Friday, January 21, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 21

Despite us--despite our fear, doubt, limitations and mis-steps, God does what He says He's going to do!  The miraculous birth of Isaac (life from a 'dead' womb) happened just as God said it would; and centuries later, the birth of the Savior would follow a similar pattern.  We can trust God--we need to learn His promises and live by them.

While God's purposes prevail, He does not eliminate the consequences of our own actions.  Sarah and Abraham both suffered with the reality produced by their planning!  My heart tends to sympathize more with Abraham; letting go of a child seems more painful than blending the families.  But my heart is human and it was that kind of thinking that created this problem in the first place.  The reality of this scenario is played out in our lives every day:  the natural man always fights the 'new' spiritual man.  The natural and the spiritual are not compatible; we can not blend the two, nor could Abraham and Sarah.

Isaac was the divinely promised heir.  Ishmael was the humanly-devised solution.  Isaac was a result only God could produce; Ishmael was the result of human initiative.  We, like Abraham and Sarah, must rely on God to produce life through us and not try to manufacture results.  Our production will create challenges and heartaches; His blessing has no added burdens.  We must reach the end of ourselves--our abilities, our plans, our opinions--and surrender them to the wisdom and leading of God. 

If (well, when) we fail, God will lead us to the point where we surrender our burdens and trust Him to provide and produce.  Just as God met the needs of Hagar and Ishmael, He will meet the needs we give to Him.  Isaac's line did produce the results God intended:  the Savior is alive and well and the divine plan on track.  The descendants of Ishmael are welcome into the divine plan but they must choose the eternal over the earthly...just like us.  The best example we can give is always surrendered obedience to the Lord.  When we honor our commitments and trust the Lord, He is faithful to do just what He promised!

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