We hear the call of God. Then we wait for God to do exactly what He says. In the wait, God is still working but we sometimes feel that we need to help God fulfill his call to us. That’s when mistakes multiply and evil enters in with efforts to thwart the will of God. God works in us and through us to mature us in our love, trust, faith and hope in Him. God works in people around us in the same ways. All who believe in God are called to do His will in His way in His time. He doesn’t change his purpose even when we rebel and change the circumstances. He makes it all good come to fruition even from our messes and mistakes in judgement. God has a plan; we are not powerful enough to stop it. And I’m so glad I can’t, aren’t you?
I am transfixed and focused on the words that leap off the page for me from Sarah’s lips upon giving birth to Isaac…”Yet here I am.” She thought of what others had said about her. Sarah may have remembered how she went ahead of God’s plan and ordered Abraham to sleep with her servant which caused a royal mess. Yes, Sarah messed up but God’s plan and promise were still intact. Sarah’s mistakes did not stop God’s plan for His people. Sarah revels and celebrates in what God has done through her in His timing with joy, “Whoever would have suggested to Abraham that Sarah would one day nurse a baby! Yet here I am! I’ve given the old man a son! The Message paraphrase of this story makes it real, something I would say while smiling with gratefulness. What God said happened exactly as he said it would.
When will we learn that our missteps in judgement, our mistakes in doing His will, along with our sins of rebellion in our growing up with God will NOT cause God to throw up his hands and say, “I can’t work with her any longer, she’s an idiot.”
Dear friends, I’ve thought that from time to time, then God comes to me and reminds me I don’t have that kind of power or control. God knows we will fail, make mistakes and sin as we travel here on our journeys of faith and trust in Him. Believe that God is God alone and does not need our help. God invites us to His work to mature in our love for Him, but God ultimately accomplishes His will and plan. And get this and take it to heart, God navigates our bad for His good! And only God is truly good, teaches Jesus.
I’ve messed up, yet here I am, God still loving me unconditionally and forever, making His plan work to His good and for His glory. We can understand this truth from Paul who messed up in his early life then became God’s apostle who spread the Good News to the Gentile nations. Paul knew the compassion and greatness of God personally and knew the power of God’s ability to fulfill his purpose in all of us. He writes;
“And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believer in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:27-39, NLT
Read, think, pray then live what we learn. With these thoughts abiding in us, let’s read on as we continue the story of God displayed through Abraham and his family…
Genesis 21, The Message
1-4 God visited Sarah exactly as he said he would; God did to Sarah what he promised: Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set. Abraham named him Isaac. When his son was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded.
5-6 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born.
God has blessed me with laughter
and all who get the news will laugh with me!
7 She also said,
Whoever would have suggested to Abraham
that Sarah would one day nurse a baby!
Yet here I am! I’ve given the old man a son!
8 The baby grew and was weaned. Abraham threw a big party on the day Isaac was weaned.
9-10 One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac. She told Abraham, “Get rid of this slave woman and her son. No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son Isaac!”
11-13 The matter gave great pain to Abraham—after all, Ishmael was his son. But God spoke to Abraham, “Don’t feel badly about the boy and your maid. Do whatever Sarah tells you. Your descendants will come through Isaac. Regarding your maid’s son, be assured that I’ll also develop a great nation from him—he’s your son, too.”
14-16 Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, “I can’t watch my son die.” As she sat, she broke into sobs.
17-18 Meanwhile, God heard the boy crying. The angel of God called from Heaven to Hagar, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy and knows the fix he’s in. Up now; go get the boy. Hold him tight. I’m going to make of him a great nation.”
19 Just then God opened her eyes. She looked. She saw a well of water. She went to it and filled her canteen and gave the boy a long, cool drink.
20-21 God was on the boy’s side as he grew up. He lived out in the desert and became a skilled archer. He lived in the Paran wilderness. And his mother got him a wife from Egypt.
22-23 At about that same time, Abimelech and the captain of his troops, Phicol, spoke to Abraham: “No matter what you do, God is on your side. So swear to me that you won’t do anything underhanded to me or any of my family. For as long as you live here, swear that you’ll treat me and my land as well as I’ve treated you.”
24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25-26 At the same time, Abraham confronted Abimelech over the matter of a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had taken. Abimelech said, “I have no idea who did this; you never told me about it; this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
27-28 So the two of them made a covenant. Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. Abraham set aside seven sheep from his flock.
29 Abimelech said, “What does this mean? These seven sheep you’ve set aside.”
30 Abraham said, “It means that when you accept these seven sheep, you take it as proof that I dug this well, that it’s my well.”
31-32 That’s how the place got named Beersheba (the Oath-Well), because the two of them swore a covenant oath there. After they had made the covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech and his commander, Phicol, left and went back to Philistine territory.
33-34 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshiped God there, praying to the Eternal God. Abraham lived in Philistine country for a long time.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23
God is with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. God sees, hears and helps them through difficult circumstances. God’s love for his people will not change. His mercies are fresh daily. God’s purpose will be fulfilled. How do we respond? With grateful hearts for He does the same for us, in and through us!
We all mess up. I’ve messed up. Yet here I am. I’ve repented. God forgave me. God cleanses my heart, renews my Spirit and restores the joy of his salvation in me as promised. I’m redeemed, bought at a high price by Jesus who is my Lord. God shows his love for us daily by giving us His Holy Spirit to guide us. God’s plan for me will prevail for “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
What would we do if we knew and truly believed that no matter what God’s will would be done?
We’ve all been called according to the purpose of God. What is this purpose? Yes, it includes saving you from sin and death. But it also includes joining God in his work of restoring the broken world through Christ. Through our words and our works, we can partner with God as he unites all things in Christ. Because we have been called according to God’s purpose, our lives have eternal purpose as well. This purpose shapes both what we do and who we are.
We are not perfect but we are perfectly forgiven. This is why we point people to our Perfect Lord and Savior who saved us and set us in right standing with God. May God’s will be done in every detail of our lives is our prayer.
Yet here I am loving you, trusting in You for you are my Hope. Help us all who believe to grow and mature from our failures for that is part of your preparation to fulfill your plan for us. Help us to do exactly what your prophet said about what you require from us—“to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you” knowing in our hearts that you will work all things good according to your purpose. Here I am, listening and learning, for I am Yours.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen