Romans 4:19


Sunday, 14 April 2013

And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Romans 4:19

Abraham’s faith remained strong despite the odds against him. He was given a promise that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky at a time when it seemed a bit more than improbable.

However, misunderstanding often comes into our thinking at this time concerning the wording of today’s verse. The NKJV here states “He did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old)…” This is misleading concerning the issue. Here is another version for comparison, “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:” (KJV).

The issue isn’t concerning the deadness of Abraham’s body, but the “considering” of Abraham’s body dead because of the deadness of Sarah’s womb. There is nothing to suggest, and everything to refute, the thought of Abraham’s body being dead. He was only about 100 years old and he would father many children before his death at 175. However, at this point in his life Sarah, his only wife, had no children. The consideration of Abraham becoming a father is tied to Sarah. This is the reason why later, in Genesis 16, Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear a child.

This same consideration is to be seen in Hebrews 11:12 – “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.” In this verse, as in Romans 4:19, the reckoning that Abraham’s child-bearing was “as good as dead” is tied directly to Sarah. It shows us the moral uprightness of Abraham who was faithful to his beloved wife despite her inability to bear. This is the strength of Abraham’s faith – that God made a promise and that it would in fact come about.

It was Sarah who proposed that Abraham go into Hagar and thus, because of her words, he agreed. Until she made the proposal, the belief was that his faithfulness to Sarah would be rewarded. And in a way it was – both through the begetting of Ishmael through Hagar and then later begetting Isaac through Sarah. Abraham walked in faith and was rewarded for his faith by God.

To God, who called the universe into existence and who raised Lazarus from the tomb, the miracle of life through Sarah’s dead womb was His way of showing us that He has all things under control.

Life application: With God, nothing is impossible. When we see difficulties, God sees opportunity for His glory to shine forth all the more brightly. Let us stand fast and firm on the surety that if God has made a promise in His word, it will certainly come about.

O Lord, my God! My heart sings at the prospect of eternity in Your presence. Nothing can take away the surety I have in the promises of Your word. You have said that the redeemed will walk in Your light and that there will be no more death, sorrow, or crying. I know this will come about and so I wait on that glorious day! Thank You for such wondrous promises. Amen.

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