The Birth of Isaac
After the time with King Abimelech, the LORD took notice of Sarah and fulfilled the promise He made to Sarah. Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time, just as God had promised. Abraham called the name of his son, born of Sarah, Isaac. He circumcised Isaac on the eighth day. Sarah said: “God has made laughter 1The Hebrews term here for “laughter” (“צְחֹק”) is the same root used in Genesis 18:12-15 when Sarah laughed. for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” Previously, Sarah laughed in unbelief. Now, God has made laughter for her. 2The Hebrews phrase for “God has made laughter for me” (“צְחֹק, עָשָׂה לִי אֱלֹהִים”) emphasized that God provided the laughter for Sarah. Not only has God made laughter for her, but everyone who hears will laugh with me. 3The Hebrew phrase for “everyone who hears will laugh with me” (“כָּל-הַשֹּׁמֵעַ, יִצְחַק-לִי”) indicates that they were joining her in laughing happily with her because God had worked a miralce with the old woman, past childbearing, to have a child to fulfill the covenant blessing of offspring. Sarah concluded by saying, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet, I have borne him a son in his old age.” The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 4Genesis 21:1-8, pages 29-30. Sarah had learned great lessons about faith, lying and laughter. So had Abraham. In the end, she had the last laugh, just like Abraham laughed before.
Lessons in Faith
Our spiritual lives will thrive when we believe that nothing is impossible for God and He wants to do impossible things in our lives. Could you make a list of all things in your life that you know God wants to achieve in your life, but you deem them impossible? Do you say things like I am too old, I cannot change, I know that cannot happen in my life? Jesus told us that the Old Testament provides examples for us and for our instruction. 51 Corinthians 10:1-13, page 1793. We should learn to stop living in evil and begin living in belief, trusting in the power of God to do things we deem impossible. God will always provide all the strength we need to do His will in our lives. We can learn to trust Him and His word. As we trust Him, we see more of His power at work in our lives. We live in the power of God by the faith from God in our lives. We learn that all things in the will of God are possible in our lives, even when we doubt them at first. God loves to grow our faith in Him and sot that we believe His plans for our lives.
Faith Lesson One: You Receive the Power of Faith as a Gift from God
Sarah received the power to conceive by faith. The Book of Hebrews provides a key insight into the faith of Sarah: “By faith, even Sarah herself 6The Greek phrase here “even Sarah herself (“καὶ αὐτὴ Σάρρα“) received power to conceive (“στεῖρα δύναμιν “) highlights Sarah’s journey from laughing to believing (Hebrews 11:11, page 1882). received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” Because Sarah received the faith before she conceived, she had to start believing before she became pregnant. Therefore, we know that Sarah did not believe the promises of God regarding the child in Genesis 18:12, pages 24-25, but she did believe when Isaac was born in Genesis 21:1-8, pages 29-30. Therefore, between those two events God changed Sarah’s heart about believing His promises about a child for her. Therefore, the passage where God confronted her laughter seems to be the place where God changed her life and built faith in her (Genesis 18:9-18, pages 24-25). Therefore, we should examine that passage carefully to learn how God brought special faith to Sarah so that she would conceive a child of promise by faith. The Bible always presents the truth and God inspired the words of the Bible. Notice that by faith, Sarah received the power to conceive.
Faith Lesson Two: Laughing in Disbelief Must Stop before You Receive the Power of Faith
Sarah had to stop laughing in disbelief before she could conceive Isaac by the power of faith. God used a single confrontation with Sarah to stop her laughing in disbelief. God called Sarah out before her husband for her disbelief. God often calls out our sinful disbelief and requires us to stop that laughing in disbelief before we can receive the power of faith as a gift from God. Our own disbelief must be removed before we can receive the gift of faith God wants to give so that He may fulfill His plans for greatness in our lives. He wants us to participate in His great plans. We can only do so by receiving the the power of faith as a gift of God.
.Faith Lesson Three–God Will Overcome Your Fear before You Receive the Power of Faith
Sarah had to overcome the fear causing her lying in order to receive the power of faith. When God confronted her laughing disbelief, she immediately denied that she laughed. Nothing could be more stupid spiritually. She fell into two sins at once. First, she blasphemed the word of God because He said she laughed and essentially she called God a liar. Actually, Sarah was the liar because she laughed and denied it. Notice that her fear prompted her lying. Sarah knew she was in trouble for laughing. In the past, Sarah had lied about things at the direction of Abraham (“she is my sister”), and now lied because she feared the repercussions with God now confronting her laughing. Until we realize that God always knows all things and always tells the truth, and we live accordingly, and we speak accordingly, we have not yet come to the point in our lives where we can receive the power of God to believe in miracles. Second, Sarah let her fear overcome her faith in God. When we grasp that God already knows about my laughing disbelief, and is now confronting me with it, I will receive the rebuke about my faith from God. After I receive the rebuke (Sarah laughed in disbelief), then I can receive from God the power of faith as a gift from God. With the power of faith, I can do things beyond my years and natural abilities. For Sarah, she bore a child from God, designed to fulfill the covenant promises.
