When will ever get this right? God leads us, we don’t lead Him. God tells us what to do with how, when and where if we listen. But when God seems late in making it happen for us, why do we step in to help the God of Creation with our own small efforts? We’ve all done it, admit it. Let’s confess now that our efforts pale in comparison to God’s ways. Most (every) times we make life worse, creating messes that only God can clean up. Let’s give all praise, honor and glory to God for “fixing” our mistakes through our impatience and “making all things turn out for good for those who love Him”.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Oh God, we are such a mess at times. How we must make you sigh when we try to take over your will by thinking we have better ways for speeding up your process, changing the course, not following your directions in the least because of our impatience! Help us to learn to wait for your best!
We, who have also jumped ahead of God at times, cannot judge Sarai to harshly when she stepped up to “help” God with his promise to Abram to birth the generations. Sarai’s biological clock is ticking. She is old and still hasn’t gotten pregnant with their first child, let alone a “nation” of children. In that culture, to be barren is humiliating. So, she births a plan to help God along in His plan. She pays the price for doing so, however. To make matters worse, Abram blames her for what happens though He (like Adam) was a willing participate in Sarai’s plan!
There will always be extreme hurt with complications when we depart God’s will for our will. Hagar, the obedient servant, did what she was told but became a casualty of war between Sarai and her husband. But we have an Almighty God who steps into our lives, corrects our course and helps those we hurt in the process. God is good. We need His help.
There is no scripture more heart stirring and comforting than the words of God to Hagar, “I hear you.” Hagar has lived in a household led by Abram who loves God in relationship. He regularly communes with God. So, Hagar has been introduced to God. Now when she is thrown out, alone, not knowing what is next for her, Abram’s God becomes her God!
“She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!”
“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”
Are tears coming to your eyes to read and understand what is going on here? God is for all, created all, is in all, and makes things right when we mess life up by our disobedient impatience. Sarai messed up. She brought Abram in on the scheme to “help” God. Hagar was a “casualty of war” in Sarai’s plan. Sarai’s plan was not God’s plan. God did not need Sarai’s help. God does not need our help to accomplish His plan but He will invite us to his work to accomplish it. Wait for it…Wait for His invitation!
Genesis 16, The Message
1-2 Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child.
She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.
3-4 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place. He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.
5 Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse. I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May God decide which of us is right.”
6 “You decide,” said Abram. “Your maid is your business.”
Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away.
7-8 An angel of God found her beside a spring in the desert; it was the spring on the road to Shur. He said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, what are you doing here?”
She said, “I’m running away from Sarai my mistress.”
9-12 The angel of God said, “Go back to your mistress. Put up with her abuse.” He continued, “I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.
From this pregnancy, you’ll get a son: Name him Ishmael;
for God heard you, God answered you.
He’ll be a bucking bronco of a man,
a real fighter, fighting and being fought,
Always stirring up trouble,
always at odds with his family.”
13 She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!
“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”
14 That’s how that desert spring got named “God-Alive-Sees-Me Spring.” That spring is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15-16 Hagar gave Abram a son. Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave him his son, Ishmael.
WHAT DO WE LEARN AND HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Consider this scenario. You hear that a friend’s birthday is coming soon. You think your friend needs a bigger party than he usually has so you take the lead and plan it. You have a plan in mind for the party that you think will top all other parties. Excited just thinking about it, you get a jump on the details and even buy all the supplies for a great party. You then go to your friend’s house to make it happen.
The friend opens the door and sees all you have done and asks, “What’s going on?” You reply, “I have planned a birthday party that will be the envy of all parties!” The friend says, “That’s nice of you, but my parents have planned a fantastic, week-long trip for me to Disney and they said I could invite a friend!” “There won’t be party, because this trip this is way better!” How embarrassing to be left holding the party goods.
When we think we can do better, we miss what is best! God knows what is best for each one of His people. He will invite us to what is the best for us. Always. Count on God. And just wait!
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Through it all, real faith was revealed. Sarai’s faith wavered. Abram caved into Sarai’s weakness. Hagar did what she was told. Bitterness set it. Hagar was sent away, rejected for her part of Sarai’s plan. God sees Hagar. Hagar sees that God sees her and now she believes in Him! This is the good that comes from what was bad. God is good. Trust Him.
I repent of those times I thought about and implemented ways to “help” you accomplish your will in my life. What was I thinking? The evil one loves it when I step in to help you. Help me to learn from my mistakes and missteps. Thank you for mopping up my messes. Thank you for your forgiveness and making things right with you. You are God, you don’t need my help to accomplish your will and purposes but when you invite me, I’m there! Thank you for inviting me to your work to teach me your ways. I will wait on you and your invitation to the party. Transform my thinking and behaving…
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!