Memorise: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:7
Read: Genesis 16:1-4
16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
16:2 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.
16:3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Bible in One Year: Numbers 34-36, Jeremiah 25:1-16, Hymn 4: Through the Love of God Our Savior
After several years of waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Sarah sat down one day, had a long thinking session, and came up with an alternative plan which she presented to Abraham, and he accepted it. She had been barren for several years and was now obviously tired of being in that state; hence, she decided to give Hagar, one of her slaves, to her husband hoping to get a child through this arrangement. How mistaken she was! Sarah’s experience has a lot to teach contemporary Christians. When God is leading you in a certain direction, or if He has made a promise to you, any contrary opinion or alternative is borne out of impatience, doubt or unbelief. Its when people can no longer wait for God’s plan that they come up with their own alternatives. One lesson from this story is that man’s alternative charts a new course for you, which can take you completely out of God’s original plan.
Just like Abraham and Sarah, many people have come up with alternatives that have landed them at destinations they never expected. But for God’s patience and mercy, the step Abraham and Sarah took was enough to derail them from God’s original course. The reason why the Holy Spirit says in Proverbs 3:5-6 that you should subordinate your plans under God’s will is so that He can guide you along His original plan for your life. Believe it or not, God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 1:4-5). If you follow this plan, you will definitely obey God’s word and remain in His will. God’s word never negates His will for your life (James 1:18). The question is, “Are you still in God’s plan?”
To keep within God’s will, you must be filled with His word and His Spirit, prayerful, watchful, thankful and humble. Why? The natural man within you will always come up with alternatives to God’s perfect plan for your life. You need to be watchful because some alternatives may look like the original plan, but in essence, they are miles apart. If you will access God’s perfect plan for your life, then you must leave no space for the flesh or the devil to give you an alternative. You must trust, rely on and completely depend upon God. God’s choice is always the safe choice.
For this reason Proverbs 29:25b says, “…but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” If you depend on God 99% and leave 1% for an alternative, that is enough to derail you. Never rely on what you think you know or your assessment of the situation. No matter how brilliant your ideas may be, God has something better. Bring your plans before God’s searchlight and let Him tell you if its okay or not.
Action Point: Has impatience made you pursue your own alternatives? Stop and beat a retreat today!
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.