“And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:4-6
“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 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.” Genesis 16:1-2
Know how Abram, who was renamed Abraham by God, made a great big mess of things? The answer bears a warning and message for us all.
His wife Sarai was barren, but God promised he would have a child and end up with a lineage of people – which would ultimately include the Lord Jesus Christ – that would number more than there are stars in the sky! That would take a miracle, wouldn’t it, for a woman that couldn’t bear children at all, right? How did a mess transpire? Whenever I’ve heard this story preached or written about, I’ve heard about the impatience of Abram and Sarai. About how Sarai told Abram to have a child with the maid rather than wait on the Lord. Impatience. Lack of trust.
But please don’t miss another vitally important message in this. What did Abram and Sarai actually do that set the whole mess in motion? They listened to and answered to a voice other than God’s!
Sarai listened to the voice of her flesh and answered to it. Abram listened to Sarai and answered to her voice. They didn’t wait for and answer the voice of the Lord.
The details of the mess they created are neither here nor there concerning this message, though the mess they created by their disobedience still apparently greatly affects us today. The message for us is that we need to seek the face of the Lord, to dig deeply and continually into His Word and measure all we believe we hear from Him against His Word because He will always and only speak to our hearts in line with His Word, and obey what we hear. Our flesh has a voice. This world has a voice. The devil has a voice. Seeking counsel from others can be important, but even well-meaning people may not give us godly counsel. We MUST seek the Lord’s voice!
Christ’s followers, His sheep, are to seek, hear, and follow the voice of our Great Shepherd. Even when we need to wait to hear it. Because there is no greater voice than the Lord’s! And His is the one to follow – forever!