Re: Genesis 17:15-22
When reading this passage that God reminded me of this morning, I too laughed like Abraham. I felt Him. Its been 21 years for me too, in a manner of speaking, since the promise was given, and my life seems to grow older and drier too. How can He still say, in all sanity, that in this, the driest of times, a new life can still grow from the womb of my life. Besides, I have messed up, and gotten a son – not my wife’s, a slaves, but he is the son of my loins Lord, and I love him so much. Why don’t we just agree Mighty God, Yahweh Elohim – who births order out of disorder, that you use that which is available and zap it into something beautiful? After all, didn’t I meet you half-way? Isn’t Ishmael better than Eliezer my slave? Fine, Ishmael is half slave too, but doesn’t my blood run through his veins too? If you ask my opinion God, its been too long, and I think I may have heard wrong – I think you said a son, not a son by my wife Sarah… you are not a God that is that specific. You just said a son, and I got one ages ago, release me from this journey of faith, that I may be sane like my neighbors and accept Ishmael as my heir. He is after all my first son. This, from the father of faith I am comforted. God showed him mercy, did something for him through a woman he had loved but sometimes treated shabbily by using her as a human/ sexual shield against perceived danger[Gen 12:10-20, 20:1-18]. God was again restoring Sarah’s honor, when the husband of her youth tried to elevate her slave above her. God said ‘No’.
So you already have a child, I am not talking only about faith for children today. I am talking about faith in God to perform that which He said He would perform in your life, IN THE WAY HE SAID HE WOULD DO IT! Abraham’s waiting had not been faultless, hence his faith hadn’t been either. He faultered, gave in to human pressure and did what was wise according to worldly standards. He detoured from his faith in God Almighty, for a while, and did what a man must do. After all it was God’s will to give him a son – God wanted to give him a son didn’t he? He is the One who started all this many years ago hadn’t He? And get a son He did. But God had a plan, and a pathway. Ishmael would be great and blessed to, that was His promise to a slave woman and to His son wavering in faith, but God’s things are done God’s way.
Like Abraham, and hopefully not you, I too have often tried to create an Ishmael situation, to sooth me from the painful wait for Isaac. It might be in forcing my way into a job I know was never meant to be mine, because God promised me wealth for example. I forget that how I spend my day, should always be an act of worship to Yahweh the Everlasting. And I can only worship by submitting humbly in faith. It might be by taking a spouse, the one that is in my life, a good one, but not the one through which God would deliver His promise for my generation and the others that stem from this union. It might be in the friend I chose to confide in, because I was lonely, hurting or succeeding and I just needed someone to stand by me to rejoice with me. It might be in the person I choose to represent me as an authority in State and/or in Church, because s/he was the only one available – because I was too tired of being in the place of waiting. It could be in deciding to get a child alternatively, outside of the counsel of God, because time was running out. It could be about leaving a job He gave you a long time ago today, suing your boss today, because things are not going as you thought they would, against His counsel that you be still, because an opportunity has opened up. Lord, Let it Be Ishmael was not just Abraham’s cry, but yours and mine today.
Ishmael is not worse than Isaac, he is blessed too, he is just not your blessing. Introducing him into your place of blessing, the altar of God in your life, will bring such discord. So God’s “no” to you is a love word. A long time ago in a place of waiting, God sent a woman to give me these words, which I now pass on to you “ he is not the one for you, that man you are involved with. God says you have refused to be yoked to Ishmael, He says Isaac is coming, though he tarry, wait for him, for he will surely come…” It is a word that has sustained me till today, even when I have gone out looking for ‘Ishmael’ in the various arenas of my life – it is a word God reminded me of today, when on my knees, I cried about the amount of time He was taking to be Yahweh Elohim in every area of my life. Don’t laugh, ask me again this time next year what God would have done in your life, and in mine. No, you will tell me.
John 3:27, 31b‘A man can only receive what has been given to him from Heaven…The One who comes from Heaven is above all.
First written on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 4:19am and published by the Standard