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Doug Watson

When Abraham was 75 years old, God gave him a promise that He would make him a "great nation" (Genesis 12:2). It was an interesting promise because we read in Genesis 11:30 that Sarah was "barren; she had no children." In Genesis 13:5 the Lord spoke again to Abraham about his "descendants" and again in 15:4 the Lord gave to His servant the promise of a son. How God delights to work in the midst of the impossible. Abrahamís wife was barren, yet he who created the heavens and the earth could do what was impossible in the eyes of men. Out of barrenness he would bring forth life!

The promise of God to Abraham would take twenty five years to come to fulfillment. Of course, Abraham would never have known that it would take that long. He trust God and knew that He would keep His word, until then he must wait on the Lord. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to wait. Sometimes waiting for an answer to prayer is often part of the answer. We are far too impatient and want answers now, yet God in His gracious plan and purpose allows us to wait until His time.

That impatience that we often exhibit in our lives entered the household of Abraham. It came first through his wife Sarah. She told Abraham that they could have a child through Hagar (Genesis 16). In doing so she was attempting to fulfil Godís promise before the time. Abraham had the promise of God and yet he "listened to the voice" of his wife (16:2).

How many times have we listened to the voice of others instead of listening to the voice of God? We know that the Lord is leading us in a specific direction and yet others try to dissuade us from travelling the road of faith. We listen to them and at the moment we step out of the will of God. How many times have we tried to fulfill Godís purposes for our lives instead of waiting for Him to bring to pass His good and perfect will in our lives? God will act in His time and in His way. He is never early or never late in fulfilling His promises. His timing is always perfect.

To not wait for God is to walk into a place of danger. The safest place for the Christian to be is in the center of Godís will. When we seek to do our own thing or we listen to others and stray from the narrow path we will have abandoned out trust in Godís plan for our lives. If God has called you to do a certain place or a sphere of service do not be mislead by others who would have you abandon those plans in favour of some easy way. Keep trusting and waiting. His eternal blessing is of far greater importance than some temporary relief from your waiting.

I do not know if Abraham was fully aware that his decision to listen to Sarah instead of waiting for God would bring about a long period of silence from heaven. If he had known that in advance maybe he would not have taken the easy way to have a child. He did not wait and so we read in Genesis 16:16 that when Ishamael was born that Abraham was eighty-six years old and in Genesis 17:1 we read that "when Abraham was ninety-nine years old", the Lord appeared to him. Can you see what that means? Thirteen years of total silence from God! Oh what awful days they must have been!

To not be in fellowship with God is a most terrible place to be. Can we live that long without the blessing of God upon our lives? I doubt we would last a day! Oh brother or sister, if this is where you are at the moment then I urge you to call afresh upon the name of the Lord and restore that vital and living relationship with the Lord. Cry out to Him that He would enable you to wait and not to neglect His Word.

Of course in one sense he never leaves or forsakes His children, but when we are intent upon our own way He will turn His face from us and allow us to proceed until we see the folly of our decision. The way of the backslider is hard, and when we realize that and confess our need of Him He will come and rescue us, but not until we have clearly seen the absolute folly of trying to live our lives without Him.

The fruit of not waiting for God is clearly seen in the character of Ishmael: "He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man" (16:12). Ishamael did not bring joy into Abrahamís household but contention and rebellion. The child of promise would bring joy and peace and love but Abraham had to wait until he was one hundred years old to experience such blessings.

We need to remember this: that we often repeat the mistake of Abraham. Unwilling to wait on God, we have taken matters into our own hands only to learn that our Ishamaels bring heartache. We can create Ishmaels, only God can create an Issac. By patiently waiting on God we can receive Godís best; by running ahead of God we receive only second best.

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