Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him..
"I am God Almighty:
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you.
And I will multiply you exceedingly..."
And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him....Gen. 17: 1-3
I just love that last verse. Abram fell on his face...and God had a talk with him.
Do you know when this particular chat happened?
Right after Ishmael was born.
You see, Ishmael...
... was the result of deviating from the plan.
Remember the plan?
Abram and the Lord had a chat before Ishmael was born, remember?
Abram was concerned about who would be his heir, and the Lord promised,
"...one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."
"Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them...
So shall your descendants be."
Then he believed in the Lord, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Gen 15: 4-6
Funny what time, and circumstances, and desires will do.
Sarai became impatient. She wasn't all that happy that she had not yet born a son.
She said to Abram, "Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children..."
I imagine Abram was feeling the same way, because he "listened to the voice of Sarai." Gen. 16:2
And Sarai gave her maid to Abram..so that they could bear a son.
to the voice of Sarah."
Hagar conceived a child...a son for Abram!
Was there rejoicing? Did Abram laugh?
"When she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight." Gen 16:4
The household was filled with....
Instead of rejoicing.
Deviating from God's plan does not work.
After Ishmael was born...
The Lord decided Abram needed a more detailed version of His plan.
And so they had a chat. A chat about his name. A chat about descendants. A chat about a covenant. About circumcision.
"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you.
And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be called Abram,
But your name shall be Abraham:
For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations."
And a chat about Sarah.
The Lord reassured Abraham that Sarah will give him a son.
"And I will bless her, and indeed, I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be the mother of nations..." Gen. 17:16"
And what does Abraham do? He falls to his knees again...and laughs.
Joy. Sheer joy upon hearing the promises of God. Sheer joy upon hearing...
Take comfort in God's voice. Rest in His promises.
You may have deviated from the plan, but He is willing to talk with you.
Perfect reminders from today's reading in Proverbs 3.
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.