We have all heard it said that God has a sense of humor. It almost seems like He loves to make promises that appear to be impossible to fulfill. A perfect example of this can be found with the three forefathers of our faith: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He promised Abraham a son when we was 100 years old! Not only that, He made a generational promise to Abraham that his descendants would outnumber the stars. This promise would be fulfilled through his son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob, and so on. But there was a common thread through these generations. All of them had experienced hardship with conceiving.
Everybody has a story
Sarah was 90 years old when God promised her and Abraham a son! Yikes!
“Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?’” Genesis 18:11-12
Rebekah waited 20 years when her and Isaac finally had the twins Jacob and Esau. That’s a long wait!
“Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” Genesis 25:21
Rachel had a long wait due to some “tricky” circumstances. Jacob, her husband, was tricked and married the wrong girl (Leah), then had to work a long time to finally marry the right girl (his beloved Rachel). And after all of that, Rachel and Jacob still waited a long time to see the promise fulfilled in their covenant.
“When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31
“Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.” Genesis 30:22-24
And He did! God gave Jacob and Rachel another son named Benjamin. But tragically, Rachel passed away giving birth to this second, promised son.
As if that wasn’t enough trouble to unravel faith in the promise, later, Jacob and Rachel’s firstborn, Joseph, was sold by his jealous brothers. Jacob mourned and grieved for years because he believed that Joseph was dead. He had already lost Rachel, the one he loved, in childbirth. Then he “lost” the firstborn son of that relationship. So all he had remaining from his beloved relationship was he and Rachel’s second son, Benjamin. After all these trials, Jacob’s faith began to weaken. His trust was destroyed. He became so protective of Benjamin, that when Joseph (then unrecognizable to his other brothers) called for Jacob and Benjamin to join him in Egypt, he refused to let Benjamin go. He was possessive of Benjamin and refused to move because fear of another loss gripped his heart.
God is Still In Control
But God was still in control even through all the mess and hurt and confusion. His plans were so big! He used Joseph to save nations in the middle of a perilous drought. In fact, the very lives of Joseph’s jealous brothers, his father Jacob, and his brother Benjamin were all saved because God had set up provision through Joseph. This provision was completely unseen and unimagined by Jacob. He had no idea how God was sustaining his family and the promise.
But as I read on, what struck my heart was that when Jacob and Joseph were reunited and it came time for Jacob to die, he laid his hands on Joseph’s two sons and blessed them before he passed. The promise had been restored and there in front of him, he got to see the “double portion” of his beloved son and the hope of future generations that would go on to fulfill the promise to his grandfather, Abraham, that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky!
“He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5
Many times, we find ourselves in the place of Jacob. We know the promises God has spoken over us. We’ve heard, we’ve believed, and we are blessed by believing. But then circumstances of loss or trial happen that seem to make the fulfillment of the promise seem impossible. These circumstances might even leave our faith so fragile that we refuse to move our feet toward the promise. We settle to just stay put and keep a tight, possessive hand on what we have remaining. But if Jacob never gathered the courage to move his feet, he would have never seen Joseph again or Joseph’s offspring who were the 5th generation of the carriers of God’s original promise! So take courage! He has overcome the world! Move your feet! Start walking in the direction He’s leading and you’ll surely see the fulfillment of that beautiful promise He made to you.
Join us for prayer every night during the fast from 6pm – 8pm at Life Church