When God Brings a Long-Awaited Answer to Prayer
(Genesis 18, Luke 1, 1 Samuel 1)
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Genesis 18:10-14 (God’s Word Translation)
10 The Lord said [Speaking to Abraham], “I promise I’ll come back to you next year at this time, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah happened to be listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old. Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 And so Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “Now that I’ve become old, will I enjoy myself again? What’s more, my husband is old!”
13 The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child now that I’m old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?
In this passage, we read the account of the Lord delivering the message to Abraham that His prior promise of progeny (Gen 17:1-2) would finally be coming to pass. Abraham and Sarah had been waiting on this moment for many years, as Sarah had been barren.
An exerpt from “Isaac – Son of Abraham” by Jack Zavada, found at ThoughtCo.com:
Isaac was a miracle child, born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age as the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham to make his descendants a great nation.
Three heavenly beings visited Abraham and told him in a year he would have a son. It seemed impossible because Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 100! Sarah, who was eavesdropping, laughed at the prophecy, but God heard her.[a]
We find a similar scene unfold in Luke 1:6-7,13&18 (God’s Word Translation)
6 Zechariah and Elizabeth had God’s approval. They followed all the Lord’s commands and regulations perfectly. 7 Yet, they never had any children because Elizabeth couldn’t become pregnant. Both of them were too old to have children.
8 Zechariah was on duty with his division of priests. As he served in God’s presence, 11 ...an angel of the Lord appeared to him.
13 The angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you will name him John.
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “What proof is there for this? I’m an old man, and my wife is beyond her childbearing years.”
God brings a long-awaited answer to Zechariah’s prayer as he is performing his priestly duties inside the Holy Place (Luke 1:9) within the Temple, of all places! Yet, Zechariah still displayed unbelief. Like Sarah, Zechariah was focused on human reasoning and the impatient nature of our conscious thought processes. Surely God would not deviate from the natural course of life to truly bring a supernatural answer!
This lack of faith in God’s ability and desire to do the miraculous is far more prevalent in the church body of today. We seem to have fallen for the enemy’s ruse that human society has outgrown God’s miracles… that His Power and His Hand have somehow been shortened (though, some would strongly argue that this is by God’s choice)… that we are left without God’s supernatural intervention in our lives. What happened to the faith of Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 1, where she accepted, without question, the answer to her many, agonized prayers for a child?
1 Samuel 1:6-7,11-12,17-18 (God’s Word Translation)
6 Because the Lord had made her [speaking of Hannah] unable to have children, her rival Peninnah tormented her endlessly in order to make her miserable. 7 This happened year after year.
... 11 She made this vow, “Lord of Armies, if you will look at my misery, remember me, and give me a boy, then I will give him to you for as long as he lives. A razor will never be used on his head.” 12 While Hannah was praying a long time in front of the Lord, ...17 Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your request.”
18 ...Then the woman went her way and ate. She was no longer sad.
What prayers and promises have you given up hope on? Have you been praying for the birth of a ministry or the “birth” of a family member / friend / coworker accepting Christ? When God does bring an answer, will you retort with the disbelief of Sarah and Zechariah, or will you continue to believe in the supernatural nature of God and His willingness to demonstrate His power in your life through human-considered “impossibility”?
[a] Isaac – Son of Abraham by Jack Zavada, found at ThoughtCo.com