Exhibit of Grace

Genesis 21:1-7

1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.

Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Nickel

Have you ever experienced it when a nickel (5 cents) can still buy something? In the late 70s, there was a young boy in Northern Philippines who wandered and roamed around begging for a nickel. He carried on his shoulder a small bag full of nickels he begged. If you give him a dime (10 cents) or a quarter (25 cents), he won’t accept. He only collects nickels.

That pitiful situation of the boy who valued a nickel more than anything else is a picture of believers praying for things they consider as valuable but ignore the grace of God.

Many have been misled on how God’s grace works. We assume that God needs our help. Well, Abraham and Sarah had a similar assumption at one point. When God promised descendants to Abraham, they assume that God needed help to fulfill His promise. Remember what they did?

Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham. Abraham had a son with Hagar. That’s not what God promised? God’s promise of descendant to Abraham was for Sarah to give birth and be the mother of Abraham’s son.

1. Promise Fulfilled

1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 

Grace was exhibited when God fulfilled His promise to Abraham. But why did God fulfill His promise only when Abraham was very old? The term ‘old age’ implies lack of physical strength and ability of younger men.

Abraham and Sarah were very old when their son was born. They were presumed unqualified for the physical requirement of parenting. In their old age, no child care agency would accept them if they applied as foster parents. How much more becoming parent of their own child?

Yet, God exhibited His grace through Abraham and Sarah when at old age, they were physically helpless. God’s grace becomes more apparent when we admit that we are helpless and cannot do anything.

God’s grace at work proves that the Scripture is true and accurate.

In 1 Corinthians 1:27, 27God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

We heard it and we ignore God’s grace. Why? We use reasons and logic to support our ideas. Many people are easily deceived by bright ideas. But God prefers to accomplish things not by human’s bright ideas. He would rather accomplish His purposes using ideas that seems foolish to humans.

If you were to testify of God’s grace exemplified in your life, what would that be? Have you ever heard a promise from God that is very unique just for you only? Let’s learn from the wisest king from the Bible.

King Solomon

King Solomon prayed in 2 Chronicles 1:10-12, 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

It says in 1 King 10:23 & 27, 23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth… 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones.

God granted Solomon’s prayer, and Israel had peace and prosperity during Solomon’s reign. Do you wish to have peace and prosperity in this city? Pray for this city and the government for godly wisdom and understanding. It says in Jeremiah 29:7, Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Is it proper to claim this promise? As immigrants, we are like exiles. May God prosper this city? God’s grace is exhibited in fulfilled promises and in His perfect timing. God fulfills His promises at His very perfect timing.

2. Perfect Timing

Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.  When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his   son Isaac was born to him.

Right! Right! God fulfilled His promise. Abraham had a son. God’s grace was also exhibited when Abraham spontaneously obeyed to the Lord’s command, to circumcise his son. God commanded him in Genesis 17:12:

12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.

What is the significance of circumcision on the 8th day to the fulfillment of the promise of God? Why did God require circumcision of a child on the 8th day? Why not on the 7th day? In Judaism, 7 is great number for good fortune, and 8 is the number of completion.

God particularly designated the 8th day as completion or culmination of an event. He requires 7 days of cleansing. The unclean man is proclaimed ceremonially clean on the 8th day. The culmination of festivals is on 8th day.

When Abraham circumcised Isaac on the 8th day, it implied that he acknowledged that God’s promise of descendant was completely fulfilled.

And why did God fulfill His promise when Abraham was 100 years old? Why not when he was 99 or younger? Why 100? Do you agree the number 100 means perfect grade? Can you agree that God waited until Abraham was 100 years old to teach us that God fulfills His promise at His perfect timing? God’s timing is not less, not more. It’s just right and perfect!

God’s grace works perfectly at His designated timing. It’s futile to disregard or ignore God’s perfect timing. His perfect timing can’t be delayed or hurried. When God’s perfect time comes, He will answer our prayer.

Umbrella

I read a story of a church praying for rain. For many days, they were praying for rain. It was planting season but still there was no rain. Church members prayed that God would bring rain on that particular Sunday.

After Sunday worship service, the congregation agreed to gather again at their chapel after lunch and keep on praying for rain.

In the afternoon, the congregation went back to their church building and prayed. The older people noticed a little girl was carrying an umbrella, and they asked her, “Why you bring an umbrella?”

She answered, “We are praying for rain, aren’t we?

While they were praying that afternoon, a strong rain dropped and it rained all throughout the evening.

