When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.' Then Abram fell on his face..." Genesis 17:1-3
God appears to Abram 13 years after Ishmael was born. God begins to tell Abram about the fruitfulness and success of his descendents. All the while Abram thinks God is talking about the offspring through Ishmael, so Abram bows in reverance and God changes his name to Abraham. This part may seem familiar until…
“And God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife…I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of people shall come fom her.’” v.15-17 God basically says, No Abraham, not your son Ishmael, a son through your wife, Sarai.
How does Abraham, the one who “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” 15:6, James 2:23 respond? “Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, 'Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?' And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before you!’ v. 17-18 Abraham laughs. He actually laughs at the God of Israel, the God of the universe. Thinking that God would not be able to enable Sarai to get pregnant, then to top it off, he offers God advice.
The infamous, faith-filled Abraham is so arrogant to not only not believe God, but to instruct Him. Yet, he is still spoken of as the one who believed God. This shows me our past failures do not have to define us. Rather, we are defined by Jesus’ blood, and Jesus' blood never fails. And “a righteous man falls seven times but rises again.” (Prov. 24:16) A life well spent is not hindered failing, but rather turns to Jesus asking Him for strength to keep walking. Confess and surrender is a life well spent and is a life of intimacy with God.
* What specific areas are you responding like Abraham in his quickness to submit to God when things go how he expected but laugh and instruct God when they don’t?
* In what circumstances are you letting failure define you?
* What is keeping you from turning to Jesus and letting Him give you His strength to rise again?