As you read through Genesis, you'll learn the story of Abraham and Sarah. It runs from Genesis 12 through Genesis 23, and it begins to give an understanding of God and why it's important to listen and obey his will.
Generally, when the two are spoken of, it's about their covenant with God and their children. To review, in Genesis 17, the 99-year-old Abraham is finally given the knowledge that his wife will have a son, and she does so when Abraham is 100 years old.
Long-lasting faith resulting in unlikely miracles isn't all you can learn from the pair, though.
Note: As you go forward reading these stories, remember that these two may also fall under the names Abram and Sarai, as their names are changed mid-story to reflect changes after the Abrahamic covenant.
At the very beginning of the story, Abraham, at the age of 75, hears the Lord tell him to leave the place he knows, his friends and his family. By doing this, the Lord says, Abraham and his descendants would be blessed with a great nation and land.
During the trip, Abraham obeyed the Lord, trusting that he was sending him somewhere positive. Sarah and his nephew, Lot, both came with him as they traveled to the new location, which was Canaan.
Unfortunately, Canaan was struggling with famine, which forced them to travel south to Egypt to survive. Living in Egypt was dangerous, however, and Abraham asked Sarah to say she was his sister to protect himself against those who might want to take her. After God sent a plague because the Pharaoh took Sarah, the Pharaoh discovered the truth and sent the two away.
They traveled back to Canaan, and Abraham received the priesthood there. The two were happy, but they still wished for a child.
They continued to believe in the Lord, and then, when Sarah was 89 and Abraham was 99, they were finally told they'd be able to conceive. This led to the birth of Isaac.
There is much that the story of Abraham and Sarah can teach you just as much as the story of Isaac, their centennial child.
The first thing to consider is that Abraham was an old man when God first called him. He was 75 years old when he was asked to leave behind all he knew.
By the time you're 75, you're probably set in your ways. You know how you like to do things and what you expect from life. Flexibility in how you respond to God is important, though. God may invite you into a new relationship, and with it, you may get an entirely new view on your life.
This is proven more in the story by the fact that the Lord blessed the pair with a child 25 years later, a miracle by any definition of the word.
Essentially, this explains that it's never too late to see what God's plan for you is and submit to it.
Living by faith allows you to believe in God and get into his good graces. You can obtain forgiveness through faith in the Lord, as well as his offer and gift of salvation.
Abraham didn't get into God's good graces through the work he did during his life. He made mistakes.
Doing good works is, of course, beneficial to those around you and to yourself, but those works aren't necessarily what will put you in God's good favor. Prayer and belief in God's will.
An important quote to remember is this passage from Ephesians:
“…we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” - Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Essentially, the point of this quote is that good works aren't what will save you, but instead that Jesus and God save you to give you the power to do good works on earth. To walk in Christ means to do as the Lord does, which means to do positive things for those around you.
Being faithful, volunteering and doing positive things for those you love as well as others is one way to show you're respecting the Lord's will.
In fact, it's said that your works on earth do reflect how genuine your faith is. It's not enough just to say that you're a Christian. Instead, you need to show that you're a Christian through your works and that you walk in faith and understand what's expected of you on earth.
There's certainly a lot to learn from Abraham and Sarah. At the core, recognize that although Abraham wasn't a perfect man — just as you may not be a perfect person — he was still able to be forgiven and receive the love of God. Whether you're young or now in assisted living, God may still have more for you to do.