Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

May 19, 2014

Preaching Through Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

The Birth of Isaac. Gen. 21:1-7.

 

 

Genesis 21:1-7 (KJV)

 

1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

 

 

Introduction

 

Someone has said, “The Christian life is a land of hills and valleys.” Solomon expressed the same idea when he wrote in Ecclesiastics 3:4 that “[there is] a time to weep, and a time to laugh.” Heaven is a place of unending joy; hell is a place of unending suffering; but while we are here on earth, we must expect both joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. You cannot have hills without valleys.

 

The coming of Isaac into their home brought both joy and sorrow to Abraham and Sarah. As you look at the persons involved in this important event, you can learn some valuable lessons about basic Christian doctrine and how to live the Christian life.

 

 

Message

 

1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

 

Few in the Old Testament were brought into the world with the expectations that accompanied the birth of Isaac. It was not due to any personal eminence that would be thrust upon him, such as would come to one born into a royal family, but because in his birth he was a type of Christ; that seed that the Holy God had promised, and holy men had for so long anticipated. In this account we observe the fulfillment of that promise in the conception and birth of Isaac. He was born according to the promise, and at the time He told Abraham and Sarah that it would happen. God is always on time, though His help may not come when we expect it, but it will certainly come at the time which He sets, and that is the best time.

 

You will notice that there is a very striking similarity between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ. I believe that the birth of Isaac was given to us to set before mankind this great truth before Christ came. Isaac was born at the set time God had promised, and Paul says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law” (Gal. 4:4).

 

Sarah had born the burden of childlessness for many years, a heavy burden indeed in that culture and at that time. People must have smiled when they learned that her husband’s name was Abraham, “father of a multitude.” He was the father of one son, Ishmael, but that was far from a multitude; and Sarah had never given birth. But now all of her reproach was ended, and they were rejoicing in the arrival of their son.

 

But the birth of Isaac involved much more than parental joy, for his birth meant the fulfillment of God’s promise. When God called Abraham, he promised to make him a great nation that would bless the whole world (Ge. 12:1-3{5]). Then He repeatedly promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendents (Ge. 17:7{6]) and to multiply them greatly (Ge. 13:15-17{7]). Abraham would be the father of the promised seed (Ge. 15:4{8]), and Sarah, (not Hagar) would be the mother (Ge. 17:19{9]; 18:9-15). The birth of Isaac reminds us that God keeps his promises, in His own way, and in His own time. In spite of their occasional failures, Abraham and Sarah believed God; and God honored their faith (Heb. 11:8-11{10]).

 

Isaac’s birth also meant the rewarding of patience. Abraham and Sarah had to wait twenty-five years for their son to be born, because it is “through faith and patience [we] inherit the promise” (Hab. 6:12; see Heb. 10:36{11]). Trusting God’s promises not only gives you a blessing at the end, but it gives you a blessing while you are waiting. Just as Olympic athletes develop their skills as they practice hard and long for the big event, so God’s children grow in godliness and faith as they wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises. Faith is a journey, and each happy destination is the beginning of a new journey. When God wants to build our patience, He gives us promises, sends us trials, and tells us to trust Him (James 1:1-8).

 

The birth of Isaac was certainly the revelation of God’s power. That was one reason why God waited so long. He wanted Abraham and Sarah to be “as good as dead” so that their son’s birth would be a miracle of God, and not a marvel of human nature (Rom. 4:17-21{12]). Abraham and Sarah experienced God’s resurrection power in their lives because they yielded to Him and believed His Word. Faith in God’s promises releases God’s power (Eph. 3:20-21{13]), “for no Word from God shall be void of power” (Luke 1:37).

 

Finally, the birth of Isaac was a step forward in the accomplishing of God’s purpose. The future redemption of a lost world rested with a little baby boy! Isaac would begat Jacob, and Jacob would give the world the twelve tribes of Israel; and from Israel the promised Messiah would be born. Down through the centuries, some of the “living links” in the chain of promise may have seemed insignificant and weak; but they helped to fulfill the purposes of God.

