Summary: Don't go ahead of God. Instead, wait on Him
An article in Time.com a few years ago noted that ketchup flows out of a glass bottle at a rate of .028 miles per hour. That's slower than a Galapagos tortoise, which, according to the San Diego Zoo, zips along at a blazing 0.16 miles per hour, or almost six times faster than ketchup.
However, Dave Smith, a PhD candidate at MIT, and a team of MIT mechanical engineers and nano-technologists have offered a posible solution to this ketchup flow problem. After months of research, Smith and his team developed LiquiGlide, which they say is a “kind of structured liquid [that's] rigid like a solid, but lubricated like a liquid.” The researchers say that coating the inside of a bottle with LiquiGlide will cause ketchup and other sauces to slide out faster than a Galapagos tortoise. Smith claims that the sauce industry, which rakes in $17 billion a year, would love to get their hands on the invention.
Keith Wagstaff, the author of the Time article concluded, “Let's hope some big [ketchup] companies bite. I'm tired of waiting five minutes for ketchup to land on my cheeseburger.” (Keith Wagstaff, “MIT Scientists Figure Out How to Get Ketchup Out of the Bottle,” Time.com, 5-22-12; www.PreachingToday.com)
People don’t like to wait. They don’t like to wait for their ketchup. They don’t like to wait at the checkout line. Sometimes, they don’t even like to wait on God. That’s when some people take matters into their own hands and try to hurry God along, but that only makes things worse.
At least that’s what happened to Abram and Sarai in the Bible. God had promised them many descendants, so they waited for their first child. And they waited…and waited…and waited. For ten long years, they waited. Then they decided they needed to help God out. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 16, Genesis 16, where we find out what happens to those who try to hurry God along.
Genesis 16:1-3 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. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. (ESV)
Now, all this was perfectly legal in Abram’s day. If a woman was childless, she could give her maid to her husband, and the child born of that union would be considered a legitimate heir. It was a way to help God out. It was a way to help God get things started in giving them many descendants, just like He promised. Only God didn’t need the help, and their scheme only made things worse.
Genesis 16:4-5 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” (ESV)
Hagar despises Sarai, and Sarai blames Abram. In fact, even though the whole scheme was Sarai’s idea, Sarai loses respect for Abram and calls on God to judge between the two of them. That expression, “May the Lord judge between you and me,” is an expression of hostility and suspicion in the Bible (Gen. 31:53). Sarai didn’t trust her husband anymore, so she called on God to keep an eye on him. And Abram is no better. He blames Sarai.
Genesis 16:6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power,” – Implied, “It’s all your fault. You’re the one who controls your servant, and you chose to let her sleep with me. Why are you blaming me? You’re the one to blame.”
Genesis 16:6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. (ESV)
Literally, Sarai humbled Hagar. She reduced her status from concubine to slave and treated her as such. So Hagar fled. Hagar couldn’t stand the hostility in the home anymore, so she got out of there as quick as she could.
Abram and Sarai’s home fell apart. They lost respect for each other. They blamed each other, and things got downright ugly.
But that’s what happens when we stop waiting on God. That’s what happens when we stop trusting God and take matters into our own hands. That’s what happens when we become impatient and try to force the issue in our own human strength. Things get worse and relationships are damaged.