HUMILITY PRECEDES GRACE18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” (Genesis 17:18)
This is the prayer of a man, who may have not heard clearly what God has said to him about an heir. In the previous verses of Genesis chapter 17, God had said emphatically two verses earlier that He was going to give Sarah - Abraham's legitimate wife - a child who will be the latter's true heir.
We all know, in review, that the son Abraham prayed to God for blessing for (above) - Ishmael -was not from the one whom God had designated. Ishmael's mother, Hagar, was the pawn in a disastrous scheme by Sarah which Abraham could have said "no way" to. When he agreed to have a child by proxy with his wife's maiden, knowingly, he committed an error which still plagues the world more and more today as we witness all over the Middle East.
Like Adam, Abraham listened to his wife instead of God. Both men made fatal errors which God still papered over for them and blessed them indeed for generations. Adam forsook permanent blessings and face to Face fellowship with the pre-incarnate Jesus. Abraham sowed the seeds of thousands of years of conflict.
However Adam had great descendants like Enoch, Methuselah and Noah. Abraham had a great line of heroes of the Faith like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel and David. We know Scripture is written as the model for us to live (or not to), so making mistakes at the critical time of testing - while gamechangers - is not the end of the story.
God went on to promise to take care of Ishmael. He sai
d in verse 20 "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly". But our Heavenly Father did re-emphasize that HIS Covenant and Promise for the Son of the Promise - Isaac.
There is a huge lesson for us in this prayer because each and everyone of us have prayed for some kind of resolution of a problem WE have created and for God to help us find a way out. We sin knowingly, or get blindsided because we are not where God instructed us to be and then get stuck with the consequences of our actions. This truth covers just about every area of life, you and I can fathom. How we resolve it is how Abraham did here.
Go back to Genesis 17:3 "Abram (Abraham) fell on his face and God talked to him". This is the action point in our prayer life - full surrender, in humility and with the knowledge that we are completely, totally and fully at His mercy, grace, compassion and longsuffering. Not just that, we are absolutely dependent on Him for everything in life, not just for ourselves but for those with whom we are entrusted to care for. The sooner we come to terms with this, we will know how to pray more effectively for our shortcomings to be dealt with.