Bible and Theology
Discovering the Joy of the Lord
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Mar 21, 2023

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*An audio version of today's devotional is available on Leading The Way's MY Devotional podcast.

When Sarah first heard that she would become pregnant in her old age, the notion was so far-fetched that she couldn't contain her laughter (see Genesis 18:12). A year later, at the age of 91, Sarah delivered her firstborn son Isaac, and she laughed again—but this time with joy, saying, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6). God took her laughter of sarcasm and gave her the laughter of salvation. What a God we worship!

Read Genesis 21:1-7. As incredible as it was for a woman who was barren and in her nineties to have a child, Sarah's experience is really not all that unique. You see, the birth of Isaac is a picture of a deeper spiritual reality that is available to everyone in Jesus Christ. Every single person who puts their trust in the Lord experiences a miracle that makes Sarah's blessing pale in comparison. Being born again is the greatest miracle there is. And in this passage, we can see four similarities between Isaac's birth and the believer's new birth.

The birth of Isaac is a picture of a deeper spiritual reality that is available to everyone in Jesus Christ.

First, the birth of Isaac was humanly impossible. The bodies of Abraham and Sarah, for all intents and purposes, were dead. Though they were living, their bodies were dead. And that's precisely what we were before our hearts were awakened by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:1).

Second, both births required faith. The Bible says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:3, cf. Genesis 15:6). It's the same way with our new birth. God's Word says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Third, both miracles come completely from God and are not based on our works, so God gets all the glory (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

Finally, Abraham's story was not written for him alone but also for us (see Romans 4:23-24). In the same way, God wants to use your life and mine to reach others for Jesus Christ.

This is the laugh-out-loud joy that Sarah discovered. And it is our joy as well. It comes from realizing just how amazing the love of God truly is!

Prayer: Father, Your love displayed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is overwhelming. May I bask in the joy that flows from my new identity, my new standing before You as Your righteous child by the blood of Jesus. Thank You for new life; use me to bring new life and joy to others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 9: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW