Summary: Don’t settle for a substitute.
CREATING AN ISHMAEL
In Gensis chapter 15 verses 16-17 we have the account of God dealing with Abraham about the promise of God to make him the father of nations.
About the covenant that God made with him, and about some of the struggles that Abraham had with the promise.
Abraham’s own body and the body of his wife stood in direct contradiction to that promise.
In chapter 15 verse 6 the Bible says he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness, but let’s look at chapter 16 verse 2.
And Sarai said unto Abram, behold 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.
We find Abram and Sarai having a little trouble with God’s promise. They are trying to figure out how to make it happen.
They decide to help God along.
How many of us have been there? We believe God’s promise, but can’t figure out how He is going to do it. So we begin to figure out how we can help Him along.
Like Sarai, we begin to say, I know what God said, but maybe this is what He meant.
Can I tell you something? If God gave you a promise, Satan is going to make sure that you are offered a substitute. Something almost like it, but not lasting, not fulfilling.
Sarai believed God might move, but not through her.
A lot of people believe God can heal. They just don’t think He will heal them.
If our desires are to be fulfilled by God, then our pursuit of those desires must be kept in line with God’s precepts.
Do you understand? Faith without works is dead, but those works must be within the restraints of God’s Word on all levels.
Example: You can’t tithe on stolen money and expect a blessing.
Back to our text. Abram and Sarai’s plan brought forth Ishmael.
Now watch this....This answer was so close to the promise, that for 13 years Abram thought it was the promise.
Genesis 17:15-18 - In verse 18 Abram says, O that Ishmael might live before Thee.
He must have thought, I’ve already got him half raised. Sometimes it’s easier to keep the substitute.
Many churches, many Christians, many believers today have given up the promise for an Ishmael. They have created their own answer. They have said, I know what God said, but this may be what He meant.
Some have tried to create their own righteousness.
Ishmael was born after the flesh (Galatians 4:23), born of the bond woman.
Isaac was born of the free, the child of promise.
Ishmael was born by an act of the flesh, not an act of faith. The result of leaning on the arm of the flesh, and it brought trouble into Abram’s home almost immediately. (strife & division)
Chapter 16 verse 5 - Sarai blames Abram. My wrong be upon thee.
In verse 6 Abram says, She is your maid, you deal with it.
Ishmael was born of the flesh in the ordinary way. He had an ordinary birth, but the promise is going to come forth miraculously. The promise will be birthed in a way that everyone will have to say only God could do that.
We wonder why God has called some of us to ministry. Why He has called some to be prophets or to operate in gifts that are so unlikely or so unprepared.
Listen, God chose a woman whose womb was dead to bring forth the promise so that all would know it was a work of God and not an ordinary work of the flesh.
God is overriding natural laws to bring Abram’s promise to life. God is no respector of persons. He can override natural laws to bring your promise to life, if you don’t settle for an Ishmael, a substitute.
Many churches and ministers and Christians have been in trouble or failed because instead of waiting for the promise, instead of waiting for due season, they gave birth to an Ishmael. Like Abram they thought it was the promise.
A lot of people in this day have settled for an Ishmael where salvation is concerned. They have taken the easy path. The live any way you want to path. The shake hands with the preacher path. The only believe path.
But God told Abram "My covenant will I establish with Isaac."
The son of promise. Isaac was a type of Jesus. Jesus was the son of promise, and only through Him is our covenant established, and only by us being obedient to the laws of that covenant.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again". Ponder that a minute.