Genesis 17:15-27 today and the notes have been prepared by Marina.
Have you ever seen a child so excited that they laugh in anticipation of an event? When my grandson realised that the pile of presents under the Christmas tree were for him he could hardly believe it and he danced, clapped and laughed in delight! It was lovely to watch and be part of the joy too. When I read today’s passage I could imagine Abraham’s incredulous laughter. Could this really happen? Can an old woman and an old man have a child? Although Abraham was asking those questions, they were in a way, rhetorical because the humour was in the truth of the event. God was going to do this. He was really going to do this! Abraham believed God and fully understood the absurdity of it.
God rarely does what we expect him to. You cannot fit God into a box. ‘His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts’. So it begs the question- Why do we always try to contain God and ask Him to do things our way in our time. I love the doxology in the New Testament that says-‘To Him who is able to do far more than we can ask or Imagine…’. It’s our imagination that’s small, we limit God by have small expectations and making small requests, as though God’s abilities are the same level as ours. Perhaps as we read through the familiar events of this account of God’s power we should just stand in awe and reflect on this miracle. Not just that God could give this elderly couple a baby (even though with all our medical advancement that still remains impossible for our scientists) but that God should want to give this child as his covenant with us.
It remains a mystery to me, why the God of creation, the God of the universe, should want to make promises of love and care to fallen, sinful mankind. Yet just as this child was promised to Abraham God also promised us a son. In the book of Isaiah God’s word tells us :-
‘For unto us a child is born,
To us a child is given,
And the government will be upon his shoulders,
And He will be called
Wonderful counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’
We can see that these names reflect our Saviour. The Old Testament is full of God’s promises to us. God’s covenant starts with the promise of a child and although this passage focusses on the promise of Isaac, the beginning of the covenant, it’s really pointing to the Jesus. God’s promise to each one of us. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’.
There is so much we could have discussed in this passage but it just seemed that God Almighty in the person of Jesus, God the Son, was leaping from the page and really speaking to us and making Himself known!
Jesus my Lord will love me for ever,
From him no power of evil can sever.
He gave his life to ransom my soul.
Now I belong to him.
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But, for eternity. Amen!