Genesis 17-18

“You will be the father of a multitude of nations.” (17:4)

God’s promises never fail to move entirely outside our own ability to accomplish them. 

Abraham, in his own strength, could only hope to “make a nation” of Ishmael. Best case scenario, Ishmael flourishes his family for enough generations to become a people group large enough to be deemed a nation. Even this would be difficult without divine intervention in an age where kings warred and wiped out family clans on the regular.

But no, God promised Abraham a son from his own, near dead body and the post-menopause womb of his wife. This miracle son would only be the beginning of a string of impossible, yet kept, promises. Against all odds, and numerous genocide attempts, the nation of Israel has endured for almost 4000 years. 

“Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” (18:14)

Still, that’s only one nation and the LORD promised a multitude. Through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and by faith in Him, we have become sons of Abraham. I am a daughter of that promise. If you have faith in Christ, you also are part of this family. This international, 100+ nation family.

What promises are you still trying to accomplish on your own strength?

In 9 days I will be in Greece, partnering with churches working in refugee camps. It’s a terrible burden to bear if I let myself think positive changes in these people’s lives will come through my, and my teams efforts, alone. It was an act of God to move us into this position and it will take many more acts of God to use us in His redemption of this horrible crisis. 

He has named me Bethany Rae, which is so very tied to this promise. The name Bethany, alone, means “house of poverty and affliction”. My dad says my middle name, Rae, is for the light I bring into affliction. 

Jesus had dear friends in the town of Bethany. It’s where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived. Three poor, sibling orphans, one who once was dead, and another who had turned to prostitution. Jesus brought all three to life, in many ways, and it was the place He decided to spend his finally day before heading for the cross. Mary anointed Him with expensive perfume there. Bethany became a place of resurrection life, extravagant love and sweet friendship with God. 

This summer, before I had decided to go anywhere, God reminded me of this name. He has taken all my low income woes, broken cars, near death encounters and chronic pains, due to uneven legs (which could feel like my own house of poverty and affliction), and brought His resurrection light. HE has made me a place of resurrection life, extravagant love and sweet friendship with God. That is what I can invite people into. 

He, who took two old farts and created an innumerable international family, took me and did the impossible. I cannot underestimate His ability to fulfill even the craziest promise.

God can do ANYTHING through you. What has He named you? What promise are you trying to fulfill on your own strength? Ask Him. Ask Him for a new name, and let’s praise Him for His beauty birthed from our ashes.

-Bethany 

One thought on “Genesis 17-18

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