Scripture reading for January 7th: Genesis 15-17
Some people think that God’s people can’t be happy because they live in fear of the Lord. The kind of fear that we have is reverence for God’s person, power, and mercy. This fear leads to true joy and a life of laughter! God Himself likes to laugh! Psalm 2:4 pictures God laughing–at those who would reject His love and law! Today we get in on a positive laugh that God had with Abram and Sarai after they were old and beyond human possibility of child bearing.
When Abram was 99 years old and Sarai was 90, they were again visited by God. God confirmed the covenant that He had made earlier with Abram. He changed their names to Abraham: father of nations, and Sarah: a princess. He promised them fruitfulness, abundant offspring and a relationship with them and their many descendants. God would be their God and they would be His people in everlasting covenant. He told them that they must circumcise every male child as a sign of this covenant. (Genesis 17:10-14) Abraham, himself was to be circumcised.
Then came the shocker, Abraham was told that his wife, Sarah, would have a son. Abraham fell face down in reverence for the Lord, but laughed as he considered their ages. He wondered to himself how this could be. He answered the Lord saying, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing.” (Genesis 17:18) The Lord reaffirmed that Sarah would have a son and told Abraham that his name would be Isaac. This name actually means “the sound of laughter”! The joke would be on them and they would laugh in their old age with God’s promised child reminding them each time they said his name!
God has a sense of humor. He knows how to best accomplish His purposes. He desires us to trust Him and believe His promises. Physical limitations and natural abilities never limit God. As we read these ancient stories, we learn to trust God and believe that we can laugh, knowing that He will bring His promises to pass. Issac had Jacob and Esau. Jacob had twelve sons who became the nation of Israel. Abraham’s son Ishmael multiplied and formed nations as well. God’s word is true and is still producing! Let laughter mark your walk of faith today!
January 7th Scripture Reading: Genesis 15-17
A great deal has happened in the lives of Abram and Sarai in the last three chapters. They have been to Egypt and back. They have rescued Lot from invaders. They gave the first tithes to Melchezidek, an unusual man who was a king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest of “The Most High God”. (A type of Christ) Sarai has suggested to Abram that he have a child by her maid, Hagar, to fulfill God’s promise since she, Sarai, is still barren. A child results and trouble ensues! Hagar feels superior and Sarai is jealous and mistreats her. The child, Ishmael, becomes a source of trouble in the house and is prophesied to be one who would cause trouble (Genesis 16:12). In fact, we are today experiencing trouble in our world in the Middle East conflict and war on terror from Ismael’s offspring! This is 4000 years later! How true the Word of God is!
Genesis 17 records another visit by God to Abram and Sarai. Abram is now 99 years old and Sarai is 90. God confirms his promise to them in a covenant. Part of a covenant is a change of names. God’s covenant name was “YHWH”, Hebrew letters that were pronounced only with a drawn out “h” sound. God changed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, adding part of his name to theirs and thus changing the meaning of their names. Abram means “Exalted Father” and Abraham means “Father of many or a multitude”. Sarai’s new name means “Princess”. God took Abraham’s name too. He became know as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God also gave them a physical sign of the covenant, circumcision. This mark in the male organ carrying the “seed”, would remind Abraham of God’s promise and mark his offspring as special. This sign also helped keep the line pure and free from venereal disease, thus protecting the offspring.
God has a plan and his promises always come true. Faith simply says “yes” to God and obeys! Abraham is known as the father of faith because he believed God and God credited him with being righteous! (Genesis 15:6) We are made right with God exactly the same way! By faith in Jesus we are credited with righteousness too. Our sign of covenant is that we get the Name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit who circumcises our hearts and marks us as belonging to God. God writes our name in the Book of Life and we have an eternal inheritance in Him! We are truly blessed through Abraham and Sarah and their seed, Jesus Christ!
“Having believed, you were marked in him (Christ) with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His Glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14