God made a very important promise to Abram: "I will make you into a great nation... All peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
But Abraham's faith still continued to be tested as he waited.... and waited... and waited...
The promise was yet to come
Then eleven years passed! His wife Sarah still could not have a child, and she's 86 years old.
Where's God? Has God forgotten? Does God need some help? God didn't answer by explaining. But He reaffirmed His promise again and again, "I am your shield, your great reward."
Abram and Sarai became desperate. Perhaps God needed some human help? They decided that Abram could produce a son through Sarai’s Egyptian maid Hagar. They put the plan into action and it worked! Well, at least in human terms. Ishmael is born and they seemed to be back on track with God’s promise.
But what does God have to say?
Twelve years after Ishmael was born (quite a long time!) The name Ishmael means 'God listens'. The Lord appeared to Abram who was now 100 years old (and Sarai 90). He affirmed the promises and the covenant again, gave Abram a new name – Abraham, and Sarai became Sarah. The name Abraham means 'faither of nations'.
God announced that within a year, this promise would come true through a son God would give to Abraham and Sarah.
A son born to a couple aged 90 and 100? Very funny, God.... Abraham and Sarah laughed. Very funny....
A year later, Isaac was born, just ask God had planned and promised.
Listen to God and Pray...
1. Why do you think God waited so long to give a son to Abraham and Sarah? How would this affect the way Abraham and Sarah experienced God? 2. What does the story teach us about God's sovereignty and our faith?
3. How would you respond to God? What is stopping you?
4. Who can you share this story with?