Many of us pray with lesser or no expectation of answer. We find it unbelievable that God would answer our prayers just like Sarah. When God told Abraham, “Sarah will give birth to a child at this time next year,” Sarah heard it, and laughed to herself. Why? She did not expect to get pregnant.

Sarah looked at herself and thought, “How possible can an 89-year old woman get pregnant? Naturally, she can’t at old age. She evaluated her capability but didn’t consider God’s power. She thought God needs help.

If God doesn’t need any help to accomplish His promise why do we need to obey? Actually, spontaneous obedience exhibits God’s grace at work in us. His grace compels us to obey Him. Outside His grace, we disobey and disregard the Lord. When His grace is at work in us, we have willingness to obey Him, and He accomplishes His plan for us and through us.

In Ephesians 2:10, 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

And in Philippians 1:6, 6He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Aren’t we pressured to live a Christian lifestyle? Why? We want to prove that we really are saved. We try fasting, attend worship services or religious seminars, read God’s word diligently, join the ministry or give God’s tithes but the result is not maturity. We grow proud of what we did.

In James 4:6-7, But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

When God’s grace is at work in us, we become humble. To practise of fasting, attend worship services or religious seminars, read God’s word diligently, join the ministry or faithfully give God’s tithes, those are spontaneous result when the grace of God is at work in our life.

When God’s grace at work in our life, the result is pleasant!

3. Pleasant Result

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Abraham named his son Isaac (he laughed) may remind them that they laughed when God told them that they will have son in their old age. Isaac was a reminder that the result of God’s grace is not anger or sorrow.

Laughter is emotional outburst for great feeling as oppose to sadness.

Sarah was not sad. She also expected everyone who hears about her son Isaac to laugh with her. Did Sarah laugh because unbelief or gladness?

Naturally, we thought that when a man and a woman sleep together, they will have a child. It is also common knowledge that when a woman reaches menopausal age, she can’t conceive anymore. Many presume that pregnancy is husband and wife effort or activity.

A husband and wife may diligently do their responsibility, but for a child to be formed that is a choice that only God can decide and do. Not a few couples are married for long time but don’t have children of their own.

God Decides

An elderly couple were very happy when their one and only son got married. They expected many grandchildren to inherit or carry their name.

A year passed by, their daughter-in-law got pregnant. They were very excited. They planned many things for their first grandchild. They also advised what-to-do and what-not-to-do during pregnancy period.

Sad to say, after few months, their daughter-in-law had miscarriage, and had a surgery in her ovary. Their doctor said that it was impossible for her to conceive again. But, the doctor added that it would be a miracle if she will conceive again.

The grandparents’ dream was lost. Excitement turned into sorrow.

When we came to know about the incident, the couple requested us to pray for the wife’s recovery from surgery. They also told us about the doctor’s assumption that only a miracle can help her to conceive again.

We prayed, church members, and friends prayed with them.

After two years, they were carrying their own healthy baby boy.

There are many wonderful things that God can do that science finds it hard and tough to explain. God’s grace defies human reason and logic.

God’s grace is exhibited in His promise fulfilled. He fulfills His promise at His perfect timing and the results of His grace at work is pleasant.

Well, not everyone may want to ask God for biological children but everyone should ask God for SPIRITUAL CHILDREN.

Your spiritual children are your disciples.

As parents are expected to teach their children, pray that God would give you spiritual children that you may teach/train with Christian lifestyle.

The more spiritual children you may have, the more rejoicing you will have (starting) in this life on earth until eternity.

Paul expressed his joy of making disciples in Philippians 4:1:

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Paul wrote the joy his mission team had in 1 Thessalonians 2:19:

19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

Making disciple can be individual or collective effort. Spiritual children or disciples help us realize our maturity in our faith in the Lord, really?

Christ is the vine. We are the branches. The Lord expects every branch to bear much fruit. The fruit of a disciple is disciple.

Practically, when branches of a grape vine sprouts, fruits come out on time. Fruits depend upon the maturity of branches. As the branch matures, its fruit grows bigger. Small branches can only hold small fruits.

A seasoned gardener cuts off all unfruitful branches and branches that may entangle with fruitful branches. To cut branches off is pruning process necessary to divert all saps or nutrients of the vine to branches with fruits which would help the fruits grow bigger to their expected sizes.

As a gardener expects branches to bear much fruit, similarly, God is the gardener and He expects us to bear much fruit.

Pray that you may be more fruitful and have more disciples.

Pray that you may grow mature to disciples others.

Don’t get entangle with fruitful branches because your fruits may suffer or fall on the ground.

Unfruitful branches are cut off by God, the Gardener.

><(((‘> ltsii/2018 <‘)))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.