Faith Lesson Four–Laughing Last
Sarah laughed after she received the power of faith. When the LORD took note of Sarah and did as He promised, Sarah conceived and bore a son. Notice that God produced the son, and the Book of Hebrews emphasized that God gave her the faith to conceive. Sarah bore Isaac and Abraham named the child Issac, meaning laughter. Sarah’s initial laughter of disbelief, Abraham’s laughter of amusement and joy, and Sarah’s believing laughter will always be remembered with the name Issac. Yet, when Isaac was born, Sarah said that God has made me laughter for me. Furthermore, everyone who hears will laugh with Sarah. Not only was Isaac given to Sarah, and to all the people of the covenant, but God also gave laughter to Sarah and all the people of the covenant, because Isaac, the child of the covenant was born by a very old couple, blessed by God. Sarah certainly had the last laugh, with everyone who hears laughing with her. Sarah had received to power to conceive by faith and now laughed with everyone who hears of her.
Faith Lesson Five–Never Too Late
Sarah shows it is never too late to receive the power of faith. Sarah and Abraham had a pact of telling lies for years. They would say that Sarah was the sister of Abraham, because Abraham feared that kings would kill him to take Sarah from him. Both Sarah and Abraham let their fears control them at times. Sarah was ninety and Abraham was ninety nine when God revealed that Sarah was to bear Isaac, the child of the covenant. Abraham and Sarah both learned that it is never too late to have faith in God to do all things. He is God Almighty, and nothing is too difficult for God Almighty. Both Sarah and Abraham suffered from fears and counted upon lies instead of the power of God, but with God, it is never too late to leave fears and lies behind, and receive the power of God by faith from God to see God fulfill His wonderful plans for our lives.
Faith Lesson Six–Never Too Old
Sarah shows you are never too old to receive the power of faith. Sarah was ninety years old when King Abimelech wanted her to be his wife. Sarah looked good in her old age. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when God told Abraham about Isaac. We should learn that we are never too old for God to give us faith and help us overcome our fears and our lies, so that we receive from God the power of faith so that He can accomplish marvelous works in our lives, even when we think we are too old. With God, all things are possible, even for old people with severe fears and doubts and patterns of not trusting God in all things.
Faith Lesson Seven–Everyone Laughs
Sarah shows everyone laughs when you receive the power of faith. With the birth of Isaac, God made laughter for Sarah. Indeed, Sarah said that everyone who hears will laugh with me. Sarah continued: “Who would have said to Abraham and that Sarah would nurse children? Yet, I have borne him a son in his old age.” 7Genesis 21:7, pages 29-30. With Sarah, she had overcome her fears and her disbelief, and finally laughed as Abraham laughed, with joy and amusement. Everyone would laugh with joy when they heard the story of the old woman, past childbearing years, nursing her baby because gave her faith to conceive that child. Everyone will move forward in the joy of the LORD. 8Nehemiah 8:10, page 777–“the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Everyone who hears the story will laugh with me.
We can learn many lessons for living in faith in the plans of the God Almighty. God gives us faith, even when we think we are too old, or its too late, or both, to implement his plans for our lives. The power of God comes to live in our lives by faith in God. We may start laughing in disbelief, but when we receive the gift of faith from God, then we will laugh with joy over the power of God and everyone who hears the story will join us in such laughter of delight over the power of God working through the gift of faith from God in our lives.
References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Hebrews term here for “laughter” (“צְחֹק”) is the same root used in Genesis 18:12-15 when Sarah laughed.|
|2.||↑||The Hebrews phrase for “God has made laughter for me” (“צְחֹק, עָשָׂה לִי אֱלֹהִים”) emphasized that God provided the laughter for Sarah.|
|3.||↑||The Hebrew phrase for “everyone who hears will laugh with me” (“כָּל-הַשֹּׁמֵעַ, יִצְחַק-לִי”) indicates that they were joining her in laughing happily with her because God had worked a miralce with the old woman, past childbearing, to have a child to fulfill the covenant blessing of offspring.|
|4.||↑||Genesis 21:1-8, pages 29-30.|
|5.||↑||1 Corinthians 10:1-13, page 1793.|
|6.||↑||The Greek phrase here “even Sarah herself (“καὶ αὐτὴ Σάρρα“) received power to conceive (“στεῖρα δύναμιν “) highlights Sarah’s journey from laughing to believing (Hebrews 11:11, page 1882).|
|7.||↑||Genesis 21:7, pages 29-30.|
|8.||↑||Nehemiah 8:10, page 777–“the joy of the LORD is your strength.”|