Genesis 16:1-2 (KJB) “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
God previously promised Abram that He would give him a child in Genesis chapter 12. Genesis 12:7 (KJB) “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. ”
A few years had passed from the time God made this promise to Abram and as we see above his wife who likely felt it was her fault decided to take matters into her own hands. We also see in that while Sarai was the author of this plan Abram hearkened to the voice of his wife.
Decisions concerning life’s problems in a marriage are commonly made in this manner. What I mean is one spouse or the other while endeavoring to solve a problem comes up with an idea that professedly solves a problem. Desiring to avoid conflict we usually capitulate to avoid a dispute. We, humans, in our natural state are problem solvers at heart. When a problem arises our mind goes to work right away figuring out how we can solve the situation with the least amount of stress. This is completely our human nature and normal. However, if you have by faith accepted Jesus Christ as your savior we have a new nature now. When we solve a problem it is according to our old sinful nature. Our old man leaves God and the new nature out when we solve the problem. What God really wants is for us to trust Him and His solution.
Moving forward in the narrative many struggles take place, Hagar has a son named Ishmael and eventually, Abram and Sarai have their names changed to Abraham and Sarah. They are aged and Abraham still is not trusting that God is going to fulfill what we know as the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham’s faith is tried and he again petitions God to have Ishmael be his heir. Genesis 17:18 (KJB) “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” God gives Abraham a direct answer.
Genesis 17:19-21 (KJB) “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”
God provides in His Word many examples of the failure of men when we try to solve our own problems. The question is are we prepared to learn from these examples or will we continue to make the same mistakes? I get it and yes I have made these same mistakes over my lifetime. When we don’t involve God and ask for His guidance this is lacking of faith. It is worse actually because when we as humans act on our own instead of trusting God for the answers we are trying to live by the Law. We know that we are saved by grace through faith which is our justification. We also know that nobody can be saved or justified by the law. Our sanctification is also by grace – meaning we can not grow in the Grace of God by deciding we are going to be Holy. Studying, going to college, going to church, bible studies are all good and worthwhile pursuits but none of them can do anything without the Grace of God. What I mean is there is nothing we can do in the flesh to Grow in Grace. We must trust God for His Grace.
Galatians 3:2-3 (KJB) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
To summarize what we need to learn is to have faith and trust God. God saves us by grace through faith – our justification. He also grows us in grace by faith – our sanctification. Sarah and Abraham attempted to rush the plan of God by their own works. In the end after much hurt, disappointment, and discouragement their plans failed. Often we do the same thing when a problem arises. We conjure up a plan that fits our needs (flesh) and go forward without ever asking God what God wants. What God wants is all that matters and the only plan that will succeed. Sure, it may seem at times that our plans work out but if it was not God’s way it is never the right way. Perhaps God’s way would have been a great blessing and we will never know. This year commit to trusting God and His way and instead of man’s and our way. Hopefully, in the above article, I have shown where our way is the wrong way and we are missing out on the blessings of God.text for link
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. — 1 John 5:11-13 KJV