Saturday, November 02, 2019

2019.11.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 21:1-7

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom had Yahweh said that He would visit (Genesis 21:1a)? And for whom had Yahweh said that He would do something (verse 1b)? What had Sarah done in Genesis 21:2? What had set the time for this? What did Abraham call the name of his son in Genesis 21:3? Who had borne this son to him? Who had picked this name (cf. Genesis 17:9)? What did Abraham do to Isaac in Genesis 21:4? At what age (verse 4b)? Why do this at that age (verse 4c)? Whose age is highlighted in Genesis 21:5? How old was he? Who speaks in Genesis 21:6? Whom does she say has made her laugh? Whom else does she say that He is making to laugh? What question does she ask in Genesis 21:7? What answer to this question was already given in Genesis 21:1 and Genesis 21:2
God puts the reliability of His Word front and center in this passage.

It is as He had said that Yahweh visit’s Sarah (Genesis 21:1a).

It is as He had spoken that Yahweh does for Sarah (verse 1b).

It is at the set time of which God had spoken that Sarah bears a son (Genesis 21:2).

It is as God has commanded him that Abraham circumcises Isaac (Genesis 21:4).

And, in fact, we know that Isaac is “Isaac” because God commanded them to give him this name in Genesis 17:9.

And just in case we did not see that this was a central idea of the passage before us, the Holy Spirit actually puts the question to us on the lips of Sarah in Genesis 21:7, “Who would have said?” It’s not even one of the more common words for speaking, but rather one that focuses on the uttering itself—the sound coming out of the mouth.

Who would have uttered it? Yahweh Himself uttered it, and so it had to be fulfilled!

How do we respond to the Word of God? Faith, obedience, and joy.

Yes, circumcision is an act, but it is an act specifically tied to God’s covenant and its promises. It is the covenant sign. When one receives it, he receives the mark of the certainty of everything that is involved in God’s covenant. Additionally, when he brings his son to receive it, he is humbling himself before God and acknowledging that this child belongs to God, and that his only hope is God’s grace, and that this hope is an absolutely certain hope! We respond to God’s Word with faith.

But we also respond with obedience. Circumcising his son was a command. Naming him Isaac was a command. True obedience springs always from faith—obeying the commands of God because they are God’s commands. But true faith also always produces obedience. We must never deceive ourselves that we believe if we are not obeying; and we must never deceive ourselves that we are truly obeying, if that obedience is not springing from faith.

Finally, however, it is also of the essence of faith to rejoice. Faith is not merely a mental agreement that what God has said is true. It is a convinced response to the reality that is presented in God’s truth. For Sarah, this reality was now in her arms. Finally, she is laughing that believing laughter that we had seen in her husband back in Genesis 17:17! But it’s not just Sarah who shares in this laughter. We also are to laugh here in Genesis 21:6. We are one of “all who hear.” The God who shows Himself here to be a keeper of His Word is a God who has made also unto us many great and precious promises—all of which find their yes and amen in our Lord Jesus Christ!
How have you responded with faith to God’s covenant signs? In what areas of your life do you frequently get opportunities to respond with obedience? When do you most feel and express the joy of knowing that all that God has promised to you is true?
Suggested songs: ARP29 “You Sons of the Gods” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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