By K.P. Yohannan
God promised Abraham and Sarah a child. But as the years went by, nothing happened. As the years of childbearing passed, they began to wonder how God could ever fulfill His promise. They reasoned and agonized for months and finally decided that they had to give God a helping hand.
As a result of their own carnal reasonings, they did what a lot of us do today when we have a faith-crisis, they came up with their own plan. It was to employ Sarah's servant girl, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. The child Abraham fathered by her was named Ishmael. We don't like to admit it, but today this same kind of thing still happens-even in our church business meetings and missions work, in our fund-raising appeals from the pulpit, and in our communications. We can't wait for God, so we do things our way. And then like Abraham, we seek God's blessings on our efforts. . .
Ishmael was born to Abraham when he was eighty-six years old. In Genesis 17:1 we find that Abraham is now ninety-nine years old and obviously impotent. Now the chosen time has come for God to act. There was nothing left in Abraham-absolutely nothing that could help him or Sarah to have a son. The Bible says she was ninety, well past her childbearing years as well. Isaac was to be born miraculously so all could see that this new race was a people of grace, created by the grace and mercy of God.
As God's people for this present age, we must also forsake our Ishmaels and be circumcised in our hearts. Only as we learn to depend on God will we father no more Ishmaels of our own. How dare we run to the world for their expertise as if God is helpless to do His work? I am convinced that we have been deceived by the powers of darkness. For too many years, we've been transferring our faith from God to the methods of modern business, management, marketing and science. No wonder we're not praying today. No wonder we're not spending nights in prayer waiting for God to show us His plan. No wonder the authority, power and glory of God are gone from our assemblies and missions. No wonder we're victims of every new fad, philosophy and pseudo-theology that comes along. Our dependency on self is producing a twentieth-century baby boom of Ishmaels!