Dear People Who Keep Company With God,
In the world the number 13 is associated with something bad. Friday the 13th has long been considered a bad day; but this is a lie, God likes the number 13. I discovered the number 13 plays a key role in the New Testament.
Jesus was the thirteenth man in the four gospels. It was “Jesus and the twelve.” Thirteen was apparently so important that after Judas committed suicide the eleven apostles selected a replacement for him so they would continue to be twelve and later Jesus added Paul as the thirteenth apostle on the earth. I do believe others were added, but these were the foundational apostles. So the number 13 speaks of the foundation for what God will do.
The story of Abraham, Sarah and their long wait for the promised son, Isaac, also brings out the importance of the number 13 in God’s economy. God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a child in spite of their old age (Gen. 15:1-5). They waited and waited for God to do what He said. They waited so long that they got worn out from waiting and maybe even a bit fed-up with the whole promises of God thing – sounds familiar.
So they came up with a brilliant plan, at least it seemed brilliant at the time. That sounds familiar also. The plan was to ‘help’ God fulfill His word by having the promised child through Sarah’s servant girl, Hagar – big mistake. Ishmael was born and the legacy of enmity continues unabated to this very day between Ishmael and Isaac (think Arabs and Jews).
Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born (Gen. 16:16). Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael God speaks to Abraham, who is now 99 years old (Gen. 17:1) and promises that he will be the father of many nations. Thirteen years after Ishmael’s birth Sarah, at 90 years old, received strength from God to conceive and give birth to Isaac (Gen.17:17).
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Heb. 11:11
I think most of us have created some Ishmael’s along the way, but I think we have learned some things; mainly that once and for all we have had enough of the bankruptcy in trying to ‘help’ God and are ready to let Him help us. We have seen the futility in striving to receive anything, be anything or go anywhere in God.
I am praying that the spring of 2013 will be our ‘13th’ year. May it be the time to receive strength from God for His word over your life, for those promises in the waiting. It is time for our spiritual winter to be over.
“Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. 12 The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” SOS 2:11-12
Many Blessings, BW