The Wise Man wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” How true!
This lesson is titled: “Good Ideas or God’s Ideas?” Remember the proverb: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”? This story certainly proves that point. Almost every day in the news we read about trouble between the Arabs and the Jews. Do you know where that started? In Genesis 16! Here’s the situation. It had been ten long years since God had promised Abram and Sarai they would have a son. That promise wasn’t made when they were newlyweds; Abram was 75 and Sarai wasn’t far behind! This clearly was going to be a miracle child. But month after month, nothing. Finally, Sarai lost hope. She felt God had, in her words, “restrained me from bearing children.” So when we feel that God has let us down, what do we do? Ask Him to help us understand? Not if we’re like Sarai—we take things into our own hands. Sarai was desperate, and she began thinking. If she couldn’t bear this son—a son to be the beginning of a new nation raised up to share God’s message with the whole world—someone else would have to do it. Why, here was Hagar, her young Egyptian maid. She did all sorts of tasks for Sarai; why not this? We might find this shocking (although surrogate motherhood is still practiced today), but that’s what happens when we decide we must do God’s work for Him. Hagar did conceive, and the son born to her was named, “Ishmael,” meaning “God will hear.” He is the father of the Arabs. Who named him? The Angel of the Lord! What a rebuke to Sarai. If only she had gone to God with her doubts and fears, wouldn’t God have heard and answered? And what about us? Instead of taking things into our own hands, let’s go to the Lord and remember, “God will hear.”