Devotional: August 18, 2020
God visited Sarah exactly as he said he would; God did to Sarah what he promised: Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set. Abraham named him Isaac. When his son was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded.
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born.
God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me!
Genesis 21: 1-6
The story of Abraham and Sarah is a complicated, but well-known tale. God commanded Abram (that was his name at the time), to go from where they were living into a new land: one which they had never been before.
God also promised to make Abraham the father of a nation. He was told by the Lord that he would have descendants who would be “as numerous as the stars in the heavens!” Yet when Abraham and Sarah didn’t have a son, they began to be concerned. Had God forgotten about His promise?
Of course not! In the fullness of time, (at exactly the right time!), a son would be born to Abraham and Sarah. However, Sarah was now 90 and Abraham was 100. In those days, people lived to be quite older than we do, and in fact Abraham died at the age of 175 and Sarah died at the age of 127. Yet when 90 year old Sarah first learned that she would bear a son, she laughed! The whole idea was humorous to her, because of her age. She thought God was joking with her! As God heard her laugh, he stated the name of her son would be “Isaac”, which sounds like the Hebrew word for laughter.
Both my wife, and my daughter-in-law were born when their mothers were 42 and 41. By some measures, that is a little bit late to have a child. Yet, their births were in God’s timing. Jeana and Kristin were huge blessings to their parents, and to me as well.
Although Isaac’s birth appeared to be late, it was “at the very time God had set.” In other words, God had the timeline of Isaac’s birth figured out well before everyone else did.
However, Sarah was impatient, and wanted to hurry along God’s promise, so before she had become pregnant with Isaac, she took things into her own hands. She arranged for her maidservant Hagar to have a child with Abraham (that was somewhat customary in those days), and Hagar bore a son named Ishmael.
In many ways, Sarah’s suggestion of Abraham fathering a child with Hagar was her attempting to “jumpstart” God’s promise. However, things got complicated after Ishmael was born. Hagar and Sarah’s relationship deteriorated. Sarah was full of jealousy, and she made Hagar and Ishmael’s life miserable. The scriptures tell us that God took care of Hagar and Ishmael, for they were not at fault for Sarah’s attempt to control God’s plan.
That is what happens when you try to rush God, or hijack His perfect timing. It usually doesn’t work out very well.
Thankfully, our God is a god of second chances. Sarah and Abraham were granted another chance, and she and Abraham became parents to Isaac. This proved to be exactly the right blessing, at exactly the right time.
Perhaps the greatest lesson from the birth of Isaac is that we should never give up on God, for He never gives up on us. Go does hear our prayers, and His answers come in different forms. God may say ‘Yes”, “No” or “Wait”. Often in our world of instant responses, these may seem like very slow responses. Yet that is only our perspective. In the long run, everything happens for a reason, and in the Lord’s timing.
So, the next time you’re tempted to get impatient with God, just remember this story. God may appear “late” in delivering on His promises from our perspective. Yet from an eternal perspective, everything happens at exactly the right time, and in the right way. With God, things are never too soon, and never too late. We are on God’s schedule, He is not on ours. And that is no laughing matter!
God of perfect timing,
You know our every desire, and the difference between our wants and needs. Thank You for Your wisdom in our lives, even when we don’t see it that way. Give us patience, and allow us to wait upon You. Help us to slow down, in order to really listen to Your voice.
We pray this prayer in Your most perfect name, Amen.