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Promise of the Month - September, 2005

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

    Have you ever felt weary?  According to the Bible, weary means without strength, endurance or spiritual resources.  There are many times a person may feel this way; when they are sick, worn out from doing too many tasks that the world tells them they need to do, stress, lack of biblical truth, lack of fellowship with other Christians, etc. 

    Have you ever felt burdened?  Burdened means bearing a heavy load, physically or spiritually.  Many times we carry burdens in our lives.  Here are two men in the Bible who had a similar problem or burden: Abram and Isaac.  They both had a wife who had difficulty conceiving a child.  Lets see how they each handled this same problem or burden. 

Genesis 15:1-5   
1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
2 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
3 And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."
5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (NIV).

    In Genesis 15:1, we read that God’s word came to Abram in a vision.  In the text to follow, Genesis 15:2-3, we can see that Abram is burdened because he still is childless and his heir to his estate  would be his servant.  Then in Genesis 15:4-5, God shows Abram that “this man” referring to his servant “will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”  When God speaks this part about “own body,” he is directing it toward Abram and his wife Sarai. 

Genesis 16:1-6
1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar;
2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.
4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."
6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (NIV).

    Now in Genesis 16:1-6, Sarai’s emotions over being childless are unveiled and Sarai and Abram take matters into their own hands.   She is so burdened that she tells Abram to have relations with her maidservant Hagar so that they could have children. After Abram had relations with this other woman, Sarai began to have feelings of anger and she blamed Abram and mistreated Hagar.  

     Do you remember what God had revealed to Abram in Genesis 15:4-5?  God had his own plan, but Sarai and Abram needed to wait patiently for a child.  For God's timing is best because he knows from beginning to end (Isaiah 46:10) “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come.  I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (NIV).  God did grant her a child at the age of 90 and answered their prayer as well as fulfilled his promise to Abram (Gen 15:4).  But, if they had just trusted in the Lord; even after the word that Abram had received from God; and waited, then Abram would not have broken that bond that he shared with his wife Sarai and  Sarai would not have had to experience the anger and jealousy that she had against Hagar and Abram. God does not like anger as stated in Matthew 5:22 “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment...” (NIV).

    Now the second man, Isaac,  had a similar problem but handled the situation much more differently.  Isaac’s wife Rebekah was barren and so Isaac prayed to God and the Lord answered his prayer and allowed for Rebekah to become pregnant with twins.  Isaac and Rebekah did not take matters into their own hands, but gave their burdens to the Lord. Refer to Genesis 25:19-21  for Isaac’s story.

Genesis 25: 19-21
19 This is the account of Abraham's son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac,
20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. (NIV).

    Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”(NIV).  Lets break it down and relate this verse to the two situations described above.

God says Abram and Sarai Isaac and Rebekah
Come to me Took matters into their own hands by Sarai giving Abram to Hagar to have relations with in order to conceive a child. Prayed to God
all you who are weary and burdened Sarai barren 
 Rebekah barren
and I will give you rest Their lack of patience and trust in God caused Sarai to have feelings of anger therefore she mistreated Hagar and blamed Abram.  In God’s timing He gave them the son He promised.
answered prayer

instead of one child, they had twins

    So next time you are feeling weary and burdened about something that is happening in your life, give it to God and He will give you rest. Amen.

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