The angel of the Lord also said to [Hagar], “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” … And God said to [Abram], “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.”
Have you ever watched children play with a Lego set, building a little house or spacecraft but completely ignoring the plans for its construction? Eventually, with pieces strewn across the floor, they end up with a monstrosity—pieces every which way, doors that open to nowhere—and they come to you, bemoaning the fact that it just doesn’t look right. And so you take the child, the pieces, and the mess, you sit down together, and you say, “Let’s take the plans and this brokenness, and let’s do it right this time.”
When Abraham and Sarah grew weary and restless as they waited for God to fulfill His promise of an heir, they took matters into their own hands. Trying to piece together life on their own, they agreed that Abraham would sleep with Hagar, Sarah’s servant, in order to have a child (Genesis 16:1-4). Their decision sowed discord, chaos, contempt, and unhappiness: after Hagar “saw that she had conceived” (v 4), she became proud and “looked with contempt on her mistress.” Sarah then blamed Abraham for her misfortune, and he responded by wiping his hands clean of the whole mess: “Your servant is in your power; do to her as you please” (v 6). Their lives had become a disheveled mess.
But God overruled their wrong decisions and intervened with mercy and grace. First, an angel of the Lord met Hagar in her need, assured her of God’s presence, and told her God’s promise: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” Likewise, Abraham and Sarah’s blunder couldn’t derail God’s covenant purposes and steadfast love. God promised that Sarah would bear a son, whom they were to call Isaac, and promised Abraham, “I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:19).
In many ways, God treats us similarly. Like a parent with a dismayed child, He comes and picks up the scattered parts of our lives. He comes to us in our brokenness, with the scraps of our self-effort strewn around us and His plans tucked somewhere off to the side, and He replaces the pieces, points us back to His plans, and restores us to the right path.
How many times has God overruled your blundering? How many times has God come to you in your error and rebellion, in your emptiness and brokenness, and brought about, to His glory, events that are unimaginable? Praise God today for His steadfast love and faithfulness. The words of Moses to Joshua still ring true today: “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
My Help and My Deliverer
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.1
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9I have told the glad news of deliverance2
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.
One-Year Bible Reading Plan