Saturday, October 31, 2009

Focus on a Family


One of the truly meaningful, rewarding and fascinating experiences in life is to witness the birth of a child. I had the privilege to be able to see all three of our children come into the world…and it was life-changing each time -- literally and figuratively. The birth of a child is a wonderful miracle from the Lord. Going back to the Old Testament, once again, we understand how amazing it must have been for two parents, aged 90 and 100 to witness the birth of their child! This adds even greater meaning to “miracle of birth.” When Isaac, whose name means, “laughter,” comes into the world, he changes his parents’ lives. His coming would bring both sorrow and joy to Abraham and Sarah. When we consider the persons who are involved in this critical event in Israel’s history, we learn some valuable lessons about life and relationships.

The birth of Isaac reminds us that God keeps His promises…in His own way and in His own time. This is a miracle of God, in every way, and not some marvel of human nature. In spite of their occasional failures, Abraham and Sarah believe God, and God honors their faith. Isaac’s birth also means the rewarding of patience. Abraham and Sarah have waited 25 years for their son. Faith is a journey of love and trust. This is all a step forward in the accomplishing of God’s purpose, as it also signifies in its own way, that the future redemption of a lost world would also rest on another baby boy. Isaac would beget Jacob who would, in turn, give the world the twelve tribes of Israel, from whom the promised Messiah, ultimately, would be born.

One final challenge and principle from which we can learn --Isaac is born free, while his half-brother Ishmael is the son of a slave. Freedom is a key theme in Paul's letter to the Galatians, and one of the key blessings in the Christian life. It means to experience all and to do all that God has for us in Christ. Some believer’s choose to live like self-willed Ishmael, when they have been called to live like Isaac. But, no one is more free than the child of God who delights in God’s will and does it from the heart!

In many ways, this story of Abraham’s family describes our existence. By the grand and miraculous hand of God, we enter into this world…free! At the same time, we experience the flesh and sin as we grow, much like Ishmael. Yet, like Isaac, we are set free, once again…only by the blood of Jesus Christ in order to be able to experience freedom and life! The next time you feel defeated or discouraged, remember this family…Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael and Hagar, and that faith and promises go together. The ultimate lesson that we can learn is that God’s provision is over all. He loves and cares for His children. There were different promises given to each of these individuals, but they were fulfilled by the Lord in His own way and in His own time. We must trust God and His provision in our lives…living according to His Spirit and not the flesh. In this, we experience joy! Blessings,


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