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. Rubi says:

    It is easy to see our mistakes than to fully accept His forgiveness. I pray this morning that the lies that the enemy puts in my head be removed in Jesus mighty name. I am clean by the blood of Jesus! I am made a new creation. Gods promises are true! Lord I pray that this week be a week of fresh revelation of your great Love for each and every single one of us. Amen

  2. Car says:

    Today’s reading is such a good reminder that God’s timing often appears illogical by human standards. As today’s commentary points out, why wait until this point to have the birth of Isaac? God knows our hearts. His kingdom is the upside kingdom and we need to trust that His way is truly the best way, even when it seems to not make sense to us. He is the promise keeper and knows what we need!

  3. Dana Mofield says:

    I struggle so much with my past sexual sin. And it has carried over into my current relationship as it has hurt the man I love. I’ve been praying for months that God take the guilt away but recently realized I’ve been praying for the wrong thing – the guilt is there to guide me to do what is right. I haven’t forgiven myself yet. And that’s why I can’t shake the guilt and the shame. I needed today’s lesson so much. To remind me God is good and He does forgive me even when I’m struggling to forgive myself.

    1. Jane K says:

      Amen Dana! I have recently listened to a podcast that talked about guilt and shame. We do not have to feel shame because our God forgives and forgets our sins, but guilt motivates us to turn from our sin. May God bless your relationship and continue to bring healing to your soul.

    2. Kirstie Le Lievre says:

      Hi Dana, thanks for being brave and sharing. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is enough, truly enough, to pay for all your sin and shame. When he said It is Finished, he meant it, for you and me, as we accept his salvation and lay our sins at the foot of that cross. I pray that God touches your heart and fills you with a revelation of what redemption means and how amazing his grace is. Kirstie

  4. Jessica Nicolas says:

    God did all He promised to Sarah, so I will wait patiently for my time. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, it maybe 10 years from now… but it will come to pass.

  5. Holly Strickland says:

    The commentary really hit me this morning. I’ve read through this account countless times and to be honest it sometimes confused me. In the commentary, she points out the truth that when we are in the midst of God’s goodness WE, not Him, looks around and still sees our shame, shortcomings, etc. We take on not being enough as if all those things will somehow overshadow God’s greatness (salvation) in our lives. God is enough-We can take Him at His word-we must focus on His truth not what we have done. There is no amount of good that can cover our sin or take it away-only the blood of Christ. I am thankful for God’s word-that it is living and breathing. That God uses it speak to us. I’ve also learned to not glaze over something just because I’ve read before( God has had me in Genesis quite a bit) Embrace He has something to teach you and pray for eyes to see.

  6. Kathy says:

    I have found myself in an unexpected season of calm – no huge issues, no overwhelming turmoil. Life is not perfect and there are still things I pray for daily, but for the first time in a long time, I am in a place of no storms. The water is mostly smooth and the sky is clear and I am more grateful than you can believe!
    I know that storms are coming because that is what happens in this broken world, but right now I am trying to let God teach me and reinforce the truths that I need to weather the next round of storms. One of the lessons that stuck out to me from this reading is that no matter the circumstances of my life, Hagar’s desperation for the Lord is exactly where I need to find myself every day. It would be so easy to become complacent and comfortable, but that is not where I need to be.
    Lord, make me desperate for You – for Your grace, Your mercy, Your forgiveness. Protect me from complacency. Make me uncomfortable in the calm.
    Have a blessed Monday!

    1. Traci Gendron says:

      Thank you for your words Kathy. I am in a storm. My son has a very rare fatal disease. My heart breaks for him. I Need to trust that God will get me through whatever happens. We are praying that he gets into a stem cell transplant trial. I’m struggling to lean on God and not myself in this. These passages have taught me that I’m not alone in this struggle. I’m thankful for this study and entering each day with God and His word at the forefront.

  7. Doris says:

    2 Corinthians 1: 20—— For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Way maker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God that is Who you are!

  8. Debbie says:

    Amen! Romans 8:28 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    The Scriptures do not teach us that certain methods of death separate us from the love of God. As we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ we cross over from death to life. From your description of your friend, it sounds like she crossed over to spiritual life well before her physical death. When that is the case, we are given assurance that nothing can separate us from Him.

    From Jesus, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

    God bless you.

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