The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), January 5
“So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her’” (Gen. 16:2).
Like a playground bully, the passage of time picks a fight with those who have a promise from God―to win through faith or to surrender through unbelief. Sarai surrenders her faith as ten years of waiting pass. She looks down at her aging, barren stomach and comes up with a plan to secure a baby another way. Sadly, Sarai doesn’t realize that her problem isn’t God’s problem. He has no problems, only ability.
Waiting on God requires robust faith in a God who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we could imagine. Sarai got caught up in the “how” of the situation. Unbelief does that. It relies on the limitations of human reasoning and imagination and offers the best that man can produce. Sarai did the best that she could through Hagar and received the best of her efforts, Ishmael.
Sadly, Abram, like Adam with Eve, concedes to his wife’s decisive action, and the consequences affect succeeding generations.
A number of truths emerge from Sarai’s act of unbelief:
- How God will fulfill His promise is irrelevant; that He will fulfill His promise is all that matters. To have a promise from God is to have its fulfillment.
- Unbelief is offering to God the best that man can do.
- God does not need man’s help to fulfill His promises. In fact, man’s innovative solutions create more problems.
- Scheming, trying to work things out independently of God, is unbelief in action.
The Bible is replete with stories of God’s intervention on behalf of those who have a promise from Him and wait on Him to fulfill His promise. Feasting on these stories fuels faith while one day, week, month, or year passes to the next.
“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has any eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4).
Questions from today’s reading (Genesis 15:1-17:27):
How does the LORD bolster Abraham’s waning faith regarding his lack of a son?
What information does the LORD share with Abraham regarding the future of his people (15:13-14)? What does this information require of Abraham?
Why does Sarah bring Hagar into the infertility equation? What does Hagar think her pregnancy will do for her? How does Sarah respond to Hagar’s pregnancy?
What are God’s instructions to Hagar after she flees her difficult/abusive situation? What does this reveal about God? What does Hagar’s encounter with God teach her about God?
What does the renaming of Abram and Sarai do for their faith?