Read the full story of Abraham waiting for God's promise here (Genesis chapters 15-17).

God made a very important promise to Abraham three times:

"I will make you into a great nation... All peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:1-7; 15:1-6; 17:1-8)

But Abraham didn't even have a son. His faith on God's promise still continued to be tested as he waited.... and waited... and waited...

The promise was yet to come.

Then eleven years passed! His wife Sarah still could not have a child, and she's 86 years old!

Where is God? Has God forgotten? Does God need some help? God didn't answer by explaining. But He reaffirmed His promise again and again,

"I am your shield, your great reward." (Genesis 15:1)

However, Abraham and Sarah became desperate. Perhaps God needed some human help? They decided that Abraham could produce a son through Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar. They put the plan into action and it worked! Well, at least in human terms. Ishmael is born and they seemed to be back on track with God’s promise.

But what does God have to say?

The name Ishmael means 'God listens' (See study 5). God appeared to Abraham who was now 100 years old (and Sarah 90). He affirmed the promises and the covenant again, and announced that within a year, this promise would come true through a son God would give to Abraham and Sarah.

A son born to a couple aged 90 and 100? Abraham and Sarah laughed....

But a year later, Sarah gave birth to a son, just as God had planned and promised.

We do not fully understand why God chose to let Abraham wait so long for a son. Maybe it was to show the son was truly a gift from God? Or it was to reveal God's sovereignty and power in the blessing? Maybe God planned to put this boy's life in a certain time in human history?

But today, we do know God's promise not only came true, but it was far more than Abraham could have ever imagined or achieved himself.

We will soon find out how God transformed this promise of a son thousands of years ago into a great plan for all mankind in the future.

Your Response: Listen to God and Pray...

1. Why do you think God waited so long to give a son to Abraham and Sarah? How would this affect the way they experienced God? 

2. What does the story teach us about God's sovereignty and our faith?

3. Do you find it difficult to wait for God? What is stopping you?

4. Who can you share this story with?