By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
People often will make promises. However when it comes time to fulfill that promise, they neglect to follow through on their word. Who has not been hurt by having a promise made and then broken? For instance, “I promise I will not tell another person. I promise to be on time. I promise I will pay you. I promise to love, honor, and cherish.” What good is a promise if someone does not keep their word?
Abraham was a man of faith. Back in chapter 12, God had already promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation. Now the years have gone by and Abraham and Sarai are getting older and still do not have a child. Abraham’s faith was strong enough that he left his homeland and his family to follow the call of God. But now looking from a human perspective, God’s promise of a child appeared to be impossible. Even though God restates His promise and shows Abraham the stars, he really offers him nothing more or new. Instead, once again, God reiterates the promise of His Word. Abraham, like many other biblical characters proves that even people of faith will have times of doubt and weakness.
Abraham thought that his problem was bigger than what God could handle. Sarai decided she would help God’s promise along by offering her Egyptian slave, Hagar, to Abraham for the purpose of using her to bear a child. When God delayed His promise, both Abraham and Sarai equated it with God’s weakness or inability to deliver what He had promised. We are guilty of the same mindset. We fail to trust the timing of God. It is easy to become impatient with God and ask Him why He isn’t working the way that we want in our timing. People often rush ahead of God and miss the blessing that He has in store for them.
When Abraham did not take God at His Word, it created all kinds of problems. The birth of Ishmael, the son begotten by Hagar, caused all kinds of difficulties for Abraham. There was the issue of jealousy between Sarai and Hagar to the degree that later on, Abraham had to send Hagar and Ishmael away just to keep peace on the home front! This was a difficult thing for Abraham to do but it demonstrated the conflict that arises when a person attempts to do God’s work their way.
God did indeed fulfill His promise to Abraham and Sarai. That promised son was Isaac who became the father of the Jewish nation. The son previously born to Abraham through Hagar was Ishmael. Ishmael became the father of the Arab nation. Even though Abraham and Sarai have long passed from the scene of this world, the family conflict which began between two sons has developed into a worldwide conflict. God’s promise to Abraham was sure. But like us today, lack of trust and belief that God would deliver what He promised often results in poor choices and negative outcomes.
God is true to His Word. His timing is always perfect. His promises never fail!