(Scripture references from NIV except as noted)
Starting in Genesis 12, Abram has a call on his life from God and at the age of 70 is promised, by God, that he will make him into a great nation and bless him. (Verse 2)
In Genesis 15:1-6 Abram believes his servant Eliezer will inherit all he has because he still has no children of his own. But God once again assures him that he will indeed have a son and will be blessed with many offspring.
Then in chapter 16 we learn that Abram’s wife Sarai, since she has yet to become pregnant, has grown impatient, deciding that she will apparently play no role in God’s plan to give Abram a son. Her doubt in God’s plan causes her to step out on her own and take a drastic step. As was not uncommon in that day, she offered her Egyptian slave to Abram as his second wife in order to have an heir. Abram complied, took Hagar and she conceived – Abram was now 86 years old.
When Hagar had learned she was pregnant she became obstinate toward Sarai and then Sarai apparently lashed out in return. Sarai went to Abram and complained, blaming him for his part in the situation, which obviously she herself had created. Sarai then began to mistreat Hagar who fled, heading back to her own country. Along the way, she encountered an Angel that instructed her to return to and submit to Sarai. He told her she would have a son and that she should name him Ishmael. She was also assured that he would become a great nation; but, that he will also be a rebel that will stir up trouble with his brothers. (16:12)
Sarai’s good intentions set things in motion with consequences that we still see in our world today. The contention between the Arabs (Muslims) and the Jews is proof of good intentions gone wrong.
Another really good example of how the lack of patience can create a situation that causes someone to lose their blessings is told in 1 Samuel 13:8-14. There you can read about how Saul had been instructed by the prophet Samuel to wait for him at a certain place, but Saul’s men grew impatient and started scattering out of fear. So Saul stepped up and went through with a burnt offering in order to satisfy his men. Just as he had completed this, Samuel arrived demanding to know what he had done. In verses 13 & 14 it says: “’You have done a foolish thing,’” Samuel said. “’You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure…’” His entire future was ruined because of his lack of patience and good intentions.
How many times have we had a path to follow – one that we believe has been ordained of God – then grown impatient? We determine in our limited minds that we know better than God how to get things done. So we step out, with nothing but good intentions and try to make things happen. But for one of many possible reasons (i.e. the timing, the path taken, etc.) things begin to fall apart. Things may even take a turn for the worse – and we are puzzled and get upset with God, when the fault lies squarely on us.
We must learn patience and how to keep faith, knowing “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We must be willing to wait – to persevere – in order to receive all the Lord intends us to have. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) says: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” The word “shall” is repeated multiple times in that one verse and that to me is an indication that this is a word we need to be sure and notice. Those statements are promises. This verse also gives us assurances of His protection and provisions – what we need when we need it. However, the stipulation for those promises is at the very beginning of the verse – we must learn to wait. We need to be like eagles that fly directly into a storm then soar above it – patiently waiting for it to pass.
In Psalm 37:1-8 are some wonderful words of encouragement, but in regard to the topic here, I especially like verse 7 that says: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” Remember, God’s timing is always perfect, so learning patience is critical to our well-being and success. As the old proverb says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Learn and practice faith and patience, following God’s path alone in order to stay off that road to hell.
Written by Karran Martin – February 28, 2019