Day 15

The Birth of Isaac

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 20:1-18, Genesis 21:1-34, Proverbs 21:1, 1 John 1:9

BY Claire Gibson

I’ve never been pregnant. I’ve come to terms with the fact that, like Sarah (or Rachel or Hannah) in the Bible, I have been given the burden of infertility, a weight that I’ve kicked and railed against and sobbed about and finally, dutifully picked up—mostly because I had no other option. I don’t know if I will ever have a child born from my own body, but I know that if I did, I would join right along with Sarah in laughing.

God’s timing is perfect, and sometimes, pretty funny too. To think, Sarah had waited her whole life to have children, and only once her family was in disarray, did God choose to follow through on His great promise. After everything that happened, why now? Because when she was at her weakest, once again, He showed His great strength.

The Bible is full of humans, not heroes. We see in Genesis chapter 20 a story of fear, when Abraham tries to hide and protect his wife Sarah by claiming that she was his sister, only to nearly cause a massive tidal wave of destruction for Abimelech. What follows in close succession is Sarah finally giving birth to the child God promised: Isaac.

But even amidst the laughter and celebration, a shadow hovers over this family. After all, they didn’t wait patiently for God to follow through on His promise. Earlier in their marriage, Sarah encouraged her husband to have an affair with Hagar in order to bear a child. Now, she can’t fully enjoy God’s faithfulness, because the proof of her unfaithfulness is right there, mocking her, at the party.

Are we any different? When God is good to you, what do you focus on? Are you wholeheartedly clinging to His goodness, or do you still see, out of the corner of your eye, glimpses and reminders of your own sin, lack, and shame? After all, how good can He really be? We see the answer in the second half of chapter 21.

Even when Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael away in a fit of rage, God continues to be good to them. He is loving and saving and kind—because that is who He is. It doesn’t matter if you see yourself as a promised child or a child whose background is questionable. None of this is conditional on who we are or what we’ve done, but rather on who He is and what He accomplished on the cross.

God’s promises always come true. He has promised to forgive our sins and guide our hearts, leading wherever He pleases (Proverbs 21:1). He promises to give us everything we need for life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3). He promises to come for us, and not to leave us as orphans (John 14:!8). The Lord did for Sarah all that He had promised. The Lord will keep His promises to us as well. That is who He is.

Post Comments (39)

39 thoughts on "The Birth of Isaac"

  1. Jordan Jones says:

    I don’t know if the authors of these devotionals ever read these but God used this post in a major way this morning. In a way only God can in a way that seems so incredible I too could just laugh. As I sat in the car crying to my husband over the burden of our own unexplained infertility and just the weight I feel regularly… God heard. I can’t put into words what opening my email and reading this devotional meant. Maybe there are more like me or maybe it was just meant for me. Either way God used it to speak to my heart. Thank you.

    1. Kerry Rowley says:


  2. Lisa Z says:

    T, your love for your friend shines through your post! Sounds like she knew our Lord so I trust you will see her again. Our dear Father, Son and Spirit were all with her at her passing. She is now healed and singing praises of their faithfulness. What a friend we have in Jesus!

  3. Kara says:

    I love the Old Testament for its focus on imperfect, self-serving people who God uses to show His goodness and glory. It gives me hope that I (also imperfect and self-serving most days if I’m honest) cannot get in Gods way when it comes to His plan.

    Lord use me and mold me. Turn my heart to be more like yours. Amen.

    1. Camille English Davis says:


  4. K D says:

    The reminder that I needed today – God ALWAYS keeps His promises.

  5. Lynn Ondrovic says:

    21:19a 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. – we just need to open our eyes to see God providing for us

    1. Camille English Davis says:


  6. Lynn Ondrovic says:

    Genesis 21:19a

  7. Churchmouse says:

    This is a strange account. Abraham and Sarah, recipients of God’s great promises, falter badly before the pagan king, Abimelech. This pagan king who ruled over a land that had no fear of God, has a dream from Abraham’s God and believes it. Abimelech has clean hands and a clear conscience before God. Abraham, because of his deception regarding his marital status, does not. It is striking when Abimelech confronts Abraham with the question “What made you do this?” Abraham’s integrity and witness is called into account. Abimelech’s question is a good question for us to ask ourselves. We have been given the promises of God. We have only to believe in Him and His ways. So often however we falter and take matters into our own hands. This reliance on ourselves rather than the promises of God reveals our lack of trust. What makes us devise our own plans? What makes us decide how long we should have to wait? What makes us decide a lie is better than the truth? What makes us think we know better than God? Ouch. May we fall to our knees and humbly ask for His forgiveness. May we repent of our self-centeredness, arrogance and pride. May we trust in Him who has saved us and delivered us time and time again from our own foolishness. May we commit to trust and obey, come what may or may not come, because He is faithful. He is worthy of a great and faithful and truthful testimony from us. Amen.

    1. Andrea P says:


  8. T says:

    I lost my very dear good Christian friend to her taking her own life just before Christmas last year…(depression and anxiety)
    I hurt for the loss of my friend and the times we we will never have again, but most importantly, I ached to think that 1) I would not see her in eternity… 2) that she died alone.. for all the amazing evangelizing she did, for the heart she had for all she met, for her wonderful, Christ- like heart towards everything and everyone.. she was alone in her death..that was such a worry!

    But God..

    Dear Dear Wonderful Faithful God..

    Through another’s words, helped me understand, that God faithfully promises to never leave us nor forsake us, NO MATTER WHAT! That He is with us to the end of time! That although we may make choices that break His heart, He is always near.. She was/is a child of God, an amazing daughter of the Most High God..and that was her ticket/claim to Gods forever promises.. to be with her, even, and most importantly, at the time of her passing.

    I love these words Clare Gibson.

    God’s promises always come true. He has promised to forgive our sins and guide our hearts..

    A few more words, that warms my heart in these sad days.. Thank you..

    What I take from today’s devotional, is that, however we do life, whether in our own strength or in trust, God, DEAR DEAR FAITHFUL and WONDERFUL God, keeps His promises… ALWAYS..

    Thank you God, Thank you ❤

    Sisters, Happy Monday! May your day be merry and brightly filled with love, peace and Hope.. whatever you doing today..❤

    1. Katie Stutler says:

      Your story is heart breaking. I’m sorry for your loss. But I want to encourage you…you said that your friend was/is a child of God. That means she was washed clean of all sin. ALL sin. There’s not ONE sin that’s not covered by Jesus’ blood. Not even taking a life, as difficult and tragic as that is. Even THAT sin is covered. Praying for peace for you and those that knew your friend.

    2. Cynthia Johnston says:

      I, too, lost a friend to her taking her own life last winter. She battled anxiety and depression. She could not see her way out of this debilitating mental illness and wanted to be with her Savior, Jesus. I have learned to press into Him when I have fought my own battle with depression. May the God of all comfort comfort you and give you His peace. ♥️

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