September 3/4

Shortcutting the Will of God

Genesis 16:1-6

Genesis 16:1-6We live in a fast-paced culture and are accustomed to quick results. Waiting appears to be an activity of past generations.

It's no surprise, then, that we have a hard time if God doesn't answer a prayer right away. But when we refuse to be patient, our only option is to step out of His plan. Today's passage tells how Abram and Sarai (later Abraham and Sarah) took matters into their own hands because they did not like the Lord's timetable.

Ten years had passed since God promised them a son, and Sarai was aging. So she and Abram decided to let her servant Hagar bear a child for them. Sarah eventually did give birth in her old age, but that lack of patience led to great strife—for their family and for us today. Much of the tension in the Middle East can be traced to two people groups: the descendants of Hagar and of Sarah.

Why would a godly couple choose a path of self-sufficiency? First, Sarai's intense desire clouded her thinking. She desperately wanted to provide her husband with a son—which was a basis of women's worth in that culture. Next, she succumbed to wrong thinking. After years of childlessness and longing, she began to think that perhaps the Lord needed human help. Finally, she influenced Abram to believe this faulty reasoning, and both gave in to impatience.

These traps still pose danger today. We're not immune to strong desire, human reasoning, or the influence of others. Impatient by nature, we could easily justify taking action in our own strength. The best advice is to listen, obey, and wait. God's timing is perfect, and we don't want to miss His best.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.