The second lesson we can learn from “Father Abraham” is this:
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
Genesis 17:15-19 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Thirteen years have passed since Abraham’s lapse of faith in chapter 16 (16:16 w/ 17:1). God comes and repeats his promise of a son through Sarah. Abraham laughs (as does Sarah in chapter 18). As a reminder, the son is to be named “Isaac” (laugher).
In verse 18 of Genesis 17, Abraham falls on his face and prays to God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! He’s still seeking God’s blessing on his human intervention. Outside God’s promise of a child through Sarah, you can understand the desire of a father for his son.
It’s a prayer God heard. Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
In hindsight, Abraham might wish that God didn’t hear that prayer. As we mentioned last time, Ishmael was a wild man (16:12), and the nations that came from him have followed his course throughout history. To this day, they do battle with the sons of Isaac.
Instead of asking God’s blessing on our own plans and designs, let’s ask for His help to bring our lives in line with His will. It’s just better that way.