Summary: In this sermon, we see Abraham experiencing the highs and lows of life and we learn how to walk with God through them.
A. A group of students in Texas was taking a class on the psychology of emotions.
1. The professor wanted to know what the opposite of happy was.
a. One student raised their hand and said, “Sad.” “Very good,” said the professor.
2. Then the professor asked, “What’s the opposite of depression?”
a. Another student answered, “Elation.” “Excellent response,” said the professor.
3. Finally, the professor asked, “What’s the opposite of woe?”
a. One student, confidently hopped up and said, “The opposite of woe is giddy-up!”
B. While the opposite of woe is giddy up in some places, in most places the opposite of woe is joy.
1. Life is full of highs and lows and we can be sure we will have moments of happiness and sadness, elation and depression, and joy and woe.
2. Our task is to learn to navigate the extremes of life as we walk with God and depend on Him.
C. In today’s segment from Abraham’s life, we will see how he navigates the highs and lows of life.
1. Let’s see what lessons we can learn from Abraham that will help us face life’s highs and lows.
I. The Story
A. In the first part of Abraham’s story segment for today we see him experience one of life’s highs.
1. The Bible says: 1 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. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Genesis 21:1-7)
2. At long last, at the appointed time, Abraham and Sarah received the fulfillment of the promise.
a. Ninety-year-old Sarah gave birth to a son, and in obedience to God, they named him Isaac, which means “he laughs.”
b. Years earlier, when God told Abraham that Sarah would birth him a son, Abraham had laughed.
c. Then later, when God came again to announce that Sarah would have a son, Sarah laughed.
d. So, when God accomplished the impossible through this elderly couple, their disbelieving snickering became joyful laughter – laughter of praise and thanksgiving.
e. And anyone who saw this elderly couple with a newborn baby would certainly join them in their laughter.
f. Imagine seeing elderly Abraham and Sarah at the mall pushing their own walkers, while also pushing a stroller.
g. Imagine the astonishment when inquirers praised them for their handsome grandson or great-grandson, only to be informed that this is our son!
3. In obedience to God’s command, Abraham circumcised his son on his eighth day of life.
a. God had established His covenant with Abraham by formalizing it with a covenant-cutting ceremony, and commanded circumcision as a sign of the boy’s participation in God’s plan.
b. The practice of circumcision wasn’t new with Abraham.
c. Egyptian temple paintings show that circumcision had been part of human culture since 4000 B.C.
d. Usually, however, boys were circumcised when they reached puberty as part of fertility rites, but God drastically changed that starting point by commanding Abraham to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day of their lives.
e. Here is an amazing fact that points to God’s supremacy and the inspiration of the Bible:
1. Medical science tells us that chemicals necessary for clotting are not present in a baby boy until days 5 through 7, and on the 8th day, the amount of clotting chemicals present actually is elevated above one-hundred percent of normal.
2. And is the only day in the male’s life in which this will be the case under normal conditions and if surgery is to be performed, day eight is the perfect day to do it.
B. Why had God waited so long to fulfill this promise to Abraham and Sarah?
1. We might speculate and say that perhaps Abraham and Sarah would not have appreciated the birth of Isaac as much as they did after having waited for him for so long.
a. And that could very well be true – how often have we not appreciated something that came to us too quickly and easily?
2. But more than that, I believe God waited so long to fulfill His promise to them because God was waiting until the ticking biological clock of Sarah’s womb to completely run down.