The Problem with Taking Shortcuts: Devotional for January 10, 2022

Today’s Bible reading from the Five-Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 16-18, Mark 6

Genesis 16 serves as a prime example for taking a shortcut with God’s promises. In the previous chapter, God reinforced with Abraham that he would have a child. Abraham and Sarah were both 75 and 66, respectively, when the original promise was given in Genesis 12:1-3. Here they are in Genesis 16, eleven years later and get older by the day. Would God fulfill the promise truly?

Here is the episode that turned much of human history:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife (Genesis 16:1-3, ESV).

Sarah resented the Lord, whom she believed “prevented” her from having a child. Abraham opted to listen to the voice of his wife rather than the promise of God. Both were shortcutting God’s promises due to a lack of patience on Sarah’s part and a lack of trust on Abram’s.

The result? Hagar’s child would serve as a thorn in the Jews’ side for all of history. Yet, even more this serves as an example for the problem of taking shortcuts with God’s Word. We must trust His plan and His timetable.

Are you impatient with God’s timing? Are you shortcutting His promises? Doing so has consequences. No sin occurs in a vacuum–repercussions ensue in ways we cannot imagine. In Christ, all of God’s promises are “yes” (see 2 Corinthians 1:20).