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What a Difference 9,125 Days Make!

 Perhaps you have heard the saying, “what a difference a day makes.”   Or you may remember Annie singing to us that “the sun will come out tomorrow.”  There are many clichés that we throw around to encourage one another not to give up.  But I must admit that sometimes one day doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference.  What about 9,125 days?  That is 25 years.  Stop for a moment and consider what you were doing 25 years ago.

               Our journey with Abraham began in Genesis 12.  There God promised Him that He would make of him a great nation.  Now as we come into Genesis 18 it is 24 years later, and Abraham is far from fathering a great nation.  His only son is Ishmael, and God was clear that the blessing would not come through him.

               Three visitors come to see Abraham in this chapter, and one of them is the LORD.  (Yes, Jesus makes an appearance here in the Old Testament.  This is called a Christophany.)  The LORD says to Abraham that He will return in about a year, and Sarah will have a son.  If this happened today, “LOL” would be broadcast all over social media!  Both Abraham and Sarah laughed out loud.  You would, too, if you were nearly 100 years old and unable to have children.

But God was faithful to His promises.  God will always do what He says He will do.  Twenty-five years passed by the time God’s promise was fulfilled for Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel.  But it happened just as He said it would.

               Twenty-five years ago, I had just graduated from college, and I was ready to make my mark in the world.  In that time, I have been married.  I have had a child who is now a teenager.  I have owned a small business.  I have received my Master’s degree.  My husband and I have known what it is like to question whether or not we will be able to make ends meet, and we have been blessed beyond our wildest imaginations.  I have questioned whether Christianity is even worth the trouble, and as a result, I have come to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ than ever before!

               In short, I have learned that God will do what He says He will do.  It may not be tomorrow.  It may be a dozen tomorrows…a hundred tomorrows…or 9,125 tomorrows…but God will do what He says He will do.  The story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18 gives us an example of this.

Like them, we must live by faith.  This is where the picture gets a little fuzzy in today’s culture.  How does one “live by faith”?

It is clear in this story of Abraham and Sarah that God does not act because of our faith.  Abraham and Sarah did not have a son because of their incessant prayers of faith.  They did not simply believe and receive.  The LORD Himself stood before them and proclaimed God’s promise, and they both laughed!

Living a life of faith is choosing to live each day to glorify God.  It is living blamelessly by choosing to do what is right.  And we do this because of what God has done, believing that He will continue to do what He says He will do.  Abraham and Sarah made their share of mistakes, but through their 9,125 days, they continued to choose to follow God.  They sought to live a life that would glorify Him.  He would fulfill His promises…period.  They had to believe…period.

We must live by faith…PERIOD.

Posted by Bethany Lay with

Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands

In Genesis 13, 14, and 15, Abram demonstrates maturity and spiritual growth. The events in Genesis 16 surprise me because it appears to be a stark contrast to the overflowing trust Abram exhibited over the last few years of his life. Abram obediently departed from his homeland, generously sought peace and gave his nephew the best land, and he just had a heart to heart with God concerning the covenant of his offspring. In chapter 13 we briefly caught a glimpse into Abram and Sarai’s marriage. Here in chapter 16 we get a much more vivid picture of their household, and I dare say that it is against God’s design for them.

As we learned last year in the series of the same name, we learned that God designed Adam to have headship, meaning he is the spiritual leader and guardian of his household. Pastor Matt Chandler explains, “Headship is the unique leadership of the man in the work of establishing order for human flourishing… [It’s] a sacrificial love toward his wife… He also has a charge for spiritual direction.” Although Abram had confidence in God and his faith had been counted as righteousness, his wife was not on the same page. To empathize with Sarai, she is likely burdened with shame over being barren. She probably feels like she has failed as a woman, and cannot bare her husband to be childless any longer, so she fails to trust God by taking matters into her own hands.

In the brief dialogue recorded between Abram and Sarai in Genesis 16:2, Sarai admitted her belief that God prevented her from having children, therefore she suggested Abram take her servant, Hagar, as his wife so through her Abram can finally have a son. However, the verse ends with, “And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” Here we witness Abram failing at his God-ordained calling to headship. We don’t know if he paused to pray nor do we know anything about his thoughts on the matter, but since he went through with Sarai’s suggestion, he obviously failed to cling to the covenant God has just made with him. This sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately lead to the birth of Ishmael, who becomes the father of a nation that would hate and persecute Jesus.

Just like Abram, we also are prone to forget God’s promises to us. We may mature and display fruit of spiritual growth, but we are all sinful and fall short of God’s glory. Thankfully, God redeems our messes after we take matters into our own hands. Despite Abram and Sarai’s poor decision, God used it for his glory. He knew that eventually his son, Jesus, who would be born to one of Abram and Sarai’s offspring, would overcome all the brokenness caused by sin. Jesus came and was a better Abram and Sarai because his trust in God and obedience never wavered. He ultimately fulfilled the covenant to Abram from the previous chapter, as well as it is mentioned multiple times throughout the narrative of Abraham’s life, which states, “I will bless you . . . so that you will be a blessing . . . and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed".

Concerning the magnitude of this covenant with Abram and the eternal perspective we must have because of it, John Piper explains, “Therefore, even though God has begun his redemptive, reclaiming process with a single individual, he has in view the world. He has a plan, a clear purpose for the centuries, and it reaches even to us.” Jesus was God’s plan, and when we place our matters into His hands, God’s plans succeed.

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”

Romans 3:25-26 NLT


Posted by Laura Rogers with

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