Memorise: And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. – Psalm 106:15
Read: Genesis 16:1-5 (KJV)
1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 28, Jeremiah 32:1-15, Hymn: Sing hymn 9
A lot of people have gotten their fingers burnt in the place of seeking an alternative to God’s promise. When God’s promise is seemingly delayed, some Christians do not have the strength of character to keep waiting on the Lord and holding on to His promises; they therefore seek out and accept man’s alternative to God’s precious promises. Not only does man’s alternative take you off God’s course and provide you with quick fixes that cannot really fix anything, they also give you momentary joy that cannot absolve you of sorrow. This was the experience of Sarah. In today’s Bible reading, after Sarah gave her maid, Hagar, to Abraham to raise children through her, she was happy and relieved that her problem of barrenness seemed solved. But her relief soon turned into grief as her happiness became sorrow. Genesis 16:4 says,
“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”
Sarah took good care of Hagar, in expectation of using her as a means to an end. For the purpose of child-bearing, she exempted her from the usual chores that her fellow maids would perform. However, the moment Hagar conceived, the tables turned against Sarah. Suddenly, all attention shifted to the new queen of the house. Everyone and everything had to be at her beck and call. She no longer had regard for her mistress. Realising she now had what Abraham earnestly wanted; she used her pregnancy as an excuse for gross misbehaviour. She took over Abraham’s attention and the poor man hardly even had time for Sarah anymore. When she was disobedient and her mistress tried to correct her, she would simply tell her, “Madam, if you were ever pregnant, you would understand what I am going through.” That was the beginning of Sarah’s sorrow.
When you are tired of waiting for God’s will, plan or timing, and you decide to follow one of the alternatives that comes your way, you will only be hurting yourself. May you not use your own hands to undo yourself! When God blesses you, He removes every form of sorrow from it (Proverbs 10:22), but whatever blessing you think you can derive from substituting God’s plan with an alternative will only be short-lived and will definitely come with sorrow. Some people who knew and turned down God’s will in marriage, following the dictates of their flesh, ended up in sorrow. A good number of them are secretly weeping today. They cannot cry out because people warned them before venturing into such marriages, but their ears were deaf to those warnings. In your own interest, take time to find out God’s will for you in every area of your life and patiently follow it. In years to come, you will understand why that was the best decision you ever made.
Key Point: It is better not to be blessed, than to be blessed and have sorrow with it.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.