Reading: Genesis 15:1-6
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 16:1-3, 15-16
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Isaac's Birth Promised
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”
The most faithful man, lost faith, or rather, tried to accomplish what God had said to him in his own way. Abram, later know as Abraham, was told by God that his very own son, a son from his seed, will be heir.
God went as far as to take Abram outside to look at the stars to give him a visual representation of what He meant when He said previously that he will be a father of many nations.
"Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your offspring be.” Soon after that it says that Abram believed the LORD and God counted it to Abram as righteousness.
I'm not sure exactly how much time has passed since God told Abram those things, but it seems like Sarai, Abram's wife, had her own take on the matter. She decided to have her husband have a baby through another woman, Hagar, her servant. I mean God did say that Abram's offspring would be blessed so I guess why should it matter if it's with Sarai or Hagar? Maybe that's how Sarai was thinking of it since she could not have any children at all. So I guess this was the only logical option available. Come to think of it, maybe they had no idea that God could do the impossible--in this case a barren woman giving birth? Sarai did acknowledge that God has "prevented" her "from bearing children" (v2). She was thinking that God was definitely responsible for her not being able to have children so there He must be referring to another woman. So, after 10 years, Abram's first son was born to him when he was 86 years old.
Now, after 13 years God shows Himself to Abram restating what He said several years ago. To add to that, He changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarah's name to Sarah.
Compared to Abraham's first response, now we see Abraham questioning for valid reasons. He was 99 years old and he definitely did not think he would have a child at such an old age let alone through his wife who is clearly barren.
After a while I wonder if it hit him that Ishmael was not the one God was talking about. I wonder if it hit him that he didn't do that right thing. For me, I wonder why God didn't tell him from the beginning that Sarah was going to have the son He promised. I wonder if that would have changed what has happened (Maybe God did tell Abraham it was Sarah, but maybe I just can't see where?)
But the crazy thing about all of this is that God is the one who made the covenant with Abraham. I doubt that Abraham did anything to deserve such favor, but if anything, we know that Abraham believed God and so God counted Abraham as righteous because of his believe in Him.
Believe in God. God was a whole lot more detailed in this encounter with Abraham than the first encounter about this promise. I wonder if God was waiting for the moment where Abraham could have no other choice? What I mean by that is maybe Abraham, Abram at the time, still had a lot of things that needed to be dealt with in his heart? So because of that God waited 23 years? Maybe also not just Abram but Sarah too?
Thinking so much into this is kind of making my head spin, but I really wonder. I know that God's foolishness is wiser than any of our wisest here on earth, but I do enjoy thinking about God's out of the "norm" ways of doing things. No one believed that a barren woman, at a very old age would give birth to a child. No one thought Abraham, being 99 years old had anything left in him to be able to assist in this production process lol. And yet, God being God has made it so.
This story is truly incredible and this is only the beginning. I probably have not even scratched the surface of all that's going on in this beautiful relationship between God and Abraham.
What sacrifices were made on Abraham's side in order to have such intimacy with God? Out of everyone God could have chosen, I wonder why He chose Abram...
This is something I ponder that I may apply in my own life. Very interesting.