El Shaddai: Almighty Sufficient One

Day 2 of 3 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Abraham responded to the delay of God’s promise by attempting to help God keep the covenant. 


Abraham and Sarah had a very conventional response to God’s delay in keeping His promise: if God will not provide the blessing than they would provide it themselves. 


This self-sufficient, “pick myself up by my bootstraps” mentality, also identified as “illegitimate help,” gave rise to the sin of Abraham sleeping with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar, and giving birth to Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16). Abraham and Sarah, as coconspirators, now had a male heir, but in taking matters into their own hands, they had acted outside of God’s plans for how He would keep His promises. 


God, however, was not interested in illegitimate means of help to achieve a legitimate end, Abraham’s son Isaac. To Abraham’s offer of Ishmael as the child of the covenant, God responded, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:20).  


Do you ever try to ignore God's ruling in favor of a more logical alternative?