The unfolding of God’s plan for righteousness by faith
If you are good – then I’ll …..Parents make promises to children – be good, do well, go to sleep, be kind to Granny, etc. The promises always seem to depend on being good, doing as we are told. Have you ever been on the end of that?
But that’s not the way God works!
There is no way we could ever match up to the fair requirements of a Holy God. His standards are beyond human attainment. Yet He loves us and wants to enjoy our company. So in our readings this week we discover the first glimmer of hope – a way in which failed humanity can be brought back into a right relationship with the God who created us in the first place.
We encounter the purpose of God in making humanity righteous through Faith. And it takes us back to Abraham, the Father/Founder of the Hebrew nation, from whom Jesus was descended.
vv 11-12 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
This chapter in the letter to the Hebrews is a formidable list of how people lived by faith – trusting God to fulfil His promises. Only two women are mentioned by name – Sarah and Rahab – and what an amazing pair they are! Rahab finds a place in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5, and Sarah – the wife of Abraham was in a sense the mother of Israel. Every Jew traced descent from Abraham, and hence Sarah. We first read of her in Genesis 11, ‘The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children.‘ Not a promising start to God’s plan to bless a family, a nation and the world through Abraham’s descendants! And then later in the story, in Genesis 18, Sarah laughed with unbelief at the idea of having a child at her old age, ‘ Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? ‘ This part of the story finishes in Genesis chapter 21, where we read ‘The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham
in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. ‘