Incidents of Infertility in the Bible
Among the ancient people of the east infertility was seen as a great affliction. Often the Jews regarded it to be God’s punishment for sin (Leviticus 20:20). Unfortunately, infertility was considered enough grounds for polygamy and was accepted as a reason for divorce. The Bible mentions individuals who were chosen before birth to accomplish a great task for God but were born in spite of age or infertility of their parents.
God often leads men to feel their own weakness, in order that when salvation comes they can be thankful for His deliverance and power. The Bible presents several stories of the faithful that were struggling with infertility but the Lord turned their life around and gave them children. With men many things are impossible, but “with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Sarah, Abraham’s Wife
The most known account is the story of Abraham and Sarah who could not have children for many years. When Abram was 75 years old, God first gave him the promise to become a “great nation” (Genesis 12:4). Abraham remained in faith trusting the Lord’s promise and when he was nearly one hundred years old, the promise of a son was repeated to him. he was given the assurance that the future heir would be the child of Sarah not Hagar her maid. Finally, when Abraham was 100 years old and his wife 90, God fulfilled his promise (Genesis 21). Abraham realized that “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Rebekah, Isaac’s Wife
Rebekah could not bear children. Isaac and Rebekah had been married for 19 years (Genesis 25: 20, 26), and were still childless. So, “Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant” (Genesis 25:21). Isaac relied upon the mercies of God and he received the answer to his prayer and Rebekah bore him a twins – Jacob and Esau.
Rachel, Jacob’s Wife
Rachel also could not bear children. But the Scriptures tell us that, “God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, God has taken away my disgrace.” She named him Joseph, and said, may the LORD add to me another son” (Genesis 30:22-24). When Rachel took her problem to the Lord in prayer, her petition was heard. And faith obtained what impatience and unbelief had heretofore prevented.
Hannah, Elkanah’s Wife
Hannah was unable to bear children (1 Samuel 1-2). So, Hannah when she was at the tabernacle of the Lord in Shiloh, made a vow saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11). Eli the priest, when he saw Hannah praying, told her “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” (verse 17). When Hannah returned home, she “conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the LORD” (verse 20). Then, Hannah fulfilled her vow to the Lord.
Elizabeth, Zacharia’s Wife
In the case of Elisabeth, there was a double reason for not expecting children, for to lifelong of infertility was added old age. “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren” (Luke 1: 7).
Have Faith in God
Those that are struggling with infertility, should know that the Lord has a purpose in everything that happens to His children (Romans 8:28). He also listens to the prayers of His own granting them the desires of their hearts (Psalms 37:4). But no matter what the outcome is, the believers need to trust that God will ultimately do that which is best for them. For “the Lord works out everything to its proper end” (Proverbs 16:4).
In His service,