March 16 – Faithful – Minimal Faith in a Maximally Faithful God

Read Genesis 17:1-18:15

“And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” (Hebrews 11:11 NIV)

Really?  Sarah considered God faithful?  She really believed that God would bring a baby boy from her aged body and from the seed of her even older husband?  “Faith” is not the one word descriptor I would have placed over her life.  On the contrary, after years of barrenness, she and Abraham had done several things that seem to depict more doubt than faith.

  • After years of waiting, Abraham initially concluded that a servant in his house would become his heir. But God’s plan was different.  Although Eliezer seemed to Abraham to be the closest thing to a son he would ever have, God assured him that a son would come from his own flesh and blood (Gen. 15:1-5)
  • Next, Sarah’s doubt became obvious. She suggested that Abraham sleep with her slave Hagar in order to build a family.  Perhaps she thought that she was the problem.  But, even though Ishmael would give rise to a nation, that nation would not be God’s chosen people (Gen. 16:1-4; 17:15-18).
  • Finally, when God confirmed that Isaac was to be born to the aged couple, they both laughed. In their minds, they were both too old to bear children.

Even though doubt seems to have characterized her, still, at some point, Sarah’s doubt must have turned to faith.  Or, perhaps, mingled with her doubt was a glimmer of faith-filled hope that said, “Wow!  Maybe God will keep His promise!”  While I am not sure how much faith she had, Hebrews tells us she possessed at least some!  That is encouraging for people like me who sometimes find themselves waffling between doubt and faith.  Perhaps it is, as has often been suggested, more the object of faith than overwhelming quantities of it.  After all, faith the size of a mustard seed is all that is required to “move mountains” (Matt. 17:20).

And, more importantly, the God…your God…who is faithful, keeps His promises!

Steve Kern

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