eMeditation on the Bible 


Story: God, Abraham & the Promise (summarized from Genesis 16-18:15 & 21:1-20) 

God promised Abraham to bless humanity through his descendants. But there was a problem with this: a child had not been born to Abraham and his wife, Sarah. They were becoming older and Sarah was becoming too old to have children. They decided to make Godís promise happen by their own plan. Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham as a mistress to have a child. Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Then one day, Abraham saw 3 men standing near his tent and he invited the strangers to receive dinner from him. While they ate, one of the men said to Abraham, ďI will return to you about this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son.Ē Sarah was listening inside the tent and laughed when she heard this because did not believe that she could become pregnant at her age. Later on, Sarah became pregnant. A son was born and he was named Isaac. Now Abraham had two sons; one from their plan to obtain Godís promise and one from Godís power to fulfill Godís promises. This created a conflict in Abrahamís family. Sarah was jealous of Ishmael because he was Abrahamís oldest son, which was always a very special position in families in ancient West Asia. So, Sarah told Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away from the household. Abraham was very upset by this demand. He loved both Ishmael and Isaac. But he realized that a situation with two sons competing for the most favored position in the family would harm the family. Therefore, he gave Hagar and Ishmael supplies to travel to live in a desert region of West Asia. Ishmael became the father of the todayís Arabs and Isaac was an ancestor of the Israelites, known as Jews today. 


General Principles 

Although the Bibleís most ancient stories are based on very old oral traditions, the fact that both Arabs and Jews, who have always been adversaries of each other, trace their ancestry back to Abraham gives credibility to the story for this meditation. We learn from it that: (1) God can be trusted to fulfill Godís promises; (2) Godís schedule for doing things can be very different from human expectations and desires; and (3) when people become impatient with God and rely on their own wisdom instead of trusting God, problems can result. The impatience of Abraham and Sarah with God led them to try to fulfill Godís promise by their own wisdom. This resulted in a problem that has created trouble in human history to this day; specifically, the conflict in West Asia between Arabs and Jews that has destabilized geopolitics. 


Personal Application 

God has promised to give your life meaning and purpose as well as fill it with well-being and enable you to reach worthwhile goals when you trust God. Yet, there may be periods in your life when it seems stuck without progress or moving in the wrong direction instead of toward Godís plan and destiny for you. These are the times that it is most important to trust God, live according to Godís wisdom and stop yourself from becoming impatient and discouraged with God.  


Respond by Growing 

When your life is not advancing or is moving backward and God seems absent, ask God to guide you to handle the difficulties and to give you wisdom to know: (1) what to do, (2) when to act and (3) when to wait patiently for God to act on your behalf. God also uses the advice of those who are wise to provide wisdom. Remind yourself that God will accomplish good things in your life when you patiently trust God. But Godís schedule is often different for your schedule. No matter how long you must wait, never stop trusting God. Always keep your hope in God alive.