We talked this week about what it means to follow God’s leading into the unknown. As we studied Genesis 12, we remembered times in own lives when God called us into the unseen. Abraham was required to leave his family, his country, to give up his inheritance in response to God’s promptings. We admire his faith, his willingness to trust God. Yet, we cannot forget that Abraham’s life is full of ups and downs.
This week, David Jones will be teaching on the story of Ishmael. While Abraham was faithful to follow God into distant lands, he and Sarah are not sure God will be able to fulfill his promise through an old barren lady. They develop their own plan; maybe God needs a little help. It seems logical; using maidservants to produce children was an acceptable practice in the ancient Middle East. So Sarah brings it up and Abraham willingly participates in the plan.
Do you ever imagine people like Abraham and Sarah walking around with halos? Do you envision them as nearly perfect in their relating to God? This is simply not the case. The author of Genesis reveals the raw truth. Abraham and Sarah were not convinced that the barren womb could be opened. They chose a path apart from God’s leading; they took matters into their own hands.
We are often tempted to do the same. We like to strategize; we would rather go the reasonable path. We are often skeptical that God will step up to the plate. In fact, God often seems slow to action. In this case, Abraham and Sarah complicate God’s plan. Their veering has tremendous consequences for all involved. As David relates the story, may we be challenged to submit to God’s way. May we recognize that His plan is worth trusting.