January 7

Genesis 18, 19

In our reading today we have the life-changing event for Sarah. In Genesis 18:1-15 The LORD God and two angels comes to fellowship with Abraham and Sarah. Abraham has a meal prepared and sets it before them (Genesis 18:1-8).  This is the first recorded incident where Sarah herself meets and sees God. It is the fourth time the LORD appeared to Abraham (Genesis 12:1; Acts 7:2; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 18:1) and the 6th times the LORD had spoken to him. For over 25 years, she has only heard from her husband’s mouth about God, and now she is seeing and hearing Him. It is no surprise that she was “in the tent door, which was behind him”, listening to the conversation between her husband and the Almighty. After the LORD asks Abraham where Sarah was (Genesis 18:9), He declares that in the next year Sarah will have a baby boy (Genesis 18:10). In the natural, there were three strikes against this couple. Sarah was barren from her youth (Genesis 11:30), she had already through menopause, she no longer had her period (Genesis 18:11), and Abraham was probably impotent. In Romans 4:19, Paul writes that Abraham’s body was “dead”. I have five Greek Dictionaries and of those five, Zodhiates and Thayer’s use “impotent” in their definitions of the word “dead”. The other three, Vincent, Bullinger, and Strong’s do not. Obviously, Abraham was not physically dead, but his ability to produce offspring was dead. Sarah, assessing all these physical circumstances laughed at the prospect of having a son (Genesis 18:11, 12), but the laugh was in herself, no one heard it except the Almighty God who was sitting with her husband, and He knows all our thoughts (1 Chronicles 28:9). When God asked Abraham why Sarah laughed (Genesis 18:13, 14), Sarah probably came from behind the tent door and denied laughing. To which God responded that “No, you did laugh!” Saints, it was that moment in Sarah’s life that changed her. We read in Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Abraham and Sarah both received strength, faith and grace to receive miraculous recreated reproductive systems in both their bodies.    

 

Matthew 6:1-18

In our reading today Jesus deals with three spiritual disciplines, giving alms (Matthew 6:1-4), praying (Matthew 6:5-15), and fasting Matthew 6:16-18). In each of these teachings Jesus gives pitiful examples of individuals who practice these things only for man to see them, but he also gives very powerful incentives of why we should not care if people see us and why it is important for us to practice these disciplines to please God. In all three examples he says that when we do it correctly (that is to do it with a heart that only wants to please the Father), God sees in secret and rewards us openly. I am reminded of Hebrews 11:6  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Saints, whatever we do in our relationship with God, whether or not people see us, God sees, and He rewards us. What is more important than the reward is the fact that we are pleasing Him in our walk. Now that is incentive saints! 

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