For this particular study, I have chosen the picture of a mother pregnant with a Baby. A baby is not born overnight. Once conceived a baby takes at least ten months before being formed into the fullness and ready to see the light of this world. In the meantime, the mother has to wait patiently and take great care of her unborn, until the time appointed for the birth will come to pass.
The bible says that God also has an appointed time for everything.
“For everything, there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NET)
God is always on time and there are many examples of people in the Bible, who patiently waited for God to move in their life. Abraham is one such man and tonight in our group study we will learn from the life of Abraham. There are many sermons and studies that deal with Abraham’s bright side. For this particular study, however, we are going to consider three mistakes he made.
Read Genesis 15:1-6; 16:1-16
1. Lacked a Receptive Attitude
A. Abraham is one of the few people in the Old Testament to enjoy privilege of hearing from God in person. God’s message to Abraham was three fold. He gave assurance to his servant (Do not be afraid), promised divine protection (I’m your shield) and to give great rewards (your very great reward).
B. God’s message was a message of hope. But Abraham was a prisoner of his circumstances. He questioned God’s ability (…what can you give me…?) and complained (…you have given me no children…). God offered him hope. But he was a prisoner of his circumstances.
C. God offers us hope through his word every day. But we miss because we haven’t taken time to grow a receptive attitude. A receptive attitude is essential if we want to wait for God’s appointed time. Without it, our faith will suffer.
2. Attempted to fit God into a Box
A. Abraham wanted nothing but a son and an heir. His expectations were narrow. But God’s plan was much broader and higher. He wanted to produce a whole nation through Abraham’s offspring.
B. Abraham’s only concern was what he wanted to do with his life. Not what God wanted to do with it. Waiting can get very uncomfortable when we try to fit God into a box.
C. We need to accept that waiting is all about God and what he wants to do with us. Not even our wildest dreams can fathom the glorious things he wants to accomplish with our lives.
3. Failed to exercise Discernment
A. The Bible often portrays her as a woman of feeble faith or no faith at all, (Genesis 18:12). She grew tired of waiting and told Abraham to lay with her servant and have a son.
B. The English Standard Version says, “And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” It’s very sad that Abraham lacked sound discernment when he needed it most. God had promised Abraham in person that he will have a son. Abraham should have told her about the promise instead of listening to her.
C. We hear many voices while we wait for God’s appointed time. It’s not wrong to consider other people’s opinion but we need to exercise discernment. Discernment often sounds like a mysterious verb but it’s not. To discern means to weigh the voices we hear against God’s word. Any voice, if it is not in line with God’s word, is against his word.
In closing, if God has promised you something you will have to wait for its fulfillment. It can be a day, week, month, years or even a lifetime (Abraham waited for 100 years before his promised son was born). We do not know. Some of us will not see the fruit of our waiting until the next life. (Abraham did not live long enough to see his offspring become a nation.) But God is worth the wait. Therefore I urge you tonight to keep your hopes alive. It’s my prayer that the three truths I shared with you tonight will help you to do just that.
Image: Vanessa Porter
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