A promise from God, unfulfilled. A deep yearning to grow their family, despite their infertility. The story of Abraham and Sarah is a poignant one—so rich in its humanity, so resonant with its readers today. In this Genesis account, we see an elderly couple waiting on God to move, to provide them with the child they were promised.
For today's blog post, I'm doing a deep dive into the Genesis 15-17 narrative of Abraham and Sarah, and what we can learn from their story. Patience is a virtue, and life's journey often isn't as straightforward as we would hope. I encourage you to join me as we study this time-honored Old Testament story, focusing on the power of a prayerful couple, God's steadfast love in the midst of waiting (and their sin!), and His eventual deliverance. Spoiler alert—He always fulfills His promises.
God Makes Beauty Out of Our Mess
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” ~ Genesis 15:1-4
Let's set the scene, shall we? Abram was an obedient man after God's heart. He was the one to move to Canaan, the land God had promised, leaving his homeland and everything he knew. God promised to bless Abram for his endeavors, and told him that He would make his name great.
Ten years after arriving in Canaan, Abram and Sarai were still childless, and getting older in age. In their desperation, Sarai suggested Abram have a child with her Egyptian handmade, Hagar. Just imagine the bizarre, uncomfortable family dynamics this must have created, but nonetheless Abram agreed. Hagar bore his son, Ishmael, much to the contempt of Sarai.
It's important to note, this infidelity was not part of God's plan. It was not His intention for them to enter into this strange arrangement. However, we see the stunning result that, despite our sin, God is faithful and fulfills His promises to us in the end. It can be hard for us in our modern day to understand the way this relationship panned out, but we can relate to some of the deeper emotions this couple must have been feeling—desperation, despair, a feeling of failure and loneliness. Instead of trusting that God will provide, they took matters into their own hands.
Regardless, God makes beautiful things out of our messes. His love knows no bounds. In this, we can rejoice!
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait on the Lord
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” ~ Genesis 17:3-8
When Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to Him and made a great covenant with his family. In this grand meeting, God reveals Himself to Abram and says His true name is El Shaddai, meaning God Almighty. It's also important to note that Abram's been waiting some 25 years for God to fulfill His promises and provide children. Imagine how inexplicably beautiful and long-awaited this day must have been for him.
Throughout Genesis 17 God instructs the members of Abram's family to be circumcised. Now, this can seem like a very strange request looking back, but we must keep in mind that circumcision was extremely meaningful in these days because it set apart God's people. This outward act would be the sign of the covenant, as well as a symbol to not be ruled by your flesh.
God then went on to give them new names, marking a new chapter in their lives. They would now be Abraham and Sarah, marking their new covenant with God.
Later on in chapter 21, the long awaited moment had finally arrived. They conceived and gave birth to their son, Isaac. Against all odds, they became parents and proved that we serve a God who listens and never forget. We serve a Lord who is steadfast.
- While Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands, God remained true to His promises and blessed them with children.
- No matter your age (or any other forseen obstacle, really) God's will shall be accomplished and nothing can thwart His plans for your life!
- God's timing is and will always be perfect, even though we can't see this in the moment.
A Blessed Reminder
In a world that demands instant gratification, their story reminds us of the profound beauty that lies in patiently relying on the Lord's perfect plan. We invite you to check out our Christian apparel and accessories, with the reminders we need to focus on God's goodness, always, and to persevere in the face of adversity. Sometimes, it's the little reminders of Scripture in our day that give us that boost of encouragement.