Friday, March 19, 2010

The Encouragement of the Old Testament - Genesis

Reading through Genesis has shown me a lot about God's power and faithfulness, which has greatly strengthened my faith that God can and will help us in our struggles. Seeing how God fulfills His promises despite impossible circumstances is a strong reminder that no challenge in front of us is too difficult for God.

God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a nation whose people would be like the sand on the seashore. God made this promise to a man who was well-advanced in age, and whose wife Sarah had never been able to have children. (Genesis 17:17; 18:11-13; 16:1.) In other words, God chose two people who no one would expect to have children to be the parents of an entire nation, His chosen people. (Gen. 21:5-7.) Most people know that God nevertheless gave them a child: Isaac.

What some of us may not have noticed is that Isaac, the heir of Abraham and the next in line to father the nation, also took a wife who couldn't have children! (Gen. 25:21.) And their son Jacob, who became the next heir of the Promise, also had two wives who both could not conceive. (Gen. 29:31.) God began His promise to create a great nation with three generations who could not naturally conceive any offspring. Yet he gave each of them children. Jacob's name was later changed to Israel, and he fathered the twelve tribes of Israel.

This has been a reminder to me of what the Lord said to Abraham: "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14.) God often chooses difficult or impossible circumstances in order to teach us to depend on Him and in order to make it clear that it is God's power that brings success, not ours. Reading these Scriptures reminds me not to be discouraged by what seems overwhelming, but instead to trust in God's faithfulness and power.

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