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Eliminate the “D” Words Part 4 - Doubt
Genesis 17:15-19; Genesis 18:9-15
Continuing this devotional series on negative “D” words, I’m back to one I’ve written about before: Doubt. I am a natural-born skeptic, usually not taking anything at face value, but wanting to see proofs and data and analysis. This can be a stumbling block to faith, so it is something that I have to work on every single day. Doubt is not disbelief; it can be one of the tools that God can use to help us increase our faith by relieving our doubts when learning more of His Word and reaching out to Him in prayer. Also, if you have 100% certainty, you no longer need faith.
One of the most famous Biblical cases of doubt and skepticism (besides the story of Thomas, which I shared a few weeks ago) is the reaction of Abram and Sarai (who are renamed Abraham and Sarah) to God’s promise to give them an heir and create a mighty nation from their son. Here is Abraham’s reaction:
“Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
Abraham falls down on his face laughing at this promise from God. How does Sarah react?
“Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 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?” And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.””
Sarah laughs at this promise just like Abraham laughed, then denies laughing. Does God punish these two for their doubt? No, He rewards them with a son Isaac and the start of the nation of Israel. He does test the faith of Abraham, as we all know, but Abraham passes that test without hesitation; Abraham has already seen that the promises of God are indeed good. God uses the doubters, the depressed, the anxious (full of dread) and the disappointed to advance His Kingdom. Take your doubts to the Lord in prayer! He will use those doubts to build a fortress of faith in His supernatural powers and abiding love.