February 23 – Sovereign


Passage Intro

Why does God always chose the ridiculous option? You might wonder that, given the circumstances of our passage this week. When God first called Abraham to pick up his life and take it to a yet undetermined land he was the ripe old age of 75. He might have thought the end of his story on earth was approaching, but God decided to start it up well past his youth, his strength, and perhaps even his relevance. Sometimes God picks the King Davids of the world for his team, those most successful, vivacious, and regal specimens. Most often he doesn’t, and Abraham was no David. The Bible itself said he was “as good as dead.”(Heb.11:12)

And then God doubled down on his ridiculous plan. Twenty five years after calling Abraham he visited him and his wife Sarah, announcing that he was going to make them parents and birth from them a new nation of unpredictable proportions. But Sarah, only ten years younger than Abraham, was no spring chicken either. Of course they laughed when God revealed his big plan to them, it was a good 50 years too late! Why didn’t God, the ruler of all time, come any sooner? Or why didn’t he pick a younger, more obviously reproductive couple to be the forebears of his people? God just keeps doing this in scripture, like when he fed Israel with manna instead of taking them to farmable land, or when he fed 5000 people with a boy’s lunch instead of just reminding them to pack some food before they traveled. It’s laughable.

But laughable is God’s specialty. He intentionally accomplishes much with little, topples the strong with the weak, and shames the wise with the strong, not just because he’s bored or showing off but because he wants to reveal some things to us myopic humans in ways that will actually grab our attention. Put yourself in Abraham and Sarah’s shoes. They knew full well that if this plan of God’s was actually going to happen then only he could do it. Were they in their thirties they might have felt up to the task, and having successfully birthed Isaac felt at least partially responsible for the feat. But in their nineties they we primed and ready to receive a truth they wouldn’t have believed in their thirties: this can only happen if God wills it.

The Bible gives us story after story of God accomplishing ridiculous, unexpected things for many reasons, one of which is to loosen up our tense and fearful attitudes towards our day to day life. If God can use the Sarahs and the Peters and even the Davids of this world, he can use you. If he can hold the universe together, then he can keep your little world from falling apart. God continually does the impossible to remind us that he’s sovereign and that he gets to decide what is possible and what isn’t. If God can be trusted to keep his promises to extraordinary lengths, even upending the cosmic order so that he could die a ridiculous death, then he can be trusted with our little lives.

Questions for Discussion

• Can someone read Genesis 17:15-21 for us?

• What stood out to you from this passage?

• How do we see God’s control over all things here?

• How do you think Abraham and Sarah (especially Sarah) felt about all this?

• When is it most hard for you to believe, or remember, that God is sovereign over everything?

• Why do you think God was doing all this for Abraham and Sarah?

• How can God’s sovereignty affect the way you live your everyday life?