Your children will outnumber the stars and the sands'. Perhaps Abraham had imagined the words - just idle, wishful thinking. Or maybe his conscience had dreamt it and he'd somehow convinced himself God had spoken. Either way, his family line was fading, not growing. He was getting older. His wife was clearly passed childbearing age. Something had to be done. Come to think of it, did God's promise actually mention his wife...? 'Your children will outnumber the stars,' not 'Her children...' Abraham had specifically heard only his name mentioned. And was it his imagination or was the home-help looking at him the other day?...
Genesis 16 tells of how Abraham tries to force God's hand and, in doing so, fathers an Ishmael not an Isaac. Ishmael isn't the promise God had in mind. Abraham's mistake doesn't cost him his promise, but it does cost a whole lot of pain all round. Lesson learned: Taking responsibility for your actions doesn't mean that there won't be further consequences in your future. However, we also learn that if God makes a promise, there isn't any mistake too big to stop it being fulfilled.
So what now? Write out a promise God has spoken over your life. Now seal it in an envelope and store it somewhere safe. By storing the envelope you're symbolically saying, 'I trust God to unfold the promise at the right time'.
SoulFood: Neh 1-4, Luke 21:12-24, Ps 78:17-31, Pr 23:26-28
The Word For You Today (an adaptation of The Word for Today authored by Bob & Debby Gass) is published under licence by RBG New Zealand. 2011 UCB International Ltd