But this wasn't God's plan. What happened? I think Abraham got so locked in on what he wanted that he wasn't willing to let God do what God wanted to do. In Genesis 15:2, after God tells Abraham about all the ways He is going to bless him, Abraham says: “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?” Abraham had such tunnel-vision on what he wanted, he was willing to go outside of God's will to acquire what he wanted...a son.
But Abraham didn't understand that God’s promises aren’t just goods and blessings to make us happy. Though God does want us to be happy and He does give us good gifts, the deeper meaning is what lies behind the promise. Abraham wanted a son and it would have been nothing for God to give him a son quickly. But the bigger picture was how God established His covenant and sealed it with a miraculous promise. The promise wasn’t just Isaac, but the never-ending promise that linked Isaac to the coming redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross. Isaac was only a piece of the bigger plan of God.
But most of us are not too unlike Abraham. We get so focused in on our dream, our desire, or our problem, that we are willing to step outside of God's promise to move us either close to our dream or resolve our problem. And most of us have to admit, that like Abraham, the times we have done that have created tremendous issues for us.
Let me close today by giving you two suggestions when you are tempted with Ishmael moments. Of course, number 1 is, trust God to accomplish what He has promised in His way. His way will always be better. And number 2, if you have had an Ishmael moment and you are struggling with the consequences of your choices, take heart. God is a master and blessing our Ishmael moments. More about that next time!