Could you imagine being told that you would have a child and having 24 years go by and you are still childless? Could you imagine if your name meant, “Exulted father” and yet throughout your own marriage, you have no children as your own? When people walk up to you and say, “Exulted father,” how many children do you have? The response you have to give over and over again is, “I don’t have any…” This is what Abram (Exulted father) experienced throughout his whole marriage experience up until the point when he was so frustrated and determined to have an heir; he slept with his wife’s maidservant and got her pregnant. We have to understand that this was a normal deal back then, even though it seems strange to us now.
Gods promise to Abraham had not changed. Abraham meets with God once again and Abraham says, “Lord, can’t Ishmael be my heir?” God doesn’t want to use him though. He wants Abraham to experience the promise of the fulfillment God has for him. Abraham is told that his name will be Isaac (which means laughter) because Sarah laughed when she heard that she would bare a son at such an old age). Abraham, probably tired and confused came to a fork in the road and had to make a choice. He could either go at it alone or do whatever he wanted by making the son of the flesh – Ishmael is heir or he could believe God and wait on His promise to fulfill it.
Wilkerson reminded me of a poem I learned a long time ago by Robert Frost. It is called, “The Road Less Traveled.” Here is the poem in closing. Abraham decided to trust in God and not make Ishmael his heir. He circumcised himself and the rest of the males of his family and trusted in God with full obedience.
ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth
Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference