OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DATE: WEDNESDAY MAY 24TH 2017
THEME: TRYING TO CORNER GOD?
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. Genesis 17:21
Read: Genesis 17:15-21
17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
After Abraham and Sarah used their own alternative means to attempt to solve their problem of childlessness, and Hagar delivered Ishmael to Abraham, they thought that God’s plan for their lives would change to accommodate Ishmael. They were wrong! In fact, in Genesis 17:18, Abraham made a passionate plea to God to recognize Ishmael as his covenant heir, but God insisted on His original plan. In Genesis 17:19, God said this to Abraham:
“…Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
A crucial lesson here is that we cannot force, deceive, manipulate or corner God into doing what He did not plan to do. Isaac is a product of the Spirit while Ishmael is the product of the flesh (Galatians 4:23-29). Never expect God to dump the Spirit for the flesh. Do you know that some Christians go against God’s word and will by marrying an unbeliever and then later pretend to be sorry by feigning tears, whereas inside them they are rejoicing that they have married their chosen heartthrob and have thus outsmart God? Such Christians would try to justify themselves by asking you whether God would expect them to divorce their unsaved spouses when God Himself says He hates divorce. Oh how smart they think they are! Unfortunately for them though, they will later realize how foolish they really are, when faced with the consequences of their choice.
If you go against God’s word and choose an unbeliever as your marriage or business partner, it is your choice. You will have to live with the repercussions of that choice. You may have 100 “Ishmaels”, but God’s covenant can only be established with “Isaac” (Genesis 17:21). Isaac is a product of God’s blessings, while Ishmael is the product of man’s lust, impatient, and self-government. Do not expect God to legitimize your Ishmael! Some people acquire wealth through illegitimate means and later expect God to sanctify it for them. They are only deceiving themselves. Anything you add to yourself that God has not added to you will ultimately be a curse that will haunt you. This is why it is better to wait on God to receive the blessing that comes from Him and not fall for cheap alternatives. Have you devised alternatives to God’s original plan for your life? Repent and dump them today! Go back to God and ask him to continue from where He stopped in your life.
Have you ever tried to outsmart God? Go on your knees and confess how foolish you have been, and ask for His mercy today.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
AUTHOR: PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE
HYMN 9: ON THE HILL FAR AWAY
1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
2. Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
4.To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.