Genesis 16:1-3 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 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. 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.
The very words of the title of today's reading seem silly. He is God. He does not need my help. He does not need my manipulations. He does not need my interference in His plans.
God gave Sarah a promise. He promised she would have a son. When Sarah saw what she thought was a delay in God's delivery on the promise, she helped God. Sarah suggested a plan that sounded right in her eyes.
Sarah proposed to Abraham that their maid Hagar could help with God's promise. So, following the cultural model, Hagar became a surrogate for Sarah. Hagar was given a child by God. But this was not how God intended to give Sarah a son. God's plan was better. God's plan is always better. Sarah's plan did not help God. God did not need Sarah's help. God needed Sarah to wait on Him.
We look at this and think how silly Sarah was. Truly, God did not need Sarah’s help. The result of this decision to help God brought forth Ishmael. Our struggles in the Middle East today stem from this decision several thousand years ago.
What surprises me today is that we still do this as a people. When God’s answer seems delayed, we seek to help God. The result of our helping God is the same as Sarah's. We end up with Ishmael problems in our lives, families, and ministries.
Look at your life today. Do you have Ishmael problems from your attempt to help God? Maybe it’s a purchase you made to help God. Maybe it's a problem that stems from when you helped God. Perhaps it is a person in your life that you brought into a relationship that you knew was wrong. It is likely that you cannot undo your decision; you can only make the decision not to end up here again.
Remember this, God never needs our help.
When I help, I get an Ishmael. When He does it, I get an Isaac. May our prayer be, “God, I will wait on you. I will not try to help you, again.”
Remember His promises are sure. His ways are perfect.