When you read Genesis chapter 12 to 21, we see how God is able to turn an otherwise dead situation into a spring of life. Of most significant importance is the fact that we have set the foundation clear that the Lord works in the lives of the Barren to give them fruit for his own glory and not our glory. As we scheme through these chapters, the question we need to ask ourselves is this; where do I turn to in times of uncertainties and seemingly failed promises? When life is too hard, what do I do? Do I turn to weak and unreliable sources like my abilities, wisdom, strength, possessions, or other people? Jeremiah points out, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7. Oh, how happy we are when we trust in the Lord and make the LORD our hope! And the reason? When we are faithful to place our trust in the Lord, He is faithful to bless us. For the Scriptures still remind us; Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”We will look at three things to help us internalize this significant need of all humanity- to have faith in the God who is able to go beyond our ideas and abilities.
The Promise of Faith
God promised to do a work in the lives of the barren to express an absolute truth here; that God is exclusive, in a league of his own, and he does whatever he pleases. Nothing is too complicated for him to do. In fact, when he promised, the thought of it was not palatable nor comprehensible in the minds of men. How can that even be possible? Can I believe it? In the life of Sarah, several things are noteworthy.
Genesis 12:1-3 ESV– “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (2) And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you, I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 15:1-3 ESV– “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (2) But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (3) And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
God promised Abraham that he would make him great. Abraham never questioned it. Instead, he believed in God. He was told to leave his homeland to a place unknown, and he did it. He showed faith in one greater than him and believed that he would see the promise of faith. Of all the particulars that made this promise, the one that was beyond their comprehension was the promise of becoming a great nation. How could the Lord that? It is impossible! But not with God. You see, the promise of faith is received by faith alone. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen! God’s promise was that Abraham would be a great father to many. It didn’t make sense at all. In fact, Abraham says;
Genesis 17:17-18 ESV – Then Abraham fell on his face and laughedand 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!” Why did he laugh instead and vouch for Ishmael?Because the promise of faith seems foolish to the eyes of the natural man! They cannot see it unless by a miracle from the promise maker!
What is the promise of faith for us today? It is salvation by the man Jesus Christ. God has promised that all who believe in the Gospel and cry out to him for salvation will be saved. But this promise is foolish to many of us. A God who left heaven to become a man? What kind of God does that? That is lame. Now he wants me to deny myself all of this life’s pleasures and joys and follow him. That is foolish. But that is the promise, and Christ is the man through whom we find our place in this promise. It says:
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”(1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”(1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV).
“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be the heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope, he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”(Romans 4:13-25 ESV)
This promise is what makes the Gospel hope worthy our pursuit- it is a promise of receiving what we would otherwise never have received; becoming what we never had the capacity to become; from the dead to alive! Are you in this promise? Have you seen the wisdom of the foolishness of the promise of eternal life from God? Come to him that he may pardon you and perform the greatest miracle ever. Faith is also agift of grace. For those who are in it already, may you find this as the pearl of high price and never exchange it for anything in this life!