March 7, 2023

Hello Advent Family,

Have you ever heard something so good, unbelievable, or amazing that it actually made you laugh?  I know I have a couple of times.  What about when that comes from God?  That is Abraham’s response when God tells him that he and Sarah will have Isaac.  Abraham laughs and suggests that God use Ishmael instead.  Let’s look at the passage together found in Genesis 17. 

And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” 22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Abraham should have known at this point that God could be trusted even with outlandish promises.  The kind of promises that make you laugh.  He suggests to God another plan and God simply says no and lays the plan out for Abraham.  Abraham believes God after this interaction and as a result circumcises all the males in his household as a sign of the covenant.  That shows that he is committed to this crazy plan of God’s and that he believes God.  The question for us is do we believe some of God’s more difficult promises that He has made to us?  Promises to use us to do great things.  Promises to always be with us even when He feels far away.  Promises to answer our prayers.  May we all take a little lesson from Abraham and believe the unbelievable from God today. 

In His Grip,
Pastor Dave