Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. – Genesis 17:19
Despite Abram being the father of the faith, who was accounted by God as being righteous for believing God would give him an heir and bless the world through him, Abram had momentary lapses in judgment and tried to force the will of God. Sarai, his wife, became impatient for the promise to come and suggested that Abram bear a son to her through her servant, Hagar, who bore Abram a son named Ishmael. Abram willingly and happily complied and fathered a son at the ripe old age of 85.
Abram saw 10 years pass with out the promise of God coming true. His impatient wife convinced him to do what God said He would do. Twenty-three years after the promise was given, it finally came to fruition. God told Abram that he’d have son of his own doing through Sarai not Hagar. God specifically pointed out to Abram that the covenant between them would come through Isaac the son of promise and not Ishmael the son of man’s works.
The story points us to the words of Paul, who said that we are saved by grace through faith and not through the works of man. Abram tried to bring about God’s saving grace through his own power rather than relying upon God’s promise until after he’d messed up. Through this one action there is still a sibling rivalry going on between the sons of Isaac and the sons of Ishmael all around the world today. Fortunately, God upheld his end of the deal despite Abram’s failed attempt at doing what only God can do. Jesus would descend through the line of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and on down the line. This Seed of Abraham did bless the world through His sacrifice on the cross where He shed His innocent blood as payment for the sins of all mankind.
The point from this passage is two-fold: 1) God’s Way is the only way and 2) it’s not by our power or might but by His Spirit. Where Abram tried so hard in his flesh to bring about God’s promise, he merely delayed the coming of the promise even longer. If he had fully trusted in God to do it, Isaac may have been born sooner. Who knows? However, despite his vainest attempts, Abraham was still a man of faith and trusted God to deliver on His Word. The day finally came, and Isaac was conceived and eventually born. The promised heir lived.
What promise has God given you? Will you be like Abram and try to make it happen in your power and might? Or, will you trust in God and wait on the promised Son to bring about all that He promised? There are two roads in life one: one leading to life and the other to death. The Bible is clear that whatever is not done in faith in sin (Rom. 14:23). Period! Trust in God and wait on His promise. If He gave it, it will happen. Don’t grow weary in well doing. Lean not on your understanding. Acknowledge God in all your ways. Be still and know that He is God. God will complete the good work He started in you.
Father, at times You bring back to this well again and again to admonish me to remember that timing is of the essence. Your timing rules over all others. I know and understand that You look outside of time and see all of human existence as one big mural happening simultaneously from the Creation moment to the New Jerusalem coming to earth and beyond. Help me to remain focused and steady on the path You’ve placed before me. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and try to birth another Ishmael as I’ve done in the past. I must rely upon Your Spirit In Jesus’ name, Amen.