This is the 3rd entry in a Series that walks through my Sermon preparation for this Sunday (2007/11/25). If you want to read them in another order choose one of the following:
So we have come to the thought that God had a promise for Sarah and Abraham: Sarah will have a child in her old age. Let’s actually look through the texts of the OT lesson and see what we can glean. (click on the lesson link to see the passages at BibleGateway).
The Old Testament Lesson: Gen 12.1-3; 15.1-6; 18.10-15; 21.1-7
Instead of trying to break the whole thing down verse by verse into a complicated exegetical structure, I think it is best just to get the flow of the narrative.
- God chooses Abram and makes a covenant (family bond) with him.
- The covenant includes promises from God
- to give Abram land
- to make him the father of nations
- to ensure that blessing goes with Abram and his family and curse goes with all who oppose the annointed (chosen) of the Lord
- if anyone wants to be blessed, they must come through Abram to the blessing
- Abram has no son to fulfill the covenant (God’s responsibility)
- God promises to give a natural descendant, in fact, as many as the stars
- Abram believed God’s promise.
- In contrast – Abram/ now Abraham’s barren and old wife Sarai/now Sarah does NOT believe.
- The Lord confronts her unbelief.
- To Abraham and Sarah’s surprise and delight, the Lord did exactly what he had promised to do.
- The result was pleasure for his people.
In the process, I noted that there was extraneous material in what I was working on above. In the first few points, I did not need the material about land and blessing and curse. This is great stuff, but has nothing to do with my sermon. I underlined the part that had to do with the birth of the son, and the prophecy of families descending.
In the last section we paraphrased the story. Now, it is time to look at instances of small themes through out the literature with pinpointed verse numbers. I will ignore themes that I mentioned – land and blessing/curse.
versified closer look
12.1 Abram loses his family
12.2 Abram is promised a new family
15.2-3 Abram is still childless
15.4-5 God reiterates the promise and makes it more specific:
—–It will be your OWN son
—–He will give you MANY nations of descent
15.6 The faith of Abram is noted as the right response to God’s promise
18.11-12 The barren Sarah disbelieves and LAUGHS at God
18.14 There is an appointed time – God has already planned when he will come to fix it
18.15 God knows our unbelief
21.1-2 God does what he said he would do
21.3 Isaac is the name that turns unbelief and despair into surprise and joy.
21.6-7 God uses our “waiting” to teach others what HE is capable of doing.
21.6-7 God uses our “waiting” to teach others to wait with hope.
**********AT THIS POINT **********
If I were to pick out from immediate glancing over these verses, I would give you these guesses at where I am going with the sermon; some of this is intuitive and some of it may be based on my intention in choosing the verses in the first place. Note, I am NOT trying at this point to make statements of equal value in outlining the final product, only the most important things I see:
- God’s promises come to pass in his appointed timing
- Waiting displays God’s power
- Waiting gives others hope
- Receiving the Promise makes the wait worth it
- sudden thought (“beauty for ashes…laughter for mourning”, “they who sow in tears shall reap in joy,” “blessed are they who…-mourn, for they shall laugh” – look for other beatitudes that may be useful.
I had hoped to get away from this OT post without going to a full outline, but I am seeing such an easy one from the list immediately above. So I will put down a preliminary outline. Frequently, when I do – the final product looks nothing like what I think is going to be AWESOME in the beginning. Sometimes I end up grappling over 4 different and all very good outlines. Here goes:
I. We must wait for God’s time because it is the perfect time.
A. It may seem like a terribly long time, even TOO long.
B. The time is already appointed according to God’s plan, for God’s visitation.
II. We must wait for God’s time because it is a powerful message.
A. God’s power is glorified (people see what only God can do).
B. God’s power is trusted (people put faith in what they have seen).
III. We must wait for God’s time because it is a pleasant surprise.
A. God knows our unbelief
B. God still turns our unbelief into surprise and joy.
In the process of reviewing each section I am going to keep carrying this bottom margin over to each review. This contains thoughts I need for later that I have to jot down somewhere. As you can see, I already have some application points below.
What trusting God for the future does NOT mean -
- Claiming any ideal thing that you want and expecting that if you pray it will work out.
- Listening to someone else promise you what God is going to do. They MIGHT be right, but you don’t know that.
- Reiterate that we do have a promise