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  Week 2 - PROMISES OF GOD  
  Day 2 : Trusting In God's Promises Even When It Seems Difficult  

Today we will learn from the life of Abraham and Sarah and how God kept his promise.

Genesis 15:1-3
1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Though Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) had everything, he felt the need for a child of his own. God responds with a promise

Genesis 15:4-6
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”
5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Though the promise was that the heir will be through Abram it didn’t specify it would be through Sarai. Abraham is around 75 years old when this promise is made (Genesis 12:4)

Genesis 16:1-3
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;
2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

One can expect that Abram would have discussed God’s promise (Gen 15:4-6) with his wife Sarai. But more than ten years had passed since the promise (Gen 16:3 and 16:16). So they seem to be planning on how to ‘help’ God fulfil his promise. Sarai suggests a solution which is outside of marriage. Abram agrees. Many try and ‘help’ God fulfil his promise instead of waiting on Him to do it the right way. The struggle is that we want God to fulfil his promise according to our time.

Genesis 17:15-16
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.
16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Abram had a son now (Ishmael) born through Hagar, but this was not the promised son of God’s covenant. The son of the promise was to be through Sarai. Genesis 17: 17-18 - Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

We see in the above verse, another attempt to ‘help’ God. While God is clearly indicating that Sarah will bear a son (Gen 17:16), Abraham is offering God his own solution in an attempt to help God (Gen 17:18).

Genesis 17:19-21
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.
21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”

God clarifies that he will deliver on his promise. God does not need our help. He knows the right time to fulfil his promise. Yet we struggle to believe, trust and wait. We notice that both Abraham and Sarah laughed when God said that he will bless Sarah with a son (Gen 17:17 and Gen 18:9-12). This is how humans doubt divine promises.

Genesis 18:13-14
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’
14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

God in his omniscience, notices Sarah’s doubt in his promise and he addresses it by saying “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Genesis 21:1-5
1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

After 25 years, God fulfils the promise he had made (Gen 21:5). God knew when Abraham was ready and always fulfils his promise in the right time and not according to our time. But God always delivers!

Life application

Let us ask ourselves
- “Do I believe that God will deliver in his promise?”
- “Do I try to ‘help’ God fulfil his promises like Abraham and Sarah did?” “What are some of the areas where I try to ‘help’ God?

Challenge Based on the scriptures we studied today, make a decision to wait for God to fulfil his promise because God will deliver at the right time