Unfortunately, Abraham and Sarah did just that.
Remember the story of when God promised them that they would bear a son, even though they were already on Medicare? This took place before God changed their names: from Sarai to Sarah and Abram to Abraham. The story goes something like this:
God said to Abram, “Abram, you’re going to have a child, you and Sarai.”
Abram looked at his reflection in the lake, and said, “No way!”
He looked over at past-her-prime Sarai doing the wash and said, “For sure, no way!”
And even Sarai later agreed saying, “Yes, there’s absolutely no way.”
So instead of trusting God to fulfill His dream of a son through their union, they took matters into their own hands.
Hagar gave birth to a child named Ishmael: the Middle East and the world are still struggling because of that shortcut today.
A while back, I took some pastors and together we climbed Diamond Head. All along the way, there are these little signs that say, “Stay on the path. Take no shortcuts, it causes erosion.”
We should hang those signs in every one of our homes, “Stay on the path. Take no shortcuts, it causes erosion.”
The Lord says, “Please don’t take shortcuts. Don’t take matters into your own hands. I am asking you to be faithful and to scrub your hearts. Stay faithful in whatever I give you to do, even though it might seem like it takes a long time.”
Be careful to not listen to voices that encourage you to take shortcuts. Don’t take matters into your own hands.
Keep your eyes on the Promiser.
Focus your attention not on the promise but the Promiser.
Remember, God is faithful to bring about the promise: He just asks us to be faithful in the process.
As the story continues, Abraham and Sarah finally had a son and named him Isaac. Abraham thought he’d purified his motives enough for God to fulfill his dream. The truth was, however, once the promise arrived Abraham’s heart shifted from the Promiser and became fixed on the promise. God knew more refining was needed. Abraham’s flesh had mingled with the gold and silver. God was about to shatter the promise again in order to show Abraham and the world that the only true way to follow God is: from the heart, through faith, in total dependence.
So God said to Abraham, “Take your son up to the top of the mountain and sacrifice him.”
The Bible says Abraham took Isaac up the mountain with wood, a knife and a shattered dream in his heart.
This is it. The dream is over, Abraham must have thought.
He put his son on a makeshift altar, raised up his hand, and took one last glance at the son that he’d set his heart on, the son God had promised him, the fulfillment of his dreams. Suddenly, unnoticeable to anyone but God, something happened. Between the time the knife was held motionless to the moment of that forward thrust, something had to have broken in Abraham’s heart. His heart had to break away from the one he loved more than anything and as soon as it did he was able to start the downward motion. He became convinced that it truly was all about God’s dream and obedience to Him, and not about fulfilling his own dream in his own way. At that moment, the knife plunged down. As soon as his heart turned to the point that he thought, Isaac is Yours, not mine, right then, what happened? An angel came and stopped his hand. Do you know why?
In essence, God was saying. “Abraham, I don’t want Isaac. I wanted your heart. As soon as your heart returned to Me, that was all I needed to see. I had to go inside the dream of your heart and shatter that dream. Why? So your heart would be restored from the promise to the Promiser. Now, my beloved, I can give you the promise back.”
Do you see that? That’s why we have to take our hands off of the promise and stay faithful in the process, lest we compromise and cut corners. We must get our eyes back on the Promiser. Do you know why? Some miracles happen over a period of time.
There are miracles that don’t happen instantly. They require time. Within the process of doing the miracle God often must scrub our heart: to make sure our motives are pure and to insure that we honor the process. Our focus must remain on the Promiser, not the promise.
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