November 18, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“A Legacy full of Mistakes Testifying of God’s Faithfulness”

Romans 4-18-22 (ESV)

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promises of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.

A person’s legacy can be understood as the way people will remember that person after he or she has passed. It is the way the general public thinks about a person and his or her life, in retrospect. Many times, the way the public remembers someone is different from the way the public received the same person while he or she was alive. Consider how Vincent Van Gogh was only able to sell one piece of artwork in his lifetime, but he is now one of the most widely known artists of all time. The way biographers write about Van Gogh greatly differs from the way his peers talked about him (or rather, didn’t talk about him at all).

In the book of Genesis, God promises Abraham and Sarah a direct heir, or a son, and that eventually their descendants would as numerous as the stars in the sky. If we follow along in Abraham and Sarah’s faith journey, we read that they struggled to trust in that promise. When Sarah becomes of old age, she gives up on the idea of a direct heir and gives her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abraham to obtain children on Sarah’s behalf. During Abraham and Sarah’s lifetime, it would’ve been hard to believe that anyone would characterize them as particularly strong in faith.

In our passage today, Paul leaves us with a personal legacy of Abraham. However, the way Paul writes about Abraham’s faith journey seems different than what we would expect. He writes that “no unbelief made him waver considering the promises of God,” but instead, Abraham “grew strong in his faith.” In light of the Hagar incident, what does Paul mean that they did not waver, but grew stronger in faith?

What this passage teaches me is that God is gracious to our spiritual missteps and failures, and that He is mindful of our journey. There are consequences to Abraham and Sarah’s decision, but we read that God still chose to remind them of His promise, continue to walk with them, and eventually give them Isaac, at the right time. Abraham and Sarah’s mistakes and shortcomings do not become their legacies. Instead, they become the definitive moments in which they were being refined and strengthened in faith and opportunities to testify in God’s faithfulness. Likewise, our own shortcomings do not have to define us and our futures. Instead, God can use them.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t hold us to our worst. Instead, You are gracious to walk with us at our worst and use it to strengthen our faith in You. Help us to remember how faithful You are and walk in this truth. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 17-18

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