The Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.
–Genesis 21:1-2

What are we going to invest in doing the one thing that God left us here to do—sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible? To help us answer that question, we are going to revisit a familiar story in the Old Testament.

I believe that for every person, there comes an event in life that reveals who they really are. For Abraham Lincoln, it was the Civil War. For George W. Bush, it was 9/11. For Richard Nixon, it was Watergate. For Noah, it was the Flood. For David, it was the night with Bathsheba. For Abraham, it was the defining event in Genesis 22. The chapter begins, “Now it came after these things.” After what things? Let me give you a brief review of Abraham’s life.

When Abraham was 75 years old, God said to him, “I want you to leave everything familiar to you and go to a land that I will show you. I promise that I will not only give you and your descendants this land, but I will also make you the father of a great nation, and through you and your descendants all the nations of the world will be blessed.” Abraham obeyed God, and he went to the land that God had promised to him and his descendants.

Ten years later, there was still no child, no great nation. Abraham and his wife thought, “Maybe God meant for us to fulfill this promise on our own.” Sarah said to Abraham, “The Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her” (Genesis 16:2). That union with Hagar produced a child–Ishmael. For the next 13 years, Abraham thought Ishmael was the answer to God’s promise. But when Abraham was 99, God appeared again to Abraham and said, “As for Sarai your wife … Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (17:15-16). Abraham was dumbfounded. He thought, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (v. 17). Nevertheless, God did what He promised.

“Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac” (21:2-3). Finally, God gave Abraham the son he had been waiting for, the one who would fulfill God’s promise. “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days” (vv. 33-34). You can hear the sigh of contentment as Abraham sat under his tree: “Finally, I can enjoy what God has promised to me.” Little did Abraham know that the greatest test of his life was just around the corner.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When God Asks the Unthinkable” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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