January 13 - Nº 13 Genesis 17:1-8, 15-22; 18:1-15; 21:1-6
God wanted to encourage Abram and Sarai. He wanted them to know that, despite their age, He would fulfill the promise He had made so many years before. They would have a son. And from that son would come more sons, who would also have sons, until eventually Abraham would be the father of many nations. So, God personally paid them a visit. During this visit He gave them each a new name. Abram (which means “exalted father”) became Abraham (“the father of many nations”). And Sarai (which means “my princess”) became Sarah (“princess of many nations”). Their new names signified how huge God’s plans were for their lives. Abraham wasn’t sure how to respond to God’s reaffirmation, so he laughed. How was it possible that this joy could really come to him and Sarah at such an old age? None of it made any sense. Then God gave him some more exciting information. Their son would be born in exactly one year! And they were to name him Isaac. A short time later, three visitors showed up at Abraham’s tent. Again, one of them was “the Lord.” This time He was accompanied by two angels. Even though it was the hottest time of the day, Abraham rushed to show them hospitality. He gave them water to wash their feet and prepared a special meal. Sarah was not included in this business lunch, but she did not want to miss out on the conversation, so she eavesdropped. During the meal, God repeated His promise that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. He knew that Sarah was listening, and He wanted her to understand that the son would come from her as well as Abraham. So, He very clearly stated, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” When Sarah heard this, she laughed to herself. She was way too old to conceive and give birth to a child. Even though Sarah’s laughter was silent, the Lord “heard” her. He didn’t hesitate to reveal her thoughts and emotions to the others. He asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?” Before Abraham could answer He added, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Sarah was frightened. This visitor must really be the Lord. He knew her thoughts. But instead of acknowledging her doubt and asking for forgiveness, Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she lied. God then bluntly stated the truth, “Yes, you did laugh.” Because God is gracious, He fulfilled His promise despite Sarah’s deliberate lie. At exactly the time God had promised, a son was born. Abraham named him Isaac, which means “laughter.” Both he and Sarah had laughed at the promise of a son in their old age. Now they laughed with joy at his birth.
What does this story teach you about God’s timing? About His knowledge of your thoughts and actions? About His ability to use you despite what you (and others) may see as liabilities and/or weaknesses? How does it help you trust Him more?