Genesis 16: 1-4 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaanten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
“Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is,” so are the lyrics of the Rolling Stones song “Time is on my side.” This is true for many, but Sarai and Abram did not hold the same sentiment. The bible teaches that Sarai and Abram were advanced in age and without child.
However, in Genesis 15:2-4 the Lord told Abram the heir to his estate will come from his flesh and blood. I can hear Abram using a Gary Coleman expression, “What you talkin about Lord,” for Abram was about 75 years old. But Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteous.” What amazing faith in spite of the physical realities before Abram.
God didn’t stop there with the vision and promise for Abram. God also promised Abram in Genesis 15:5 that his offspring will be as numerous as the stars in heaven. What an amazing promise to behold!
Fast forward to Genesis 16. At this point, time has lapsed since God revealed to Abram the promise of an heir from his flesh and blood and the numerous overflow of his offspring for generations to come. How many of you know that time can wear on ya?
Well the bible says that Abram’s wife Sari acknowledged in Genesis 16:2 “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. Now let’s keep it real, any brother of Abram’s age (86 years old) would have agreed with his wife’s suggestion much like Abram did. Your wife is offering her young beautiful maidservant to you for creating a family! Yes, Abram didn’t miss a beat agreeing to Sari’s idea.
And the story goes on to explain how Sari began to mistreat her maidservant. How Hagar the maidservant was driven away, returned, and gave birth to Ishmael. I don’t have time to unpack all the details, but the Lord appears to Abram again at the age of ninety-nine to confirm His covenant and change Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai name to Sarah.
In Genesis 18, the Lord reaffirms the promise of an heir to Abraham by sending three visitors to give word that about this time next year Abraham and Sarah will be with child. As God promised, in Genesis 21:1-2 Sarah gave birth to a son by the name of Isaac. What an awesome God we serve!
Throughout Abraham’s walk with God, our Lord provided his word that He was going to bless Abraham with a son in spite of his current reality. The reality for Sarah was the fact she was advanced in age and barren.
How often does the realities of our outward circumstances dictate the steps we take to achieve what we desire? How often have we settled for Ishmael when God was trying to give us an Isaac. However, God’s timing is always best. It is when we step away from God’s promise due to the wait that we create the Ishmaels of life.
What are your Ishmaels today? Perhaps you are experiencing financial hardships due to instant gratification. Or, maybe your friends warned you about this particular man or woman, but you had to have them. Now you’re committed and things didn’t turn out the way you planned but you hang in there because you dread those four words “I told you so.”
We have all made mistakes and settled for Ishmaels instead of waiting for the Isaac God was trying to provide. Even though Abraham and Sarah tried to solve the issue of barrenness their way, that did not deter God’s will and plan for their life. God is able to correct the course when we lose sight of the promise.
Trust Him today as you put your faith in the one who is able to give you the grace to receive the Isaac He has for you.
** If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click “Prayer Request” . I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with.