Luke 3:8 “I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”
This statement by John, before Jesus began His public ministry, is actually tied in with what Paul said, in Romans, Galatians, and elsewhere, summarized in Galatians 3:7 as, “Those who believe are children of Abraham.” God is in the business of making children of Abraham! John the Baptist certainly wasn’t thinking of that when he said what is recorded in this verse, which makes this another illustration of the common occurrence of prophecy meaning far more, or other, than what the person who spoke it understood at the time. Some people try to discount prophecies in the Old Testament because “Those people couldn’t possibly have meant that.” Quite right. Even the prophecy of Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14, which we hear a lot around Christmas time, probably referred to one of Isaiah’s own children in the short term, but it still referred to the Messiah in the long term. God caused Isaiah to use a word that technically means “virgin” but in practice was used to refer to any young woman, and so the dual meanings of the prophecy. The point is, human weakness isn’t going to foil God’s plan, because His plan doesn’t depend on man, though it includes him, but rather on God. God can raise up children for Abraham even out of the rocks on the ground, if need be!
This verse is intensely personal for me, because the Lord brought it to mind when my wife and I got the rather devastating news that another pregnancy would likely be fatal for her. Her first c-section had been botched and the second included what reparative work the doctors could do, but after a miscarriage we got the news we didn’t want to hear. We had two daughters but wanted more children, and I really wanted at least one son. As we hugged and cried, God brought this verse to mind, and I had peace. As God had planned, we became “parents” to many over the years, and are actively involved in “parenting” even now. Just as with physical children, spiritual children bring with them heartaches as well as joys, but we still want more! God is in charge, and He can be trusted.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Sometimes – often – our spiritual children don’t do as we would wish, but that doesn’t mean You’ve let go of them. Help us trust You and keep loving and praying, so that all of Your purposes, for them and for us, may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!