The Ordinary Way vs. The Result of a Promise

PromiseA counterfeit imitates something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.

It doesn’t get much plainer than that.

Have you welcomed the counterfeit? Let in the fake because of frustration, impatience, or discouragement?

Sarai, in the Bible, knows a lot about this subject. She could tell you about lacking, wanting, taki matters into her own hands, and trying to be God. She could tell you how imitations can cause big trouble. She is the perfect example of what not to do while waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Abram and Sarai had no children. One day, she got a bright idea. She told Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her” (Gen. 16:2).

What? Hurt and wounded, Sarai grew impatient. She desperately wanted to give Abram a son. Can you believe she told Abram to sleep with Hagar? Well, guess what? He did, and Hagar eventually conceived. Abram named his son Ishmael.

Later, when the Lord visited Abram, he renamed the couple Abraham and Sarah.

The Lord also said, “I will bless her (Sarah) and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of people’s will come from her”  (Gen 17:16).

However, this seemed unbelievable to Sarah — a woman of 90 years of age.

Then God said, “Yes, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac” (Gen. 17:19). Sarah laughed at the thought, but the Bible says, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14).

The story goes on to show God’s graciousness toward her, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. She became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age. Abraham called him Isaac. Through Isaac, God established an everlasting covenant.

Isaac was the promised one; not Ishmael. Ishmael was the counterfeit.

Beloved, what has your counterfeit been? A business opportunity? A relationship?

Maybe it looked like the right opportunity at the time, but like Sarai you fell into the temptation of “helping” God along. How did you feel when you discovered your mistake?

Let us all learn from Sarah.

Don’t manipulate situations and try to take control. Don’t allow your hurt to drive you to decisions God would not be pleased with. Don’t allow the loss of hope to lead you to do crazy things when all you only need to wait on the promise. Don’t allow your pain to take you to the pit. It won’t produce anything valuable. 

Galatians 4 says this:

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave was born in the ordinary way, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise …”

Which one would you prefer? Reader, I know it’s hard to wait. However, let me encourage you as I encourage myself…

Do not do things the ordinary way by taking matters into your own hands. Instead, wait for the one born by the power of the Spirit!

I heard a pastor say one time that those who have to wait the longest have the greatest faith. It hurts when you’ve had to wait, be last, and watch others give birth while your “spiritual child” is not conceived, or worse, dies. However, God redeems. He gives life. You have had the faith to stand while others gave up. You smiled when others have cried and rejoiced in the midst of your own tears, and GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOUR COMMITMENT TO HIM.

I pray that every one of us can wait for the Promised One and not fall victim to the counterfeit. Let us have grace and patience to wait for the real thing(s). The God we serve is not the author of confusion! He is the great I AM. He gave Sarah a child in her old age.

Indeed, there is nothing too hard for Him!

What “child” would you like to birth this year?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *