Thursday, March 14, 2019
In case anyone is wondering, today I am 2/3 as old as Abraham was when Sarah became pregnant…and NO!, that is not the faith lesson for me today. But I also don’t ever want to respond to the Lord’s voice the way Sarah did.
When the Lord had visited Abraham prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah He told him that he would have a son within a year. Sarah had overheard that conversation from the tent, and she had laughed in disbelief that something so absurd could really happen. Not only did she laugh, but when confronted with her disbelief she lied about it because she was afraid. Imagine what kind of faithless fear is necessary to lie to the face of the Lord. Instead of being humble and asking for the faith necessary to believe what she had been told, she lied because she was afraid of what would happen to her for her unbelief. Had she not considered that if there was punishment for unbelief there would also be punishment for lying? But in defense of Sarah, we probably would have responded the same way because the fear of self-loss blinds us to the consequences of future actions and we only see the need for self-protection.
Here we are several chapters later, and the time has come for Isaac to be born.
Genesis 21:1-5 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
The story of Isaac’s birth begins with a most incredible statement about the character of God – Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. The original Hebrew says, The Lord visited Sarah…
I see in this statement the incredible nature of God’s grace. Sarah’s response to the news of a son was sinful. The Bible mentions nothing about a confession and apology from her. The LORD visited her and was gracious to her. He fulfilled His promise without her understanding or cooperation.
I wonder how many promises of God are being fulfilled in our lives simply because of the grace of God, without any cooperation on our part. In fact, I would go a giant step beyond that and suggest that all the promises of God are fulfilled because of His grace, and that nothing we receive from Him is earned or deserved. According to human standards of relationship, Sarah had certainly lost the right to have a promise fulfilled. But not according to God’s standards. God deals with us by grace, not by grudges: by mercy, not merit.
I want to burst out in praise as I consider all the times I have walked by sight for selfish reasons, and yet God continues to fulfill His promises. Every day I wake up is a gracious visit from God with life. Every event of every day is a gracious visit from God with direction, guidance, and wisdom. Every improvement in my life is a gracious visit from God who is finishing the work He started in me. Every blessing in my life is a gracious visit from God who has promised every spiritual blessing from on high. Every test and trial is a gracious visit from God to make my faith stronger. None of these things is earned: all these things are God’s gracious visits to me.
May we begin to see every day as a celebration of God’s grace for each one of us. He is visiting us, and He is fulfilling His promise. That is reason to rejoice!