Let’s move forward in our study called, “On the Edge”. This study is intended to give a glimpse into the excitement of following God. We are using Abraham as our example of an exciting walk of faith. Today, we focus on a teaching called “Don’t Create an Ishmael.” The last time we left Abram, God had reiterated his promise. But this time, God spoke the word through the cutting of covenant with Abram. Look at your neighbor and say, “God does things for those that are His through covenant!” You know what this says to you? If God cut covenant with you through His Son, Jesus then the blood serves as a guarantee that God will fulfill His word to you! Let’s look at something that makes it challenging when believing a promise from God: DIVINE DELAY.
Have you ever or are you experiencing a time lag between God’s word to you and the fulfillment of that word? Abram and Sarai had been in the land of Canaan for ten years – still no child. And, God had not informed them of how He was going to make this promise come to pass. So, Sarai gave in to despair. She concluded that, for some reason the Lord had deemed her unfit as the vehicle of promise. Has a delay ever made you question God? Has it ever made you question His choice of you? So, we get tired of waiting….we get tired of the questions….and we think that we must give God a hand, so…..Sarai devises a plan that is not supernatural at its base but will remove the pain of waiting and the pain of the question “why”.
If you are going to be used in a supernatural walk with God, you must get used to being out of control and get used to God’s timing!
God’s timing has rarely, if ever been, our timing! If you do not get used to God being in control and get comfortable with His choice of you as the vessel He uses, then you will either give up on the promise or you will create an “Ishmael”. What is an Ishmael? The child born to Hagar was named Ishmael. From the very beginning of the pregnancy, a rift began between Hagar and Sarai. This rift only continued after the birth of Ishmael. Abraham had to send Hagar and Ishmael away because jealousy developed in the heart of Ishmael toward the son of promise, Isaac. Today, the rift continues and is one of the biggest foreign policy problems in the world – the contention between Israel and the Arabs. Unless we want to create a solution that may end up being the biggest obstacle to the fulfillment of our promise, we must get comfortable with God’s divine delays and not take those delays as rejection.
HOW DO YOU SURVIVE A DIVINE DELAY?
Remember: without faith there is no adventure.
Waiting on God requires faith on our part. Without waiting and the challenges that come to us through a delay, there is no adventure! There is nothing to overcome – nothing to believe for – nothing to hope for. So, if you want a life with adventure included, you must learn to be comfortable living by faith.
Stand on the last word you heard from God.
If you need to know anything, God will tell you. Until that time, you stand upon the last word you heard from God. With pressure comes the “need” to help God accomplish His word. Beware of this pressure! Who cares what everyone watching thinks! Who cares what the devil thinks! Who cares what YOU think! What does the Bible say? You will need armor to stand, so get into the book of Ephesians and be sure you are dressed for divine delays!
God needs your obedience – not your help.
If there is something you need to do, God will tell you. Many of our plans are to remove scrutiny or pressure or discomfort or doubt. If you are standing on a word from God, there will be scrutiny, second guessing by others and ourselves, feelings of being in limbo, etc. Be careful what actions you take to remove these instances! Faith is the answer to the removal of these feelings, not necessarily actions. So, don’t try and “help” God – obey Him. Helping God can create a scenario that births something in the flesh rather than in the Spirit.
An “Ishmael” is the antithesis of the fulfillment of a promise of God. It is a product of the flesh instead of the Spirit and therefore, will produce actions birthed from its nature. The adventure comes when we don’t know how or when God will fulfill His purpose. Unless He tells us to do something, all we really need to know is simply that He will fulfill His purpose!
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