AN UNEXPECTED GIFT
April 6, 2019 | Genesis 17:1–8; 15–22
This Month’s Issue
What will you be doing when you are 99? While the average life expectancy has increased to 76 for men and 81 for women, most of us cannot begin to imagine what happens in today’s passage. God appears to Abram, just before his 100th birthday, and tells him that he will be the “father of many nations” (v. 4).
I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
God precedes that surprising announcement with a few statements. First, He declares that He is “God Almighty” (v. 1). The name God Almighty comes from the Hebrew El-Shaddai, meaning “sufficient” or “enough.” Another definition suggests that we serve a “bountiful” or “exuberant” God. Before God makes this announcement to Abram, He reminds him that He is more than enough to supply Abram’s needs and to give more than expected.
Second, He instructs Abram to “walk before me faithfully and be blameless” (v. 2). Abram should continue to walk with God and follow Him. At age 99, his life was not over—God had plans to bless him with an extended family.
God gave Abram a new name, Abraham (v. 5). Sarai became Sarah (v. 15). Their new names marked this important moment, as God promised the unexpected, to make them the father and mother of “nations” (vv. 6, 16).
What an astonishing gift: to learn in their old age that they would receive what seemed impossible—the gift of a child. Their dream of one child was multiplied beyond their imagination. Notice the response of the couple to God’s promise. In verse 17, Abraham fell down and laughed! Certainly this was a shocking and unbelievable promise. God does not work in ways we expect, but He is able and willing to bless us beyond our imagination.
APPLY THE WORD
Do you believe God can do big things, even beyond what you imagine? Abram and Sarai never expected that God would bless them with a child in their old age. Most of us tend to ask God only for things that seem realistic. Pray to the Lord God Almighty, El Shaddai, asking Him for the deepest desires of your heart. He is bountiful and sufficient!