Beginnings – Genesis 21:1-8
Intro: I Can’t Wait!
I can’t wait until I can take my vacation, I can’t wait until Christmas, I can’t wait until spring gets here, I can’t wait until the cooler weather gets here, I can’t wait until the warmer weather gets here. I can’t wait until my child is potty-trained. I can’t wait until I graduate, I can’t until Friday… A lot of things we can’t wait for. Sarah couldn’t wait; as a matter of fact she gave up. She thought there was no way at such an old age that she could have a child. It was 25 years of barrenness and at a very old age Sarah conceived and the promise of God; “In His Time,” gave birth to Isaac. When Sarah first heard the news from God; “She Laughs.”
Howard Whitman looked at time as: “Life’s Waiting Stages,” He said life is composed of waiting periods. The child must wait until he is old enough to have a bicycle, the young man until he is old enough to drive a car, the medical student must wait for his diploma, the husband for his promotion, the young couple for savings to buy a new home. The art of waiting is not learned at once. Abraham and Sarah learned that the hard way! By nature we are impatience people, and often we can’t wait and because of that there are consequences.
“By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 (HCSB) Text: Genesis 21:1-8
“And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him--whom Sarah bore to him--Isaac. 4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." 7 She also said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age." 8 So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned.”
Application: God’s appointed time is as He had said as He had spoken.
In His time God appoints timed events, in His time God appoints promises and in His time He appoints obedience. His time is an appointed time:
1. Appointed Time: Vs. 1-2
“And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
“As He had said,” “as He had spoken.” He would visit. Do you think He says anything to us today from the same precepts He said to Sarah so long ago? “as He had said,” “as He had spoken?” Scriptures ask a simple question: "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" Scriptures teach us: "With God nothing shall be impossible" Isaac was born in Abraham's "old age," at the very time appointed by God. The birth was a miracle. Abraham and Sarah were both too old to bear children. They were well beyond childbearing years, but God miraculously rejuvenated their bodies so that they could bear a child. The birth was controlled by God from start to finish, controlled by His power.
Even though Isaac was not born at the right time for Abraham and Sarah, the narrator tells us that the birth happened in God’s “appointed time.”
The Lord visited Sarah as He had said, He can and does visit us! Maybe He won’t visit us in the flames of a burning bush, or in the Lion’s den, more in likely not in the middle of a very hot furnace. But He could! He comes to us in His appointed time where ever we are.
“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" Genesis 17:17 As the Lord had visited Abraham and Sarah so long ago and at what many might think the oddest time, in His time He still visits us today! His time is an appointed promise:
2. Appointed Promise: Vs. 3
“And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him--whom Sarah bore to him--Isaac. In His time, God promise this couple would have a son and his name would be Isaac. God had the power to prove Himself, to fulfill His promise, His Word, to do exactly as He had promised.
The saga arrives at last at the end of the wait for the promised child. This section began with a report of Sarah’s barrenness and the attempt to solve the problem by adoption. That failed through a combination of human conflict and divine decree. After the announcement that Sarah herself would be the mother, the wait continued while everyone else seemed to be having babies. But now God visits Sarah as promised. In spite of the anticipation, the birth report itself might go by unnoticed. It lies buried between episodes of Abraham’s conflict with the people who control the land in which he lives, Abimelech and the residents of Gerar. The birth report itself is overshadowed by the far more dramatic narrative concerning the destiny of Ishmael. Nevertheless, in the midst of neighborhood conflict and domestic unhappiness, the child, Isaac, is born.
This almost qualifies as a drama doesn’t it? Anybody dealing with a little drama in their life? Do you think your challenges would put you on a major network with your own reality show? Let me echo a promise that God gives the believer “In His Time!” “And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life.” 1 John 2:25 God's promises have one great purpose: to give us eternal life, but His promises are based upon faith.
His time is an appointed obedience:
3. Appointed Obedience: Vs. 4-8
“Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." 7 She also said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age." 8 So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned.” Abraham was counted as righteous because he chose to be obedient to his God.
How does God fulfill His promises? He stirs obedience and faithfulness to God. When God first told Abraham that the time had finally come, the son was now to be born; Abraham fell on his face in worship which is an act of obedience. He was so full of joy that he burst forth in laughter, a laughter of faith. God was so pleased with this experience of worship and joy that He instructed Abraham to memorialize the event forever in the name of the child. The name Isaac means "he laughs," "he joys." The long wait for a son—twenty-five years—was over. The son was born. Abraham's joy must have broken loose in a praise and worship of God beyond expression. It is not Abraham's joy that is stressed in these verses; it is Abraham's obedience to God. This is very significant, for God would not have fulfilled His promise to Abraham if Abraham had not been an obedient follower of God. Abraham obeyed God all throughout his life, not perfectly, but consistently and diligently.
Abraham is obedient in naming his son Isaac. This was in obedience to God. God had long before told Abraham to name his son Isaac. He circumcised Isaac when the baby was eight days old. This, too, was in obedience to God. God had instituted the ritual of circumcision with Abraham some years before. Abraham recognized his dependence upon God: the birth was a miracle. He was 100 years old, well beyond childbearing years. The son was not due to him but to God. God and God alone had given him a son. He was totally dependent upon God, and he owed this blessing—the blessing of his son—to God and God alone. We must obey God in order to receive the promises of God. This does not mean that we must be perfect before God can pour out His promises upon us. But it does mean that we have to do what Abraham did: believe God and diligently seek to follow God. It means that we set our hearts upon God, that we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that we diligently seek to obey God.
There are a multitude of reasons why God may not immediately fulfill His promises in our lives. But two facts are always true: God is faithful to His promises. God will always do exactly what He promises He will do. He may delay for a while in order to strengthen us or to teach us some lesson. But God is faithful; He will prove Himself and fulfill His promises to us. Abraham and Sarah had to wait twenty-five years to receive the promise of God. Imagine! Twenty-five years. How impatient we so often become before God. “And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15 (HCSB)
At first, Sarah did not believe God's promise concerning the promised son, but the line of Isaac would be the descendants through whom God would send His Son into the world. Sarah's son was the chosen line of the promised seed. But there was more to the birth of Isaac than just being the chosen line for the Savior of the world. There was a great similarity between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ. The birth of Isaac actually foreshadowed or pointed to the birth of Christ. There were the miraculous births of the two children. Isaac’s birth was miraculous because it was out of Sarah’s Old age God used her. Christ's birth was miraculous. He was born of a virgin. The times for both births were set or appointed by God. God set the time for Isaac's birth. God set the time for Christ's birth. “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” Galatians 4:4
God as He showed with Abraham and Sarah is still expecting and waiting for all of us to be obedient and in His time we will also receive His promises.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.
“He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)
“(as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.” Romans 4:17-20
Epigram on Patience
A man is a hero, not because he is braver than anyone else, but because he is brave for ten minutes longer. - Emerson
In : Sermon
Tags: "new beginnings series" "book of genesis"
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