December 20

Read Genesis 25:19-28.

God is often a mystery to us. We pray for something, and God answers us in unexpected ways. Just when we think we have God figured out, God does something surprising. We see this happen in our passage today. God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants will number the stars (Gen. 15:5) seems to be in jeopardy after one generation. Isaac – Abraham’s son – and Rebekah are unable to have a child. So, Isaac prays for a child. And…it’s a miracle! They conceive and are expecting twins. What joy is this! God answered their prayers! 

God then does something unexpected. In a topsy turvy way, God turns a simple prayer request into a stage for division – one that will appear throughout the remainder of the Old Testament story. Isaac and Rebekah are given no explanation for why God answers their prayers in this way. It is simply a mystery. 

God is a God of mystery. A God who turns the world inside out for reasons only God knows. A God who displays power in the form of a baby born in a manger under Roman rule. God uses these unexpected mysteries to further God’s will in the world. Here is the good news: even when we do not understand God’s actions, God does! God uses our prayers and even us in startling ways to bring about God’s plan.  

This Advent, are you ready for God to move in unexpected ways? Are you preparing for God’s ultimate unexpected mystery – the birth of Christ? 

Pray

God of surprising mysteries, ready me for the unexpected this Advent. Prepare my heart to be receptive to your mysterious will. Amen. 

Will Delaney

Director of Christian Education

First Presbyterian Church (Laurens, SC)