GENESIS 17:15-19: “God said to Abraham, “Don’t call your wife by the name Sarai anymore. Instead, her name is Sarah [Princess]. I will bless her, and I will also give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will become ⌊a mother of⌋ nations, and kings will come from her.” Immediately, Abraham bowed with his face touching the ground. He laughed as he thought to himself, “Can a son be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, have a child?” Then Abraham said to God, “Why not let Ishmael be my heir?” God replied, “No! Your wife Sarah will give you a son, and you will name him Isaac [He Laughs]. I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Have you ever laughed at God? Have you ever doubted His Word? We may be hesitant to answer these questions, but if we are honest – we all have. And we are not alone, both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the promises of God when they heard them. It was not so much a laugh of disrespect as it was of astonishment and normal human doubt. Yet, Abraham is called the father of faith, and he is given as our example to walk in faith.
- “When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed. As a result, he became a father of many nations, as he had been told: “That is how many descendants you will have.” Abraham didn’t weaken. Through faith he regarded the facts: His body was already as good as dead now that he was about a hundred years old, and Sarah was unable to have children. He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God ⌊for the promise⌋, he became strong because of faith and was absolutely confident that God would do what he promised. That is why Abraham’s faith was regarded as the basis of his approval by God.” (Romans 4:18-22 GW)
If experiencing doubt in life disqualifies us from faith – then we are all disqualified, including Abraham. Yet, it is not the laughter and the doubt that is recorded as Abraham’s legacy, but his faith and trust in the Lord.
It is human to doubt, it is divine to press through our doubt into faith.
Whenever we are encountered by the disparity between the promises of God and our own human ability, the natural response is doubt. How can something so wonderful, so impossible, happen in my life? Naturally we see all the human reasons that these promises cannot be fulfilled. In fact, whenever God calls us, He calls us beyond ourselves so that we cannot answer this call with our own human ability. God calls us in such a way that it requires faith. We can only enter into faith when we are honest about our own insufficiency and by faith place our full trust in His sufficiency. This is what Abraham did.
- “He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God ⌊for the promise⌋, he became strong because of faith and was absolutely confident that God would do what he promised.”
As we look past our human inability, and as we begin to look at God’s Promise and His ability, we are lifted by faith. Faith is God’s gift to our lives that enables us to see that which is humanly impossible become possible. It can lead a lost soul from bondage to sin into the glorious liberty of salvation. It can enable a 100 year old man and a 99 year old woman conceive and have a child. And it can intervene in our lives to embrace the promises of God and enter into His blessings and fullness.
Yet, it is not automatic! Abraham received the promise of an heir originally when he was 75 years old. He is 99 years old, 24 years later, when God reaffirms this promise to him. And he is 100 years old when Isaac is born. Yet in all of this, Abraham embraced God’s gift of faith and pressed through his doubt. It was by faith and patience that he inherited the promise. And in God’s affirmation of Abraham’s faith, He promised Abraham, through the name of his son, that Abraham would have the last laugh!
- “God replied, “No! Your wife Sarah will give you a son, and you will name him Isaac [He Laughs]. I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants.”
- “Dear friends, even though we say these things, we are still convinced that better things are in store for you and that they will save you. God is fair. He won’t forget what you’ve done or the love you’ve shown for him. You helped his holy people, and you continue to help them. We want each of you to prove that you’re working hard so that you will remain confident until the end. Then, instead of being lazy, you will imitate those who are receiving the promises through faith and patience. God made a promise to Abraham. Since he had no one greater on whom to base his oath, he based it on himself. He said, “I will certainly bless you and give you many descendants.” So Abraham received what God promised because he waited patiently for it.” (Hebrews 6:9-15 GW)
Lord, help me to be honest with my doubt. Like the father whose son desperately needed to be healed, I cry – “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” Grant me the grace and faith to move beyond my doubts and into Your promise and provision for my life. Let me imitate Abraham who through faith and patience inherited Your promise!
In Jesus Name!