the blessings and trials of life focus your heart towards your eternal home; such that the pain you feel is a reminder that one day there will be no pain in glory, and the joy’s you experience are only the slimmest taste of the inexpressible joy we will have in the glory of God’s presence.
Abraham’s lifelong hope was the birth of a son by his wife. Up till this point - the struggles of Abraham’s faith and the trials he had faced had all centered on the promise from God of a son.
Just as the Birth of Isaac was the single hope that Abraham had long awaited, so also will come the day when our long awaited return of Christ will come to it’s full revelation. Jesus will come in splendor and he will take with him all those who believe in Him and accept his salvation! We live our lives in eager expectancy of the final arrival of the object of our hope.
In tonight’s passage, Abraham’s hope finally comes to fruition. And just as it should be there is great rejoicing in connection with that realization. Turn with me to Genesis 21:1-8.
Just as we talked about this morning, the entire event of this birth was nothing but pure miracle. Back in Genesis 17:7 we discover that Abraham is 100 and Sarah is 90. That means that all of you in here, Velma Smock being the only exception are still candidates for a baby!
This section of Genesis is really the story of the preparation Of Isaac. It covers the early years of his life and establishes him as the son of the covenant. It also sets in motion a series of Tests in Abraham’s life. Yet before we get there, we have this the beginning of Isaac’s life.
And his early life is marked by three key events. His Birth, His Circumcision, and His Weaning. Let’s look at each of these and see the lessons for us today.
Isaac’s BIRTH: (Vv1-3,5-7) Isaac’s birth is that penultimate moment where Abraham gets to see face to face the son he had been looking forward to for years. It is the unveiling of that which was veiled. In Isaac’s birth Abraham has God’s promises made certain. It had started 25 years earlier when God told Abraham "I will make of you a great nation." But to make a great nation you have to at least have one son to carry on the family name.
So Abraham took his promise and waited for the birth of his son. The birth of Isaac is a lesson for us as we ourselves wait for the coming of Jesus with hope. Almost 2000 years ago, Jesus stood on the mount of Olives and bade his disciples good-bye - promising to come back for them. Then he ascended into the heavens until the clouds covered him.
The disciples stood there transfixed, staring at the clouds; not speaking, just staring. I suppose they were waiting for his return. Suddenly two angels stood beside them and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Every since that Day, we have been waiting for Jesus’ return.
Sometimes the return of Jesus seems far off, and we feel - though we know it isn’t true - that Jesus is never going to come back. Other days, we can almost hear the trumpet sound and our heart skips a beat as we look to the east expecting to see him coming! But for now, until our beloved Jesus comes for us all we have is all that Abraham had; a promise.