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Feb 04, 2018

Coexist: Christianity and Islam

Coexist: Christianity and Islam

Passage: Genesis 21:9-20

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Coexist Sermon Series

Category: Faith

Keywords: abraham, ishmael, islam, quran

We build community by learning about Islam and loving our neighbors.

Devotional

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation.  I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.  All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him.  Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.  Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.”  And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who appeared to him. - Genesis 12:1-5, 7 (NLT)

 

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.  Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.- Genesis 21: 1-3, 5 (NLT)

The first time God made a covenant with Abram (later Abraham) he was 75 years old and Sarai (Sarah), his wife, was 65 years old.  Abram followed God’s directions.  He left his country and took Sarai, his nephew Lot, and everything they had to Canaan.  A few years go by and Abram begins to question God’s promise.  Abram asks God, “what good are all the blessings you’ve given me when I have no descendants?  Will my servant inherit all my wealth?”  God reminds Abram of the covenant and tells him that he will have a son of his own.  (Genesis 15:2-6) Several years later (Abram is now 85 and Sarai is 75 years old) Sarai decides to take things into her own hands.  She gives her servant, Hagar, to Abram so that he will have a son through her.  The following year Ishmael is born.

Even more years go by, God speaks to Abraham again and says “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation…regarding your wife…from now on her name will be Sarah.  And I will bless her and give you a son from her!”  (Genesis 17: 7, 15-16) Abraham, at the age of 100 and Sarah at 90 years old finally have a son and name him Isaac.

Twenty-five years passed before Abraham and Sarah saw God’s promise fulfilled.  Twenty-five years is a long time to wait!  No wonder Abraham questioned God.  Would I, like Sarah, have taken control of the situation and tried to solve it on my own?  I know that I have difficulty waiting.  I get impatient waiting in long lines at the store or for my husband to return my texts!

When my son was 8 years old he experienced severe stomach pain.  He was given many medical tests and saw several doctors before we had a diagnosis.  The whole process took about three months.  It was excruciating to watch him be in such pain.  I desperately prayed that we would quickly find answers and he would feel better.  The waiting was extremely difficult and stressful!

Just like Abraham, God has given us several promises.  God’s promises to us are found in the Bible.  The psalmist David writes, “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” (Psalm 31:7) In Psalm 36:7 David also says, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”  The prophet Isaiah tells us,

“Have you not heard?  Have you never understood?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Even youths will become weak and tired and young men will fall in exhaustion.  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.   They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Are you waiting?  Waiting for a medical diagnosis?  Waiting for reconciliation with a loved one?  Waiting for a new job and financial stability?  Waiting for healing?  Whatever you are waiting for God loves you with a never-ending love.  God sees your anguish and will give you the strength to get through.

Prayer:

Dear Gracious, Loving God, we thank You for Your unfailing love.  Help us when we need Your strength.  We pray for those around us who are waiting for answers and need to feel Your presence.  Please help us to see those who are hurting so we can demonstrate your everlasting love.  Amen.

Written by Jennifer Roberts. Jennifer leads the children's choir and the beginning handbell choir. She lives in Ashburn with her husband Ben and their son Ethan.