Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. When have you been genuinely surprised (in a positive way) by a loved one? What action, gift, or other blessing from this person truly caught you off guard?
2. Do you regularly take time to count your blessings? Quickly make a top 10 list of your life’s greatest blessings.
Read Genesis 21:1-3.
1. As children we may have wanted something but were told we were not old enough or the time wasn’t right. What were some of those wishes? Note the timing of God’s fulfillment of his promise to Abraham and Sarah. Why do you find it strange? Why might have God chosen that “very time” (v. 2) to fulfill his promise?
2. Review Genesis 18:9-15 and note that Abraham and Sarah were given the time when their son would be born. Note Sarah’s reaction to the news. Look at a footnote in your Bible or in an analytical concordance to discover the meaning of the name given to their son. Why was it an appropriate name?
Read Genesis 21:4, 5.
3. What is the significance of circumcision in this account? See Genesis 17:9-14. While it seems like a strange mark to show devotion to God (and one limited to males!) what might be some reasons for it?
4. Contrast the ages of Isaac and Abraham given in these verses. What might have happened to Abraham’s covenant with God if Abraham would have waited too long to give Isaac a covenant sign? How do the words of Psalm 78:4-7 apply here?
Read Genesis 21:6, 7.
5. What are some blessings that you have that you enjoy much more when you share them with others? Explain how sharing the news of Isaac’s birth multiplied the joy of that blessing for Sarah.
6. A rhetorical question has one obvious answer. Note Sarah’s rhetorical question in verse 7. What is the expected answer? What implications does that have for us when we are blessed by God?
7. Review the top 10 list of your life’s blessings you made earlier. Mark each blessing with either a U (an unexpected blessing that caught you off guard), a W (a blessing you waited a long time to receive), or an S (a blessing that is meant to be shared). Remember to thank God for each of these blessings throughout the week.