And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before you!
Ishmael was the son of Abraham given birth to by Hagar. It took Abraham many years of waiting before he got this child. He was already ninety nine years old and the chances of having another child were next to impossible. The fact that he could father a child with Hagar was a miracle in itself. As far as Abraham was concerned Ishmael was ‘the one.’ He was done waiting for another child. Anything God wanted to do he could do through Ishmael. But God was telling him that his wife Sarai will conceive and give birth to a child when she was past menopause. This was too much for Abraham to receive.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
God told Abraham that he was going to become great, become a father of many nations. As he listened to God speak all he heard was that through ISHMAEL he would become a father of many nations. His mind was clouded by Ishmael and he could not go beyond him to understand what The Lord was telling him. Ishmael totally dominated his thinking and limited his capacity to connect with the mind of God and comprehend the purpose of God for his life.
Ishmael represents the success The Lord has manifested in your life by his grace. What you never imagined you could accomplish The Lord has done way more than that and now that success has become a hinderance stopping you from experiencing the next move of God, it has become a Goliath standing in the way of your progress in heaven’s timetable for your life, career, business and ministry.
So God opened doors for you to start a computer hardware business. Through the years it has grown and become successful. You never imagined in your life that you could experience such a level of success and now that you have it, you don’t think there is anything that could surpass this level of success. So when God tells you that you will ‘establish an international business in Germany,’ your mind automatically goes to the computer hardware business and you tell God to bless it and make it great. But computer hardware business is NOT what The Lord is talking about. He is talking about doing something completely different, something you have never experienced before in your life. For someone else it may be your current focus in ministry that has become an Ishmael and is hindering you from listening to what God is telling you He wants to do in this season.
God was telling Abraham about birthing Isaac, which represented greatness, but Abraham was thinking about sustaining, establishing and propagating Ishmael which represented his current level of success.
There was nothing wrong in asking God to establish Ishmael, but that wasn’t God’s plan for Abraham. God had bigger plans for him.
You cannot out-think God. He is way beyond our small minds. So when God is unveiling His plans to us, we should not try to ‘give Him advice’ like Abraham did. Rather we should pay attention, listen and humbly follow His counsel and direction.
The difference between Isaac and Ishmael is massive. There is no comparison whatsoever between them. One was natural, the other was supernatural. God is about to do something supernatural in your life. What He will birth through you will impact nations.
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before you!
In Abraham’s mind, what could be better than Ishmael? ‘Why bother to give me another child when I have one already? This one is enough for me.’
The business person may be thinking ‘what kind of business will be better than this business?’ The answer? Many businesses would be better than your present business. There are businesses that haven’t been conceived in the mind of men and The Lord wants to birth these businesses through you. There are dimensions in ministry God wants to birth in and through you. Do not resist it. Do not fight it. Do not analyse it to death, rather receive it by faith.
Ishmael represented the past. Isaac represented the future.
If you let go of Ishmael God will birth Isaac in your life. If you let go of the past God will birth the future in and through you.
Abraham was telling God, ‘Ishmael is as good as it gets. Why reinvent the wheel? If this is working why bother creating another one?’ The truth is that God will invent and reinvent different kinds of wheels in your life to give the vehicle of your assignment supernatural mobility into various seasons of your life. The wheels you used in the past will not take this supernatural vehicle of your calling and assignment into the future.
God cannot use Ishmael to accomplish (in your life)what was purposed by God to be done, effected and executed through Isaac.
Ishmael does not carry the grace, ability and resources to birth the future God has for you. Only Isaac can birth it.
Your Isaac may be a new direction in ministry, a new career path, a new business, a new product or service. Your Isaac may be relocating to another part of your country or a foreign country and starting again. But it is only an Isaac that can bring you into the divine agenda of God for your life. Nothing else would.
Abraham was not praying according to the revealed knowledge of God’s will. He was praying amiss. Prayer is enforcing the will of God for your life. It is not enforcing your own desires and plans. Abraham was asking God to bless his own idea, his own plans and his own agenda. This is not the kingdom way of operating. Praying, making intercessions, making prophetic decrees on something God is not interested in is a complete waste of your time. Before you begin to enforce your desire in the place of prayer make sure it is God’s revealed will for your life. Abraham’s prayer sounded good but it was contrary to the will of God, it was adverse, hostile and adverse. It was fervent but he was praying against the very blessing God wanted to bring into his life. May you not pray against the blessing God wants to birth in your life. No matter how much or how long you ask God to bless your Ishmael, He will not answer that prayer simply because He wants to birth Isaac through you.
When God is talking to you, pay attention. Forget about all your own ideas and listen to what He is telling you. The success represented by Ishmael will never become the greatness God has planned for you in Isaac.
So that you know, God does not need your help, assistance or contribution to birth Isaac in your life. When He tells you what He wants to do, He is not telling you because He needs your help. He is telling you because He wants you to get ready for it, to prepare for it, to make room in your life to receive it, to adjust mentally and emotionally to the new level He is taking you to.
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her:yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
God had been talking about birthing nations through Abraham, but while he was talking about ISAAC, Abraham was thinking about Ishmael. They were having totally different conversations. God was saying something but Abraham was hearing something different, he was processing something totally different in his mind. God was talking about something new, Abraham was holding on to something from the past. So God had to disrupt his thoughts by telling him that Sarah his wife, would birth a child named Isaac. Not Hagar, not the past, but God was going to birth greatness in his life through his wife.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
Abraham was computing the impossibility of having a child in his mind. He and his wife were way beyond the ‘natural years’ of conceiving and birthing a child. It was a biological impossibility for them to have a child through natural means. Abraham laughed at the very idea of birthing an Isaac because he thought he had a role in birthing that child and he knew he could not do it.
But God wasn’t asking Abraham to do anything about it because he couldn’t. God was not asking for his contribution to this miracle. God was going to accomplish it in a supernatural way, all by Himself. God was telling Abraham to prepare for and receive it. The challenge we have is that when The Lord starts talking about a new direction, a new project, a new business, a new building, a new ministry, a new thing He wants to do in our lives, we begin to think that God wants US to do it by our own power, ability and resources. No, He doesn’t. He will do it in and through us by His power and spirit. He has never needed our help to birth His purposes in the earth. What He needs is our obedience to follow and walk in His plan.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying,
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,
saith the Lord of hosts.
You don’t have the ability or resources to birth the purposes of God in your life and in your generation. Instead of thinking of a way to ‘help God’ like Abraham tried to do by asking God to bless Ishmael, we should rely completely and totally on Him by faith and trust that He will carry out His own divine agenda, by His own power, with His own resources at His own perfect timing.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Receive this word in your spirit. Be thankful for what God did in the past. Now release the past and embrace what The Lord wants to do in and through you in this season. Press into the very centre of His will through prayer and the Lord will totally awe you with what He will do in and through you.