Genesis 16: Man’s Plans Create Man’s Problems; God’s Plans Create Man’s Blessings

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 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.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.” (Genesis 16:1-2)

Life was passing by Sarai. How much longer did she have? Ninety was approaching, yet still God had not given she and Abram a child as He had promised. What was the problem, she must have wondered? He had delivered them from the consequences of her husband’s lie to the King of Egypt. He had given Abram victory over the king of Elam and his allies, and allowed them to free their nephew Lot. But, the promise that so held her heart—the birth of a son—was still unfulfilled.

Maybe she needed to help God along, she may have thought. Get the ball rolling. So, she devised a plan where Abram would have a child with her maidservant Hagar. Her plan came to fruition and a child was born—however, it didn’t bring her the joy she intended. Instead it brought hardship and unhappiness. And, it is no wonder she was not happy—this was not the child of God’s promise. That child would be born of Sarai (17:19) when God was ready. And—as impossible as it seemed— God gave her a son at the age of 90 years old.

Scriptures give the admonition to “Wait on the Lord” on several occasions (Psalm 27:14; 37:34 & 20:22) for good reason—we often have a hard time doing it. We are an impatient lot. We like to plan things out and we often expect things to happen as we have planned (James 4:13-17). One of our great struggles is learning—no, accepting—that God has His own timetable of all things—and, it rules the day, not ours.

The best advice we can take is found in Psalm 37:34, “Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land….” You and I need to be busy serving & obeying God, even when things aren’t moving as quickly as we like. This doesn’t mean we should sit back and do nothing. By all means, prepare yourself for God’s actions. Paul stands as an example of a man who let God do what He does, but also was always prepared to act. Let God open the door you need to go through when you need to go through it—just make sure you are ready to go.

Let’s apply this to our lives.