Page 3 - March 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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o, this article isn’t really about  It is likely that Isaac’s praying  occurred
               Hagar. But the next generation  throughout those 20 years, not merely at
        Nfaced a strikingly similar situa-   the climax of them. His faith in the prom-
        tion. Surely Isaac knew that the Lord had  ises of God was steady and strong, and
        said to his father Abraham, “Through Isaac  he knew he had every right to pray for a
        your descendants will be counted” (Gen  child since it was in keeping with God’s
        21:12).  But Isaac was pushing 60 and still  promises. There were likely days when he
        had no children. The promised seed didn’t  and Rebekah were tempted to give up and
        look too promising. The barrenness that  take matters into their own hands as did the
        had afflicted his mother Sarai (11:30) now  previous generation, but they shunned the
        clung to his wife Rebekah (25:21). And the  Hagar approach, remaining remarkably
        blessing of Rebekah’s family, “May you  resolute in their faith.
        become the mother of thousands of ten   The result was that “the LORD answered
        thousands!” (24:60), was sounding more  his [Isaac’s] prayer, and his wife Rebekah
        and  more  like  mere  wishful  thinking.  became pregnant” (v21). And God’s answer
        Nearly 20 years had passed since Isaac and  came not with a son, but two.
        Rebekah were married but there was still   As believers now living in a different age,
        no crib in their tent. Were they tempted to   the same temptation to adopt the Hagar ap-
        give the Hagar approach a try?       proach is always just lingering around the
          Interestingly, the verses preceding our  corner. We don’t like waiting. And we tend
        narrative indicate just how fruitful Hagar’s  to view waiting as wasting time. The allur-
        son Ishmael had become. The non-chosen  ing call to move ahead of God tests every
        line ended up having 12 princes (25:12-18).  generation, but divine promises can only be
        The chosen line of Isaac couldn’t even get  fulfilled by the One who gives them. Wait-
        a line started.                      ing on the Lord is no fruitless exercise but
          If it looks like a replay of Genesis 16, it  draws us closer to the One who brings His
        is. The mention of Abraham throughout  promises to pass in His time. Isaac and Re-
        chapter 25 gets us thinking about God’s  bekah may have already learned from his
        promises to him and his seed. The refer-  parents that running ahead of God won’t
        ences to Hagar, Sarah and Ishmael (vv12-  make Him run any faster, for they still
        18) take us back to the faithless decision  had to wait 14 more years after Ishmael’s
        Abraham and Sarah made decades before.  birth for the promised son’s arrival. No one
        Isaac and Rebekah’s lengthy period of  changes God’s schedule, including you. So
        childlessness is also highlighted (vv20-21).  pray, wait, and let God do His work in His
        The resemblance to Genesis 16 is uncanny,  time. He doesn’t want a helping hand, only
        but with one admirable exception – Isaac’s  a trusting heart.
        response. He “prayed to the LORD on be-  ² We should also note Rebekah’s commendable
        half of his wife because she was childless”   practice of bringing her need to the Lord (25:22-
        (v21). Abraham didn’t pray; his son did.   23).
                                             ³ Isaac wins the honorable title of being the only
        ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the NET.  monogamous patriarch.

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