Genesis 16:1-2 – Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
God is a micro manager. He has to be. No one else can do anything. Perfectionists insist on doing everything by themselves because they don’t believe that anyone can do it as well. They have a critical spirit. They find fault with everyone else. Their mantra is “If you want it done right you have to do it yourself.” They are wrong. Their way is not always the best way and others can do it as well as they can. Their problem is pride. That is not God’s problem. God works out everything after the counsel of His own will because His will is perfect and He is the only One who can. He does give us things to do but even then He works out what we do so that it achieves His overall purpose. God is everywhere and He is at work in everything. When the Psalm says that even lions seek their food from God it is not mere poetry.
Psalm 104:21 – The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.
The lion does not consciously ask God for its food. But the lion will not get food if the Lord does not see to it that that particular lion finds that particular meal at that particular time.
All of that to draw our attention to the comment of Sarah when she contemplates the fact that she has not been able to bear children. “The Lord has prevented me from bearing children” is her remark. Was she wrong? No. She was bang on right.
God made a promise to Abraham that Sarah would bear a child and he, through that child would be the father of a great nation. But Sarah was unable to conceive. We are told this twice: in 11:30 and now in 16:1-2. Sarah and Abraham are certainly not pictures of faith in the promise of God in Genesis 16. But Sarah gets this one right.
“Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children”.
The reason Sarah could not bear children was because God had prevented her from the ability. And He did it with purpose and intention. Part of the reason was to test their faith. “You will have a son and be the father of a great nation”. And then God guaranteed His promise with an oath (15:8-21). And then God waits until Sarah is beyond child bearing age.
And both Abraham and Sarah failed in this part of the test. They took matters into their own hands and surmised that while the child is to be a biological son of Abraham (15:4) Sarah does not need to be the biological mother. It is a sad, sad account in the life of the father of the faithful. Sarah’s conclusion that God had prevented her from bearing was correct. Her understanding of what therefore must happen in order for the promise of God to be kept was very incorrect.
God cannot lie. He has made to us very great and precious promises. He will keep every one of them. But He will never bow to our timetable. In fact, He is more likely to bring the promise to pass when it seems to us that there is not a chance at all that the promise can be kept. Because God tests the faith of those who profess to have it.
We are promised eternal life. We are promised answer to our prayers. We are promised to see Jesus. Many professing Christians seek to hurry the process up and conclude that God wants us rich now. God wants us trouble free now. God will answer all our prayers now. There is not a hint that such will be the case.
God is involved in the details. He is working to accomplish all His purposes for us for the sake of His own glory. He will do as He has said. But He will not bow to my understanding of things. Our work is to “trust and obey” knowing that He will be true to His word.
We must never doubt that God is faithful to His word and we must never take things into our own hands and seek to keep promises that only the One who made them has the right or ability to keep.