Laughter and Tears
Gracious God, sometimes I feel weary of fighting my way through another day. Give me strength to live faithfully today.
Read Genesis 17:15-27
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, The word of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the mother of our Lord).
Two years ago millions of TV viewers watched a wedding in which the bride became a princess. Now they are wondering how soon she will become the mother of a prince. Sarai had been Abraham’s princess through many years, as the old version of her name implied. The new one, Sarah, simply brings out the meaning more strongly (15). God blesses her, treating her as an equal partner with Abraham in the covenant (16). There will be a great nation of which she will be mother and queen, though this lies in the future after her death (Isa. 51:2). It is a truly affirming moment, if only she could believe it, but the evidence of all those painful years of childlessness is against it.
Isaac is to be called “he laughs.” Laughter goes with many moods: embarrassment, scorn, excitement and joy. Abraham is a mixture of emotions as he responds to God’s words (17,18). He falls down in wonder and worship. Maybe excited by the thought of a miracle for Sarah, he laughs, but then his thoughts move to Ishmael. For thirteen years he has watched and enjoyed his son who is reaching manhood, assuming he will be the heir. Some moments of faithless folly in ch. 16 mean that Abraham will forever be torn between two loves: for his princess, or for the son she does not share.
So Abraham prays about this conflict and begs a blessing for Ishmael. He is assured his son will thrive. As he then moves into the circumcision ceremony we see Abraham’s name linked with Ishmael’s three times over (23-26). The narrator wants us to see the close bond between father and son. Among the men of the household they lead the way together. But what might Sarah have been thinking?
Be encouraged by who you are to God (1 Pet. 2:9) and thank God for the close bond between you.
Loving Father, I’m grateful for the bond of love You have forged between us. May it grow stronger every day.
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