 

You may have wondered if what you do is really important to God and His work in this world; but it is, if you are faithful to trust His Word and do His will. The next time you feel defeated and discouraged, remember Abraham and Sarah; and remind yourself that faith and promise go together. God keeps His promises and gives you the power you need to do what He wants you to do. No matter how long you may have to wait, you can trust God to accomplish His purposes.

 

 

3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

 

We see here Abraham’s obedience to God’s instruction concerning Isaac. God had directed him to name the child Isaac, that is, “laughter,” and there was good reason for the name. “And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me (v. 6). When Abraham received the promise he laughed for joy (Ge. 17:17{1]). When Sarah received the promise she laughed with distrust and doubt. When God gives us the blessings that we had begun to doubt would ever come to us, we ought to remember and feel ashamed of our sinful distrust of God’s power and faithfulness, while we were seeking them. In the future Isaac would be laughed at by Ishmael, and perhaps, with a name that means “laughter’ he may have expected it. God’s favorites are the laughing-stocks of the world. The promise, which he was not only the son of, but the heir of, was to be the joy of all the saints in all ages, and would fill their mouths with joy, or laughter.

 

 

4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

 

Here we have the impression that God’s mercy made upon Sarah. It filled her with joy. When blessings have been long delayed, they are the more delightful when they do come. It adds to the enjoyment of any blessing when our friends and family can enjoy them along with us. Others would rejoice in this instance of God’s power and goodness, and would be encouraged to trust in him; (Ps. 119:74{2]).

 

There are at least 11 births in Scripture in which God Himself intervened: Jacob and Esau (Ge. 25:21); Reuben (Ge. 29:31); Issachar (Ge. 30:17-18); Joseph (Ge. 30:22-24); Samson (Judg. 13:2-5); Obed (Ruth 4:13); Samuel (1 Sam. 1:19-20); the son of a woman from Shunem (2 Ki. 4:14-17); John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-13, 57); Jesus (Luke 1:26-38; 2:7).

 

 

7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

 

There are some very remarkable truths here that we need to lay hold of. First of all, the birth of Isaac was a miraculous birth. It was contrary to nature. In the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul writes that Abraham “. . . considered not his own body now dead . . . neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb’ (Rom. 4:19). Out of death, God brings forth life: this is a miraculous birth. We need to call attention to the fact God did not flash the supernatural birth of Christ on the world as something new. He began to prepare men for it, and therefore, way back here at the birth of Isaac, it must be a birth that they really have nothing to do with.

 

Sarah held in her arms God’s gift to the world. It was an unforgettable moment of thanksgiving joy, and sacred dedication. This little baby filled Sarah with wonder. God’s blessings to his covenant people far surpass both their own and other’s thoughts and expectations; who would imagine that God would do so much for those who deserve so little, for those who are even more deserving of His displeasure (Eph. 3:20{3]; 2 Sam. 7:18-19{4]). Who would have thought that God would send His Son to die for us, His Spirit to sanctify us, and His angels to watch over us? Who could have imagined that such great sins would be pardoned, such inferior services accepted, and such worthless worms taken into covenant and communion with the great and holy God?

 

 

 

scripture reference and special notes

 

{1] (Ge. 17:17) Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

 

{2] (Ps. 119:74)They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

 

{3] (Eph. 3:20) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think , according to the power that worketh in us,

 

{4] (2 Sam. 7:18-19) Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD?

 

{5] (Ge. 12:1-3) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed .

 

{6] (Ge. 17:7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

 

{7] (Ge. 13:15-17) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

 

{8] (Ge. 15:4) And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir ; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

 

{9] (Ge. 17:19) And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

 

{10] (Heb. 11:8-11) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

 

{11] (Heb. 10:36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

 

{12] (Rom. 4:17-21) As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

 

{13] (Eph. 3:20-21) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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