Genesis 17:17-18 – “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child? ” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” NKJV
Everyone wants a word from the Lord! And when we get a word from the Lord we get so excited. I know Abram got excited when God told him that he would not only have a son, but that his seed would be as numerous as the stars in the sky! The Bible tells us that Abram believed God. And believed God. And believed God. Especially since he was 75 years old when the promise was made and 100 when it was fulfilled. I know that he had to have been excited when he told Sarai. They probably thought at first that the baby would be born within the year, but he wasn’t. And for years they kept believing that the baby would come, but it didn’t come. And so their faith began to wane.
Many people know how Abram and Sarai felt. I know I do! God gives an exciting word to us which will give us the desire of our heart. You will be healed! Your debts will be forgiven! I’ve called you to preach the gospel. Go ahead, and put the word He has given you in the list. And you light upon that word, rehearse that word, confess that word and that word is yet to be fulfilled in your life. Well, Abram and Sarai took matters into their own hands to “help” God fulfill His promise to them.
One day Sarai suggested to Abram that he take Hagar to have a baby with. And Abram did. And he had Ishmael. He was 86 years old! What a joy Ishmael was to Abram, but not to Sarai. Even though it was her suggestion, she and Hagar didn’t appear to be on the same page with Ishmael. I don’t know many women who would have handled the situation much better. But Abram was a dad! And he was so excited about it! He had what he wanted! A son!
But Abram didn’t have what God wanted for him. In chapter 17, God visits Abram again and changes his name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. Abraham would be the father of many nations and Sarah would be the mother of many nations, and out of her kings would come. Well, by now, Abraham is laughing at this word from God. It’s more impossible now than it was at 75. And since he wanted a son, and he had Ishmael, he felt God had kept His word and all was well. Except, all wasn’t well!
Sometimes when we are believing God for something we don’t hold out for God’s best. We settle for anything that looks like what He said and go on through life as if it’s okay. You’re not healed, but you feel better, so much better and stop believing for complete and total healing in your body. Your house isn’t paid off yet, but you have the money to pay your mortgage, or whatever bill, and you are just happy that you have the money needed, and it’s ok that your debt isn’t forgiven because it’s manageable. And the list can go on and on…
Abram wanted a baby with Sarai. He loved her and wanted their posterity to continue, but they got tired of waiting and decided to settle for the next best thing. Ishmael. As a matter of fact, when God told Abraham about Sarah having a baby he reminded God of how old they both were, said that it was okay that he had Ishmael, and asked God to allow Ishmael to live before Him. But that wasn’t what God had planned for Abraham when He spoke to him, and therefore, it was not His will for Abraham’s life!
God wants us to feel better, but more importantly, He wants us whole! He wants us to pay our bills, but He wants us debt free. He wants us to work in ministry, and adopt kids, and be satisfied and single, but He often has so much more for us than we receive because we are often willing to settle for that which He doesn’t have planned for us.
I remember years ago, when I was a single woman, I was often teased by my seemingly high standards for the man I wanted to married. Once I was told that I acted like I was waiting for Jesus to come back and marry me. I replied that if He came back and married me I would accept. I did get engaged to a nice young man, but I knew I was settling. Fortunately I got out of that before I had made a big mistake. He wasn’t God’s best for me. Then I was told I would have to change my personality because men would be put off by it. I responded that I wasn’t changing to get a man, because I was better off single if I had to be somebody other than myself. Well, I eventually met the man of my dreams who loved me the way I was. I’ve changed over the years, but I didn’t have to change to get him or to keep him. I changed because of the power of the Spirit working in my life while the word transformed it!
Now I’m in that place where I am believing God for ministry opportunities. I am so excited about blogging. This blog is being read by people in 44 different countries of the world. That’s amazing to me and I am so grateful to God for that exposure. I’ve already surpassed last year’s totals in views. (Not that they were so numerous, but they were my best at that time). And I found myself getting into that settling mode. I was getting satisfied with the blog and thinking, okay, this may be what the Lord had in mind for me. But today I was challenged by the word to not settle. God has great things in store for me, for you! He isn’t calling us to settle. Yes, be thankful, be content! But don’t become satisfied with today’s success when tomorrow hasn’t even gotten here yet and you don’t know what it holds! It may be many tomorrows as it has already been, as Abraham and Sarah experienced, but if it was a word from God, you can bank on it! It will surely come to pass! Wonderful Jesus!