“So Sarah said to Abraham, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant girl. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abraham agreed with Sarah’s proposal.”
Talk about a Jerry Springer episode! Eleven long years after God had first appeared to Abraham and made those incredible promises, there was still no evidence of fulfillment. Abraham was eighty-six and Sarah was seventy-six. Sarah had an idea, though. Abraham could have a baby with her slave, Hagar. While this offends our modern sensibilities, this was a completely acceptable practice in that day.
Ishamael was the result of that union and his influence is still felt. Islam holds him to have been a prophet and believes that he was the son of promise for Abraham. Genesis’ account, however, makes it clear that Abraham and Sarah, no matter how pure their motives, had attempted to take a shortcut to the fulfillment of God’s plan.
I have always found it interesting that God never rebukes Abraham for his attempt at “helping God out.” Instead of rebuking him, God lets him deal with the consequences of his actions. These consequences included conflict and strife between Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael. Longterm consequences would be Ishmael’s descendants strife with Abraham’s descendants.
It would be thirteen years later before God would once more appear to Abraham and restate his promises. Abraham would be a father, Sarah, would bear a child, the land that they were living in would belong to them, and they would be the parents of a great nation. But the clock kept ticking…
Have you ever tried to take matters into your own hands to see God’s promises fulfilled? How did that work out?
Annie and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. We are training leader and helping plant churches. Would you consider joining our support team? Just click here to get involved. Obrigado!