You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. Deuteronomy 7:-14
God wants you to experience fruitfulness in every area of your life – spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, etc. To receive fruitfulness, you need to deal with barrenness. Barrenness means being unfruitful, unproductive, empty, closed-up, shut-up, lifeless, hopeless and helpless. It is the opposite or absence of fruitfulness.
Have you been in a place where nothing seems to be happening?
Is there a family need that you are struggling with?
Are you battling financial struggles?
Do you have unfulfilled dreams that have caused you to be discouraged?
In this message we will be talking about some of the things that God says about barrenness and how to turn barrenness into fruitfulness. We are not directly speaking to natural barrenness but about seasons of barrenness in our lives. Like natural barrenness, we often go through these seasons without any logical explanation. But God has a plan if we will be open to Him. God’s plan is to take us from barrenness to fruitfulness.
God’s word has some very specific promises when it comes to the area of barrenness.
So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
Barrenness is a major theme in the Bible: This may sound a little surprising, but it is interesting how many of God’s chosen vessels were barren at the start.
Barrenness to Fruitfulness
There were notable women through whom God was going to bring forth the promised seed who had to overcome barrenness. Women like Sarah, the wife of Abraham; Rebekah, the wife of Isaac; and Rachael, the wife of Jacob—the three mothers in Israel.
God calls all of us in a barren state and even takes us through cycles of barrenness in our life before He brings forth His ultimate plan for our lives.
When you are in a state of barrenness you have certain feelings that are alluded to in the Isaiah passage that we read (Is. 54:4, 6). You feel…
- Ashamed • Disgraced • Forsaken or deserted • Grieved in spirit (not comforted) • Refused or rejected
Among the eastern cultures, barrenness was often considered to be a family’s greatest misfortune.
God wants to turn our barrenness into fruitfulness.
However, before He does that He wants to use barrenness to deal with us. When it has worked what it is to work, when it has produced what it is to produce…God will turn our barrenness into fruitfulness. He will make the barren woman to keep house (Ps. 113:9).
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! –RSVA
Biblical Examples of Barrenness God has given us several examples of barren situations to serve as teachers to us concerning God and His dealings with us.
There are three principles that God wants to see operating in our lives in times of barrenness that are illustrated by three barren women in the Book of Genesis. —Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel.
These principles are the basis for our moving from barrenness to fruitfulness.
- Sarah—The Principle of Faith
Genesis 11:30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
Sarah was barren and had no child, but the truth is she had many promises of fruitfulness (Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 17:1-7, 15-16; 18:10).
Genesis 17:15-16 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
Abraham and Sarah received their first word when they were relatively young. And, of course, like any normal person, they wanted results immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way. Often we must go through a time of contradiction when our faith in the word is tested. We have the promises, but we do not see the results.
During this time we must go through some of the same stages that Abraham and Sarah went through.
We must die to our own schemes (Eliezar). 15:2-4
We must cease from our striving and manipulation (Hagar & Ishmael)
We must wait for that which is brought forth by the Lord.
We must maintain faith and patience (Heb. 6:12-15).
When both Abraham and Sarah finally got to the place of unwavering faith, God fulfilled every promise (Rom. 4:17-21) and in the end He got all of the glory. Break the barren mindset!
2. Rebekah—The Principle of Prayer
Genesis 25:21a Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren…
She was barren despite her sisters blessing her with many offspring.
(Gen 24:60 NIV) And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.”
This tells me that when God promised us something, that is not automatic. The devil is out to foil God’s plan. When God promises you offspring, you can be sure the devil works overtime to try to close your womb. When God promises you prosperity, the devil tries to bring you poverty. He does not want God’s will to be fulfilled in your life.
Rebekah was barren for about nineteen years. Isaac was 40 when he was married (Gen 25:20) and the children did not arrive until he was 60 (Gen 25:26).
In this case, Isaac got before God and “pleaded with the Lord.”This word that is translated “pleaded with” literally means “to intercede, to burn incense in worship.” It is related to two other words which mean “volume of smoke” and “abundance or copiousness.”
The implication here is that Isaac did not just ask once. He did not just ask casually. Isaac took on the posture of Elijah and others of “persistent, prevailing, effectual, fervent prayer.”
He asked and He kept on asking; he sought and he kept on seeking; He knocked and he kept on knocking.
When their deliverance came, it came in the form of double fruitfulness and the birth of twin boys.
Hannah’s prayer turned her barrenness into fruitfulness. 1 Samuel 1
Elizabeth’s prayer turned her barrenness into fruitfulness. Luke 1
- Rachael—The Principle of Pure Motivation
Genesis 29:31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.
Rachel was a much loved and favored woman, but God needed to work some things out of her so that her ability to bear children would not become a source of pride for her.
Her barrenness only revealed certain things that were in her heart. Some of the things mentioned in the following chapter include the following:
Envy (Gen. 30:1)
Idolatry (Gen. 30:1) (putting having children above God)
Blaming Others (Gen.30:1-2)
Bitterness toward God
Contention and Strife (Gen. 30:8)
When Rachael was ready and her heart was right, God moved mightily in her behalf (Gen. 30:22-24).
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The LORD shall add to me another son.”