|Theme: A Prayer for Fruitfulness
|Focus on: Isaac and Rebekah
|Reading Portion(s): Genesis 24:67; 25:19 to 28.
|– Important Background Information
|– Helps you find strength in God
|What this article teaches you
|Barrenness is difficult to accept. We know it from the agony of barren women. The Bible speaks of many such. Most of them had children late in life after intense prayer. This is the secret of having fruit in the Christian life too.
We should not give up seeing the fruitlessness of the ministry God has given us. The barrenness that you experience now could be the gateway to great fruitfulness later. The key is prayer. Take your concerns to God. God will help you to bear fruit. But when you pray keep your mind open to the ways in which God will lead you.
Abraham was a hundred years old and his wife Sarah ninety when Sarah gave birth to Isaac the promised child. Some years later when Isaac was still an young lad God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the region of Moriah. There, as he was about to sacrifice Isaac on the altar God intervened; and instead of Isaac God provided a ram. Abraham called the place The Lord Will Provide.
In due course of time Sarah died and was buried. Then Abraham entrusted the chief servant in his household to go and find a wife for Isaac from his own relatives. With amazing providence, God showed that Rebekah, Abraham’s brother Nahor’s granddaughter, was to be the wife of Isaac. And thus Isaac and Rebekah were married.
Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. For nineteen years they had no children and Rebekah was barren. Yet during this time we do not find Isaac or Rebekah trying to get children by some other means. We do not see Rebekah asking Isaac to produce children for her through her maids, which seems to have been a common practice then. This is great patience on their part because Isaac must have definitely known about God’s blessings to Abraham which said that through him God will give Abraham descendants as numerous as stars in the heavens.
The promise was believed by Isaac earnestly because he himself was a child of promise. The Bible records that Isaac loved Rebekah and he prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren. The barrenness of Rebekah did not reduce his love for her or his love for God. This is true spirituality. Instead, the barrenness led him to prayer. He knew that God who had promised would also perform. So Isaac was in effect praying to God to fulfill His promise to give descendants to Abraham as numerous as the stars.
God has promised those who believe in Him that they will be enabled to produce fruit in keeping with their faith. So barrenness in Christian life is something that should be prayed about. We should pray that God would make us fruitful in this world so that many may come to know God and His love through our life and our work. When we face barrenness in our ministry for God; when long years pass by without seeing any fruit, instead of growing desperate; we, like Isaac, should seek God in prayer. It is then that God will fulfill what He has already promised.
Here we see that the Lord answered Isaac’s prayer. Rebekah, his wife, became pregnant. But then there arose some difficulty. The babies jostled each other within her. This troubled her and she said to herself why this was happening to her. But like Isaac making her barrenness the chief concern of his praying, she takes this difficulty to the Lord.
This tells us another important lesson. We should not only pray for fruit; but also pray to bring it to fruition. This is because spiritual fruit is not got without a struggle as we see here the babies jostling each other in the womb. So in the process of bearing fruit we may encounter certain difficulties which is hard for us to understand. During these times we should take our doubts and difficulties to the Lord in prayer.
When Rebekah inquired about her difficulty God gave her an answer that was least expected. It was a prophecy about two nations which will come into being through the babies in her womb. It talked about the two nations being separate; and one nation being stronger than the other with the older serving the younger.
So prayer for fruitfulness can take a course that we may not have imagined. But even then we can be assured of God’s sovereignty and perfect guidance in this matter because we had prayed for fruit and prayed through the process of fruit-bearing.