The Confirmation of the Fulfillment of God’s Promise

Even though as believers we know that God is sovereign in all things, sometimes in our everyday lives we wonder if certain things are the result of God’s hand or just merely coincidence. But there are times when things are so clearly from God that it leaves no question in our minds about His sovereignty.

One area that we can see that is with childbearing. The Old Testament continually uses the phrases “God opened the womb” or “God closed the womb” when referring to pregnancy. And while we know that God is the author of all life, sometimes we forget that is a true miracle of life given by God.

However, there are times when God so stacks the deck against Himself in order to show some particular pregnancies are no accident, but instead are the fulfillment of His promise.

Sarah

In 2082 BC, God made a covenant with Abraham that one day he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham would one day have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky or as there are grains of sand on the beach. God was going to bless the whole world through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12).

But there was a slight problem with this. Abraham had no children. God had not opened the womb of his wife, Sarah, for her to bear children. On top of that, Abraham was 75 years old and Sarah was 65 years old when God made this promise to Abraham. I’m sure they both concluded that they would soon be having children – and lots of them. How else could he have descendants?

But that doesn’t happen. Abraham and Sarah remained childless for the next 25 years, all while God continually affirmed His promise of a great nation and many descendants (Gen. 13:14-16; 15:4-6,13-14,18; 17:1-16; 18:10-14; 21:1-5). In their confusion, frustration, and impatience, Abraham fathered a child with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar. God clearly opened the womb of Hagar, but then God told Abraham that child was not the child of the promise.

The child that would fulfill God’s covenant with Abraham would come through Sarah, who was now 90 years old and far past childbearing years. It was so far-fetched in Sarah’s mind to be able to have children that the next time God made this promise to Abraham, she laughed. 

However, when Sarah does become pregnant, it is so clearly the hand of God that everyone knows this child fulfills the promise of God. This pregnancy was not your everyday occurrence. 

This pregnancy was most clearly the work of God.

No one could say that maybe Abraham and Sarah just started having a bunch of children and decided to claim they were special. They couldn’t just look at their large family and tell everyone God had now made a covenant with them to make their family into a great nation.

No, God made it very clear the one child of Abraham and Sarah was no ordinary thing. God gave them a child well past any natural childbearing years. And God gave them only one child. The numerous descendants would come two generations later. God made the odds impossible in natural terms in order to fulfill a supernatural promise.

There are many other examples of God’s hand working throughout the descendants of Abraham in order to fulfill His promise that through Abraham’s descendants the world would be blessed. However, when we come to Luke 1, we see God setting up another impossible situation in order to fulfill His promise.

Elizabeth

Luke says in Luke 1:5-7, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and
they were both well advanced in years.”

Zacharias and Elizabeth had no children and they were both old, beyond their childbearing years, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in the temple. Gabriel tells Zacharias that he would have a son who would fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah to be the “voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

Yet this seemed impossible. Zacharias knew they were too old to be having children. He even scoffed at the words of the angel (Luke 1:18). Because of his doubt, the angel even left Zacharias unable to speak until Elizabeth gave birth. Only when Zacharias informed everyone after the birth that his son’s name would be John was Zacharias able to speak again. 

God again made the odds impossible in natural terms in order to fulfill a supernatural promise. There was no way anyone could question Elizabeth’s pregnancy as anything but a fulfillment of this promise. This pregnancy was most definitely the work of God to bring about his prophet John to prepare the people for the ministry of Jesus.

Mary

Only a few months later, the angel Gabriel visited a young virgin named Mary who was engaged to be married to Joseph. Gabriel told Mary that she would “bear a son and she shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Naturally, Mary was quite confused by this announcement. She knew how babies happen, and she knew that she didn’t qualify. This time it isn’t that Mary is beyond childbearing years, but that Mary is not married and has never been with a man, quite an issue for having children. God has clearly made the odds impossible in natural terms in order to fulfill a supernatural promise, in order to redeem all of mankind.

But Gabriel informed her that this would obviously be the work of God. And as an interesting bit of confirmation that God can truly do all things – including having a virgin give birth – Gabriel pointed her to Elizabeth, whom God had allowed to be pregnant well past her childbearing years. Because “nothing is impossible with God.”

The miracle of Mary’s pregnancy sounded so unbelievable even Joseph assumes the natural explanation to it. He believed Mary had clearly cheated on him. How else could she turn up pregnant and it not be his child? He now had grounds to divorce her. He actually had grounds to have
her stoned, according to Levitical law (Leviticus 20:10).

Being a kind-hearted man though, Joseph decided to quietly divorce her (which indicates how binding the betrothal period was in this culture). Therefore, God sent an angel in a dream to Joseph to confirm Mary’s account of this pregnancy (Matthew 1:18-25) and instructed Joseph to still marry Mary because her pregnancy was the work of God.

Just like Elizabeth, Mary would give birth to a child that would so clearly and obviously be the work of God that there would be no question that this fulfilled the word of God. It fulfilled the prophecy given hundreds of years earlier from Isaiah. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

What a blessing God gifted to Mary and Elizabeth! But imagine how frightened both women were to be given this blessing – and this responsibility. Elizabeth, now old in age, pregnant for the first time. Mary, so young and still a virgin, now pregnant by the work of God. Consider the talk around town about these two women, especially Mary. Consider the “advice” both of these women would have been given in our society today. “You’re too old to be having a baby.” “You’re too young to be having children. What will this do to your marriage to Joseph? What will people say about you begin pregnant?” How would our society encourage these two women to proceed?

But God blessed them and gave them each other to comfort and support one another. Luke 1:39-40 says, “Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.”

At this time, Mary had only been pregnant a matter of days, possibly weeks, and Elizabeth was 6-months pregnant. Yet as Mary enters Elizabeth’s house, the 6-month-old baby in Elizabeth’s womb
leaped for joy at the presence of the days-old baby in Mary’s womb.

What a beautiful reminder of the precious gift of life in the womb! And what a beautiful reminder of God’s promises fulfilled in such a way that it can only be from God. 

2 thoughts on “The Confirmation of the Fulfillment of God’s Promise”

  1. “How would our society encourage these two women to proceed?” Yikes! Great question!

    You can see the answer to this question at the Huntsville abortion mill this week, where they have been murdering the Images of Baby Jesus like there was no tomorrow this Christmas week.

    Baby Jesus and Baby John the Baptist would likely never have made it out of the womb in 2021 America. Mary, given her tender age, would have been “strongly encouraged” to abort for the sake of her “future” and Elizabeth for the sake of her “health” due to her advanced age. And since the religious leaders of today almost never mention abortion, Mary and Elizabeth would have been most comfortable in their sins of child sacrifice. They would have gone to Hell certain that they had made the right “choice.”

    Fortunately, God brought forth Babies Jesus and John in a culture that was infinitely more moral, and God honoring, than ours. And He picked women for whom abortion was as unthinkable to them as it is to God Almighty. Hallelujah!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *