But, it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. For this is what the promise said, “At the appointed time I (God) will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Romans 9:6-9)
God keeps all of his promises. Isaac was the promise, not Ishmael because God’s promise was for Sarah to have a son, not Hagar. Ishmael and his descendants are Muslim. Since gentile means not Jewish, Muslims are Gentiles also. As we discussed, if Gentiles want to be a child of Abraham we have to be adopted or grafted into the family by means of our belief in Jesus as our Savior. God gave Israel, the descendants of Abraham and Sarah, special privileges, and still they turned away from Him. God promising Sarah a child seemed impossible at her advanced age, so Abraham first asked God to fulfill his promises through Ishmael, and God refused because it was God’s plan for the Israelites to be the chosen people, not the Muslims. As Abraham took his journey with God as, hopefully, we are doing now, he learned to trust God and to know that God’s plan is perfect. Hopefully, we are learning to trust God in our own journeys as well. By the end of Abraham’s journey, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son as God requested of him. Of course, God did not require Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in the end, but he wanted to test Abraham’s faith perhaps to show the readers of the Bible, that we in our walk with God can also have complete trust in Him.
In Genesis we see in Abraham’s life: “there emerges a new nobility and independence, the outworking of Abraham’s developed habit of walking with God, resting in his revealed will, relying on him, waiting for him, bowing to his providence, obeying him even when he commands something odd and unconventional. From being a man of the world, Abraham becomes of man of God.”
Think of how Abraham must have felt when he thought that God was not keeping His promise to him. But God knew what was best for Abraham. I repeat, God transformed him from being a man of the world to being a man of God. God also wants to transform us from being people of the world to people of God. How quickly we learn depends on how wonderful our life will be. God will answer all of our prayers the best he can, but his ultimate concern is that we become His children, transforming from people of the world to people of God.
 “Knowing God,” by J.I. Packer, p. 93
4 thoughts on “Bible Study Devotional – Day 51 – Commentary Romans 9:6B-9 –What can we learn from Abraham in the Bible?”
Your statement, “How quickly we learn depends on how wonderful our life will be.” concerns me. I don’t think that it is that simple. There are many people that do not believe or have trouble believing. They have different faiths and do not believe that Christ is our Savior. They do have a moral compass and integrity, kindness in their hearts, and are generally good people. They live perfectly fine lives and are happy. God gave us free choice, the ability to make our own decisions. Sometimes our decisions are wrong but we learn and go forward.
I totally agree with you that there are non-Christians who are good people with kind hearts and have integrity. Abraham and Sarah did not trust God that Sarah could have a child at her advanced age and decided without consulting God that Abraham would sleep with Hagar and have a child. Because they didn’t trust God they created a lot of drama and the Muslim religion through the line of Ishmael. The drama continues today as Muslims and Jews fight in the Middle East. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all worship the same God in different ways but this passage is simply about trusting God. Personally, when I trust God and believe what he says (his promises in the Bible) I am happier. If I didn’t believe I would ever see my deceased loved ones again in heaven or didn’t believe that God’s love would conquer my estranged relationship with my oldest sister and her family, that by myself I am helpless to do anything about, I couldn’t be truly happy. My statement was unclear. It should have read “How quickly we learn to trust God depends on how wonderful our life will be.”
I am praying that God has an answer to our estranged relationship. He knows how important this is to both of us and someday I am hoping that the relationship is repaired through God’s love and grace. I feel that we will all be together one day. What would be the point of relationships on Earth if they did not continue in Heaven.
Pam, it is great that you have an open mind to whom you will meet in heaven! Many Christians think they won’t see people whom they are estranged from in heaven. That shows you aren’t judging people’s hearts and leaving that to God. With your loving attitude, I’m sure your relationship will be restored with God’s help. In the meantime, enjoy God’s love and grace!