Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. – Genesis 17:19
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Abraham has just received a word from God that is more than he can comprehend. In their old ages of 90 and 100, Abraham and Sarah are going to have a son. There is going to be a birth! All Abraham can say, is something like: “what about Ishmael…can’t he be blessed?” Ishmael is the son born out of impatience; trying to take care of what Abraham and Sarah had expected God to do. When Sarah did not conceive a child within the timing she and Abraham expected it should happen, they sought other means.
It is not necessary for us to manufacture or create ahead of God. The LORD’s timing and way is not like ours. It is not limited to what makes sense. God does not work under the parameters of age or status or education or even economics, as we understand these things on earth. God has greater purposes than we can see and invites us into that holy unfolding.
What I love about this moment in Abraham’s life is that he wants the best for his family, and he asks for it, as perhaps any faithful father and husband would do. The LORD does not ignore his desire or plea. God meets him exactly there (yes, Ishmael will also receive a blessing), and God still invites Abraham into what is being fulfilled. A promise…an everlasting covenant. It is more than Abraham can comprehend but it is exactly what God is bringing to fruition. Abraham’s lack of confidence that this could actually happen is not a hindrance for the Creator of the universe.
When Paul writes to the early church in Ephesus he offers a benediction that also speaks of this way of God. The prayer ends like this: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
It may seem that something God promises is impossible. And with human parameters, it may indeed be. But God is not limited by the things of this earth!
Lord, help us to follow you instead of trying to guide or manufacture your promises into being. Our intention is humble obedience and we are grateful for your constant presence as we walk through this life. We trust you and we love you. We yield ourselves into your hands with joy; for you are faithful and your mercies endure forever. Amen.