Thirteen years is the time gap between Genesis 16 and 17. Thirteen years. It’s so easy for us to jump from one chapter to the next forgetting these people lived in real time. I wonder what life was like those thirteen years? Hard? I’m willing to bet it wasn’t all peaches and cream. I have a feeling there was some interesting drama, starting with Sarai’s reaction when Hagar returned and spoke of her encounter with the LORD. Could there have been more jealousy? Not only did Hagar get to have Abram’s son but she got to see and talk to the LORD. Lucky girl. What’s more the LORD said he would multiply her offspring so they couldn’t even be numbered! So not fair!
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 17:1-5
Key Verse: “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” Hebrews 11:6a
What about me God? What about me? Did Sarai struggle with such questions? Certainly she did. I do. Don’t you? What about me God? I’ve been waiting so patiently for you to work in my life – for your glory not mine. What about my blessing? My longings? My desires? Did you forget about me?
We wonder sometimes don’t we? If somehow God overlooked us? When the girl next door gets what we wanted. When the promotion goes to someone else. When the news we’ve been waiting for fills someone else’s ears. Or for me sometimes it’s why did it rain there but not here? Why does the field of beans across the road look great but ours is a sight for sore eyes? As life happens, we can’t help but wonder why not me. Other times it’s just the opposite. Why me LORD? Why me?
But God cannot forsake you; nor forget you. If you are his child, it’s impossible for him to overlook you. Impossible. God said through the prophet Isaiah, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Is. 49:15-16a; NLT).
So why not you? Because God is making you into a man or woman of faith. He could have said to Sarai “Here’s the plan. You’re gonna go to Canaan and wait 25 years before I give you a son. You’ll give birth to him when you’re 90. So just sit tight for a bit. Ok?”
Sounds absurd doesn’t it? God doesn’t usually tell us the destination when we begin the journey. Let alone the route we’re gonna take to get there. Or how long we have to wait. Because then it wouldn’t require faith. Faith is believing God will do what he’s said, even when it doesn’t seem possible. It’s “the assurance of things hopes for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The assurance and conviction that God is faithful to me even when I don’t understand or can’t see the way. Faith is not the result of praying the sinner’s prayer. Salvation is. Faith happens as we learn to depend on a trustworthy God while navigating the ups and downs of this crazy life. And it’s pleasing, oh so pleasing to our King. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6a). So whatever it takes LORD; whatever the journey; however long the wait; no matter how rough the seas; make me into a woman of faith that I might be pleasing to you.
So why not me? Why not you? Because maybe, just maybe, God is making you into a man or woman of faith. Giving you opportunity to please him. And gain eternal rewards that far outweigh anything you could gain on this earth. Maybe he’s teaching you to trust him as God Almighty or El Shaddai, as he revealed himself to Abram in Gen. 17:1. This was a new name to Abram. Fitting since Genesis 17 reveals three other new names (Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac). Let alone a myriad of promises only a very mighty God could keep.
From now on Abram who had gone his entire life with the name “Exalted Father” would be called Abraham meaning “Father of a Multitude.” While this is exciting news it was going to require some faith! No doubt God was making Abraham into a man of great faith. And everyone was gonna know it. For 99 years Abram had gone through his life known as “Exalted Father.” With each new Canaanite he met the conversation could have gone something like this: “Hello my name is “Exalted Father.” Then you must have many children? How many? Oh I don’t have any children.” Or after reaching 86 years of age he could have replied “I have one son.” But now he was to say “Hello my name is Father of a Multitude”. I wonder if there were a few neighboring Canaanites contemplating if the old man had finally gone off his rocker. “Now he wants us to call him Father of a Multitude (keep dreamin old man).”
But Abraham wasn’t dreaming. He was living by faith every time he introduced himself as Abraham. God was making him into a man of faith. Just as he’s making us. Every time we wait longer than we think we should have to. Every time the plan doesn’t go quite as expected. Every time life throws you a curveball; an unwanted circumstance; or seems to pass you right by. Every time is a chance to grow in faith. Pleasing the Father as we cling tightly to who he is and every word he’s said.
My dear friend. His name is God Almighty; El Shaddai. And he loves you. He’s got everything under control. But he wants you to be a man or woman of incredible faith.
Oh LORD God Almighty. Today I choose to trust you. Knowing with each step you’re making me into a woman of great faith.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
How is God making you into a man or woman of faith? Does this revelation change your perspective on current circumstances?
How can you walk by faith today? What verse can you hold on to?