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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The HOW of Unbelief

“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked. 

"She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied. 

Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” 

Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “HOW could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” 

Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 

Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the LORD said, “No, you did laugh.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭18:9-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. 

While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” 

Zechariah said to the angel, “HOW can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” 

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:8-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬
HOW. It's the first word that springs from both Sarah's and Zechariah's mouths when they received a promise from God. Three letters that says a lot about their hearts and and their faith. They didn't jump up and thank Him. Nope. Instead they raised their hands in question saying, "Uh, excuse me, Lord, you must not understand the present circumstance. We are old. We are barren. We are beyond this kind of ridiculous talk. Can we get real here. HOW are you going to pull this off, exactly?" 

Their unbelief was so startling that even Gabriel seems to take a step back and remind Zechariah who exactly sent him and who's Presence he stands in. And when Sarah laughed (basically in God's Face), the Lord leaned in toward Abraham and asked why she's in there chuckling -- as if God wasn't able to follow through with such a promise!

Unbelief will always ask How. Not the how of wonder like, "Wow, Lord! How did you do that?" But rather the How that dismisses God's ability. It's the How that sees God on the same level as us humans-- limited and earthly.  It's the How that denies that God is actually God. It's the How that says to God, "You can't do that, Lord. It's impossible." 

We either believe that or we don't. 

God has promises for us, too. IMPOSSIBLE PROMISES. Because that's what God does. He makes crazy, outrageous promises. IMPOSSIBLE ones. But because He is God, He is able to do that! He's able to go BIG with His dreams for us because He is not limited! And He would never make a Promise that He's not able to keep. They will always be impossible to us, but never to Him!

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