After considering the impatient actions of Sarai and Abram, I wanted to highlight the next thing that God emphasized to me…the renewal of the promise.
Yesterday, I feel like I glimpsed a deeper look into our hearts, as humans. We are flawed. We always will be, this side of heaven. But what about God’s perspective?
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai- ‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is My covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!” Genesis 17:1-6
Obviously, this is a wonderful promise…but to me, it’s made 100 times more glorious because it’s a re-affirmed promise. Remember this in Genesis 12:1-3?
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Between these two groups of verses, is the story of Sarai and Hagar. The birth of Ishmael happened, and it may have seemed that all was lost. Can you imagine what Sarai and Abram must have thought after their bungled plan backfired in their faces? Look at it in the lens of reality. Meaning, these events literally happened, it’s not just a cinematic story. This is an account of their real lives. From that perspective ask yourself, “Would I still believe God would fulfill His promise to me after such a huge mistake?” If you’re honest, the answer is more than likely, no.
Yet, here we see later in Abram’s life, when his wife is beyond childbearing age and he is beyond his fruitful years…God restores the promise and this time puts a time stamp on it a little later…”one year time.”
I hope you will read all the scriptures that I haven’t typed out here, because they include Abram attempting to give the blessing to Ishmael because he and Sarai are so old, but God replied, “No- Sarai, your wife, will give birth to a son for you.” (Gen 17:19)
It’s a spectacular look at the redemption of God. He held onto His promise, when they had let go. Wow. Let this side of the story sink in. I wonder, is there a promise over your life that you feel you’ve screwed up far too much to receive? This moment has a powerful capacity to bring healing and the redemptive power of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to press in. Take a moment. Reflect on your promises. Is there one that stands out as particularly painful? If so, then I ask, “Will you pick it up? Take a look at it…and ask God what He has to say about it today.” Please pray with me now.
God, I want to thank You for Your promises to me. I am so thankful that You are far larger than any mistake I could make. God, help me to never hold the promises as more sacred than You. But at the same time, help me to not discount any promise You’ve given me, as too far gone. I believe every single word You’ve spoken over me. Help me to live like I do. Breathe, Oh breath of God, over my entire life story. Let every promise You seek to fulfill in my life, be completely fulfilled. When I lay down for my final rest, let my life be known as one well lived within Your promise. I repent of any missteps I’ve made while walking out my life with You. You know my faults even better than I do. Please forgive me and set my feet in motion to walk more soundly with You. I give myself to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.