As we continue with our study of Abraham’s descendants of promise, let us keep at the forefront of our minds a foundational, yet often forgotten fact: God is the Creator of the universe and we are not. We men and women are but part of His creation, and therefore, as the clay submits to the Potter to be molded as the Potter sees fit, so are we to submit to Him.
Often times, we receive a Word from the Lord, or a promise from Him, which may require us to wait on Him. As I am writing this, I am thinking about one of the areas in which we are teaching our kids to grow: patience. While none of us are particularly strong in exercising patience, the young generation today is especially lacking in it…they are growing up with everything at their fingertips, and able to access whatever they want, whenever they want.
I asked my kids if they know the root of the Hebrew word “Savlanot”, which means “patience”. My son said, “Yes! It is “Sevel”, which means ‘to suffer’.” Sometimes waiting upon the Lord involves a bit of suffering as we die to ourselves, and trust Him to fulfill His promises in His perfect time.
Abraham and Sarah had to learn this lesson, and the reality is that there was a heavy price for their lack of patience. One might think that they would have learned from the account in Genesis 12, when they did not wait on the Lord to provide in times of famine, but rather went down to Egypt where they compromised and lied out of fear.
It was later in Genesis 17 that we see yet another compromise, which came out of a lack of patience and faith:
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” Genesis 16:1-2
God promised to Abraham to bless him and his descendants after him; however, it required an amount of faith and patience that Sarah and Abraham did not have at that time. As we know, Abraham had relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. The result of Abraham and Sarah’s compromise was that Sarah became angry and jealous, and wanted Hagar out of the camp. We then read a very interesting account of God’s grace revealed in a great way:
“Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count.” The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.” Genesis 16:7-11
God blesses Hagar with His amazing grace; not only does He bless her with a son, but He also gives him a special name and a great promise to his descendants.
Ishmael was indeed Abraham’s first born, but he did not come from the line of the promise, the line of the blessing given to Abraham through Sarah’s womb (which is something we will continue to study together).
Is there an area in your life in which you need to wait, trust, and hope? Yes, God can redeem any sin to a blessing, but this is not an excuse to sin and walk in disobedience. I would like to close with a verse, which I would like us to reflect upon:
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
on those who hope for His grace,” Psalm 33:18
Share this Post