Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age…
I. FAITH MAY BE SORELY SHAKEN AND TOSSED AT THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF DIFFICULTIES LYING IN THE WAY OF THE PROMISE, WHICH YET AT LAST IT SHALL OVERCOME. And there be many degrees of its weakness and failure herein. As —
1. A mere recoiling, with some disorder in the understanding, unable to apprehend the way and manner of the accomplishment of the promise.
2. It ariseth to a distrust of the event of the promises or their accomplishment, because of the difficulties that lie in the way.
3. When there is for a season an actual prevalency of unbelief. So it was with the apostle Peter, when he denied his Master, who yet was quickly recovered. It is therefore our duty —
(1) To watch that our faith be not surprised or shaken by the appearance of difficulties and oppositions.
(2) Not to despond utterly on any degree of its failure, for it is in its nature, by the use of means, to recover its vigour and efficacy.
II. ALTHOUGH GOD ORDINARILY WORKETH BY HIS CONCURRING BLESSING ON THE COURSE OF NATURE, YET HE IS NOT OBLIGED THEREUNTO. Yet —
III. IT IS NO DEFECT IN FAITH, NOT TO EXPECT EVENTS AND BLESSINGS ABSOLUTELY ABOVE THE USE OF MEANS UNLESS WE HAVE A PARTICULAR WARRANT FOR IT; as Sarah had in this case.
IV. THE DUTY AND USE OF FAITH ABOUT TEMPORAL MERCIES ARE TO BE REGULATED BY THE GENERAL RULES OF THE WORD, WHERE NO ESPECIAL PROVIDENCE DOTH MAKE APPLICATION OF A PROMISE.
V. The mercy here spoken of, concerning a son unto Abraham by Sarah his wife, WAS ABSOLUTELY DECREED, AND ABSOLUTELY PROMISED; YET GOD INDISPENSABLY REQUIRES FAITH IN THEM FOR THE FULFILLING OF THAT DECREE, and the accomplishment of that promise.
VI. THE FORMAL OBJECT OF FAITH IN THE DIVINE PROMISES IS NOT THE THINGS PROMISED IN THE FIRST PLACE, BUT GOD HIMSELF IN HIS ESSENTIAL EXCELLENCIES OF TRUTH, OR FAITHFULNESS AND POWER.
VII. EVERY PROMISE OF GOD HATH THIS CONSIDERATION TACITLY ANNEXED TO IT, "IS anything too hard for the Lord?" There is no Divine promise, but when it comes unto the trial, as unto our closing with it, no promise of the new covenant, but we apprehend as great a difficulty and improbability of its accomplishment unto us, as Sarah did of this.
VIII. Although the truth, veracity, or faithfulness of God be in a peculiar manner the immediate object of our faith, yet IT TAXES IN THE CONSIDERATION OF ALL OTHER DIVINE EXCELLENCIES FOR ITS ENCOURAGEMENT AND CORROBORATION.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.