God promised Abraham that he would bear a son in his old age

God promised Abraham that he would bear a son in his old age, (the son of promise), although that was, humanly speaking, impossible! However, before that promise could be fulfilled, God tested Abraham, for 25 long years, and also gave him the covenant of circumcision to obey, Genesis 17.

Before that time, in Genesis 12, (when there was a famine in the land that Abraham was sojourning in), he went down to Egypt, without God’s leading or consent, and would have lost his wife because Pharaoh took her, had not God intervened and delivered them.

Further, Abraham after waiting for 10 long years for the fulfillment of God’s promise, on listening to the voice of his wife he had a child through Hagar their Egyptian maid, Genesis 16, which was not at all the will of God! Nevertheless, inspite of all Abraham’s mistakes, God did not forsake him and neither did Abraham justify himself or turn back from following God.

On the contrary, 13 years after the birth of Ishmael, when God gave Him the covenant of circumcision, Abraham immediately obeyed God concerning the same. God then visited him, Genesis 18, and informed him that he was soon to receive the ‘son of promise’, through his own body, just as God had told him years before.

He was also informed about the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and knowing that his relative Lot lived there, he dutifully interceded for him. His intercession brought amazing results, as angels were sent specifically to Lot’s house to help deliver all in his family who obeyed their instructions,
Genesis 19. Once again Abraham and Sarah were tested when King Abimelech took Sarah to be his wife, Genesis 20.

Here Sarah being tested for the second time in this area, comes through with flying colours and God vidicates her openly on that account! The timeline being completed and the tests being passed, and mistakes atoned for and consequences borne, they are now ready to receive their son of promise, Genesis 21, just as God said they would. And yes, though God would keep His word and increased Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael too, yet, it was made very clear that the son of the bond woman, Ishmael, could not inherit the promises together with the son of promise, Issac, Genesis 21:10-13.

Similarly, we too have a number of promises given to us under the old and new covenant. However, many of those promises are conditional and can be fulfilled only as we keep our part before God can fulfill His. It is through faith and patience alone that we can inherit these promises, Hebrews 6:11,12.
It was by believing and persevering that Abraham inherited the promises, Hebrews 6:15, And so by persevering, Abraham inherited the promise.

During this time of perseverance, God tests us in many ways and refines our character, making us realise our mistakes and ensuring that we turn from the same, such that in the fullness of time, when we experience the fulfillment of the promises in our lives, our character is also refined simultaneously, and so we are able to handle the blessing that the promise brings, without departing from the Living God.

May each of us exhibit the faith and patience that we require to receive the many promises God has given us in His Word, (which are ‘yes’ and ‘Amen’ in Christ, 2 Corinthians 1:20), without being sluggish about the same, but instead making sure to fulfill the conditions put in place and not give up until we see the fulfillment of the same in our lives, being fully convinced that what God promised He is also able to do, Romans 4:21.

Rowena Thomas
Mumbai, India.