Genesis 16

The Old Testament records the life and trials of Abraham. While the patriarch had a special relationship with God, his faith was not perfect. Over the course of his life, he came to understand how important it is to obey—and how costly it can be to rebel.

Abraham learned the hard way that manipulating circumstances to gain a desired result can bring heartache. The Lord had promised him and Sarah a child, but the couple was still waiting for that blessing when they were elderly. Already in her 80s, Sarah suggested that Abraham get an heir by having a child with her servant Hagar. The result was jealousy, family strife, and a bloody conflict that still rages today between the descendants of Hagar’s son Ishmael and Sarah’s son Isaac.

Obedience will bring the Lord’s best, but it requires waiting on Him. Abraham was already an old man when God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. (Genesis 15:5). This would not be fulfilled until he was 100 and Sarah was well past her child-bearing years, which meant that all the glory for Isaac’s miraculous conception and birth went to the Lord. Jumping ahead of God had harsh, long-term consequences. But the good news is that the couple’s mistakes could not prevent Him from carrying out His plan (Genesis 21:1-8).

The Lord has given us His Word so we might learn from the saints of old. Abraham’s life teaches us that obedience is essential. When we place our trust in a sovereign God and wait upon His timing, we have nothing to fear from the world.