2000-08-19 - The Birth of Isaac a Miracle
Messiah His Final Call to Israel, Part 3
In this devotional series we are laying the groundwork for "God's plan for peace in the Middle East" as taught from the Holy Scriptures. There has been much talk of peace in Israel lately, yet the Bible does not teach that peace treaties or "land for peace" are the events that will bring about true and lasting peace. The Bible does teach that the Messiah will bring lasting peace to Israel--but that peace is conditional upon His will for Israel as a nation and their submission to it. In order that we might get a better feel for this often misunderstood or confusing situation and that we may pray for the peace of that nation in unison with God's plans and purposes, we would do well to cover some mountain peaks of Jewish history. In doing so we may better understand the Jewish people and we can clearly see exactly what the Bible says will bring the longed for and lasting peace to Israel and the world.
"In Genesis, chapter 18 is found an account of Jehovah's appearing to Abraham. In explaining the unusual visit, the sacred writer states that Abraham lifted up his eyes "And lo, three men stood over against him..." Abraham received these strangers in regular oriental style. Who were these men? By reading the entire account (Genesis chapters 18 and 19), we learn that one of these visitors was one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, who in the text is called Jehovah. The other two are called angels. In view of these facts, it is certain that Jehovah and the angels assumed the form of men in order to communicate with Abraham.
Genesis 18:9-15 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
Since Abraham and Sarah were stricken in years and both were past the age of parenthood, Sarah laughed at the thought--in unbelief. When, however, she was confronted with the seriousness of her doubts, she denied having laughed--to her discredit. Many good people today, when they, like Sarah, are faced with a grave situation, deal carelessly with the truth. Few people will stand up and be counted. In reply, Jehovah said, "Is anything too hard for Jehovah?" At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son."
God miraculously fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah, as seen in the following quotation:
Genesis 21:1-7 And Jehovah visited Sarah as he had said, and Jehovah did unto Sarah as he had spoken. And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh. Every one that heareth will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should give children suck? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
According to the Genesis account, Isaac's birth was the result of a miracle. Isaiah the Prophet confirms this position. "But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine (Issiah 43:1). According to this verse God performed a biological miracle upon the bodies of Abraham and Sarah, which made possible the birth of Isaac. His birth was as much the result of a miracle as creation itself. " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). In the beginning there was no material universe. Then God put forth the act which is spoken of as creation. The result of this act was the coming into existence of the physical, material universe. In Isaiah 43:1-7 the Prophet discusses the faithful remnant of Israel of the end time, and speaks of "Everyone that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made." Each one of the remnant will be used in some special manner to glorify and honor God. Concerning these same ones, the Prophet in verse 21 speaks of them as "The people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise."
Isaiah 43:1-7 But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am Jehovah thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior; I have given Egypt as thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in thy stead. Since thou hast been precious in my sight, and honorable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men in thy stead, and peoples instead of thy life. Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made.
In Romans, chapter 4, Paul discusses the case of Abraham and the birth of Isaac. When the bodies of Abraham and Sarah were as good as dead so far as procreation is concerned, Abraham believed God's promise that he should have a son. He, therefore, staggered not in unbelief, but was assured by his unswerving faith that what God had promised He was able to fulfill.
Romans 4:16-25 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, A father of many nations have I made thee) before him whom he believed, even God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were. Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, So shall thy seed be. And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him; but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.
God went to great length to establish the Jewish race. A miracle in fact was performed to create this nation. He has always had a great purpose for them -- a people who would set forth His praise. The Lord did not allow them to slip into oblivion (only to be remembered through the pages of history like many other nations) after the destruction and the dispersion which took place in 70 AD of our common era under the Roman General Titus. The Lord foretold in His Word that He would regather Israel again in the last days from the nations He scattered them. He asks us to pray for the peace of that nation (Psalm 122:6). What great purpose has the Almighty revealed in His Holy Word for the people He has regathered to His land? Next week we will look at another Mountain peak in Jewish history-- Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
In His Service,