Thursday, April 27, 2017

HEBREWS 11:1-12

"By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive,
even beyond the proper time of life,
since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
Therefore there was born even of one man,
and him as good as dead at that,
as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number,
and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."

Oh my goodness, Sarah!  I secretly like Sarah because when the angel told Abraham she was going to have a baby, she laughed.  "Sarah laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?' And the Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child when I am so old?'  Is anything too difficult for the Lord?"  Indeed, the first time God told Abram, he laughed too. "Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old?   And will Sarah who is ninety years old, bear a child?"  But back to when Sarah laughed, the angel (also called the Lord) said, "You laughed," but she said, "I did not laugh." "No, but you did laugh."  But hers was the laugh heard 'round the world.  (excerpts from Genesis 17-18)

With the prophecy to the two old people, God gave new names.  Abram was turned to Abraham which meant "father of a multitude."  Sarai became Sarah meaning, "princess."  How 'bout that!
But their child Isaac meant "laughter," named as such by God Himself, who must have had a chuckle in His own heart. 

But in Hebrews, Sarah is in the hall of fame for her faith.  What?  I thought she didn't believe it could happen, that this was a laughable promise that she didn't think was possible.  But then in the privacy of their tent that night there must have been an intimate conversation, "Do you want to try?"  "Sure, if you want to."  Whahht!  That moment in the secrecy of their tent staked in the sand, faith bloomed in the beauty of the night with the stars bearing witness, the stars that would be compared to the numberless offspring of these two old people.

I like the interpretation when God says, "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?" in that it also means too "wonderful" for the Lord.  This is an echo of what the angel said to the virgin Mary, (Luke 1:37). 

You have to love a woman like Sarah, even though there were bad times in the past, like when her husband tried to appease a threatening king by given him his beautiful wife passing her off as his sister.  Bad, bad idea, Abram.  They had to go to marriage counseling after that.  Then Sarai talked Abram into taking her handmaiden to be his concubine and bear him a son since she herself was barren.  Bad, bad idea, Sarai.  They had to go to family counseling after that.  Unfortunately, that began the animosity of Arabs against Jews that is out of control up to this very day, hour, minute.

But poor Abraham was called, "him as good as dead."  Hmm, that's not very romantic, is it!  But who needs Viagra when you have a mighty God who invented the whole man + woman thing, but let's not go there.

Andrew Murray applies it to us: "In this trust take thy place of deep helplessness and dependence and humility.  By nothing that God may be all.  Just yield thyself for the living God through His Son and Spirit to do His mighty work in thee."

Adam Clarke says, "The birth of Isaac, the circumstances of the father and mother considered, was entirely supernatural; and the people who proceeded from this birth were a supernatural people; and were and are most strikingly a supernatural people through every period of their history to this day."

It kinda makes you want to look up to those stars and give one of those stars your name.  Actually, we can because Abraham is not just the father of the Jewish nation, but through Christ, we can claim him as well as those who are as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.  We are adopted into the family of stars.  (Genesis 22:17) The way was opened up to all believers, Jews and Gentiles alike.  Hey, do you feel like laughing now, joyous, boisterous happy laughter?  It is too good to be true, but it is because nothing is impossible, wondrous, for God.

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