Hebrews 11: 8 – 16 NLT
8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 12 And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
The story of Abraham takes up a little over 12 chapters in Genesis, and begins with these verses:
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12: 1 – 3 NLT
(As the story develops, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, which is the name I will use.)
That was an amazing promise. We are told that Abraham was 75 years old when he left his home to go to this promised land. Abraham and Sarah were over 99 years old when Isaac was born. That was a long wait, and the situation seemed impossible to them. They wanted to believe God, but …
God said he would give them a son, but it wasn’t happening. They weren’t young when the promise was initially made, and years went by, so they thought maybe they should do something about the situation, and Sarah gave her maid, Hagar to Abraham – and Ishmael was born. But Ishmael wasn’t the promised child, and a lot of heartache and bad decisions were made because of that.
That promised child did come eventually, so God kept his promise, even though Abraham and Sarah messed up. That encourages me as I realize that I mess up too. There have been many times in my life when I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to do something, but ignored it. Then sometime later, that nudge came again. God doesn’t give up on us. One example of that nudge for me was thinking about writing devotions. That thought came so many times throughout my life, but I was always too busy. I would chat about it with my family, and they would encourage me to write but there were so many other things that kept me occupied. But then came the day when life slowed down, and that nudge came back. I am so glad that God doesn’t give up on us. He has plans for us, and he will continue to urge us in that direction.
We might say that Abraham and Sarah failed miserably. Yet read those verses. “It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.” She believed, but she also tried to plan ahead of God. God didn’t renege on his promises because she had moments of doubt.
Isn’t that reassuring for you? God wants to work through you. You can have confidence that God will do exactly that even though you may worry about whether you are good enough, or worry that you can’t see God’s plan. Start praying and asking God what he wants for you in the days, months, years ahead.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.”
Jeremiah 29: 11 – 12 NLT.
Our song for today is Overcomer by Mandisa.