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Get For Yourself Or Receive What You Are Given

Galatians 4:21-23
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. (NIVUK)

Paul wrote to Christians who were being lured back into legalistic religion. He used the story of God’s promise to Abraham that he would have a son. Genesis, chapters 16, 19 & 21 show the difference between getting what you believe is God’s will, but in your own way, and receiving the gift which God has promised. Abraham and Sarah could not have children. Although God had promised that they would have a son, the couple agreed that Abraham would sleep with Sarah’s servant and the child could be brought up as his heir. However, God later fulfilled His promise and gave a miracle-baby to the couple in their old age: Isaac who would be the heir.
If Abraham had waited for God to give what He had promised, the horrible family disturbances would not have happened. Instead, he thought that the only way God’s promise could be fulfilled was by taking the matter into his own hands. That was the same problem in the Galatian churches. Paul was saying that they simply needed to receive Jesus as their Saviour and allow Him to change their hearts: instead they thought that God would only accept them if they worked hard at following all the Old Testament rules.
How often do we decide that God cannot be trusted to deliver what we need by the time we determine is right? Like Abraham, we may say we believe God’s promises, but also be so impatient that we solve the problem ourselves. People do that with salvation: they think that they have to work hard to be good enough for God – but they are wrong. God has promised salvation freely to all who believe in Jesus. In the same way, some believers make the same mistake in their walk with Christ. They would rather do something that is inadequate themselves, than trust the Lord to give them what is completely right. Trusting in the Lord often means waiting, and refusing to move ahead of His promise.

Lord God. Thank You that You will fulfil every promise You have made, and that You are trustworthy. Thank You for Your free gift of salvation as I put my trust in Jesus. I am sorry for the times when I have not waited for You and made a mess of my life by rushing ahead, taking what I want rather than waiting for Your gift. Please help me to learn the simple lessons of patient faith, and remember that You have not forgotten anything about me and my circumstances. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams