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There Is A Future With God

Frontline Devotion for February 19, 2018 (Season of 'Lent')

Genesis 21:1-7

By: Pastor Fritz Foltz

Author Photo

Genesis 21:1-7

The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, 'God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.' And she said, 'Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.'

Sarah laughs. Actually she laughs two times in the account of the Abraham covenant, one of the most important stories in the Bible. Remember this is the foundation story for all three Western world religions. The Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims all recognize that Abraham is their father. The promise God makes to him forms the basis for all three faiths.

Using the laugh is a great way to make clear the nature of this and all divine- human relationships. Sarah first laughs when she hears the three angels promise her children will be chosen and blessed so they can be the instruments that God can use to heal his creation. She laughs at this point, because she and Abraham are old, far too old to have children. They had given up any hope for a family long, long ago. She thinks the angels must have stopped at the wrong tent or else have come to deliver a cruel joke. It is laughable to think their family could grow into a huge nation that would save all of humanity.

But this is God who can create from nothing. Sarah does give birth to Isaac, inspiring Sarah to laugh a second time. This time she breaks forth in pure joy and the whole world laughs with her. The child is a blessing for her and her husband but also for all people.

I imagine you might worry like I do about what the future holds for our children and even more for our grandchildren. So much of what is being done is so selfish as to be self-destructive: our failure to address climate change, deficit spending, economic exploitation, and especially nuclear proliferation. Right when we have to get serious about diplomacy that would address the reality that soon every nation will have nuclear weapons, we find the leaders of nations still bragging that they have more power than the other guy. Do we have a future with such childlike behavior?

Sarah's laughter reminds us humanity has been here before. There are all sorts of virgin and old age births in the Bible, and they happen right when people are asking the same questions we are about the future. Each time people have first laughed in derision at God's promises and then laughed in joy when he fulfills his words. Let us trust God's promises and beyond that work with him in showing the world a better way to live.

Let us pray: Give us faith in your word, Father, that we might not despair but work with you in saving this world. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.