The DEEP

Laughable

Thus significant.

Romans 4:17b–25 (NASB)

God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Let’s be honest here. What makes Abraham’s faith so impressive is the absurdity of God’s promise. For him and Sarah to have a kid at that age is nothing short of laughable. In fact, when Sarah hears about it, she does laugh.

He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” — Genesis 18:10-12 (NASB)

But notice that Paul emphasizes, not Sarah’s age and barrenness, but Abraham’s. Abraham is the one he calls as good as dead. Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old.And notice the context. God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

Abraham knew he couldn’t father any children better than he knew Sarah couldn’t bear any.

His faith wasn’t easy.


Most of our prayers aren’t risky. We often ask God for things we expect to get anyway: a safe trip, recovery from a common illness, success in a routine surgery. Many of our miracles are the miracle of modern medicine. That’s weak.

Weak prayers are a symptom of weak faith. We’re afraid to ask for big things. We’re not willing to step out of our comfort zone and throw ourselves at the LORD’s feet.

It’s even worse than that. Weak prayers produce weak faith. If you never ask for anything spectacular, you’ll never see God do anything spectacular. And think about this—He could do something totally awesome, but if you didn’t ask for it, you won’t know what happened.

Prayer is a lens through which God comes into focus.


All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.