When most people talk about Abraham, they talk about the man of faith, the father of many nations. But I want to talk about the human Abraham. The Abraham that made mistakes because we learn as much from the mistakes of the Bible characters, as we do from their successes. We might even learn more.
Abraham was a wealthy man, an influential man, but he lacked one thing. He lacked an heir. He lacked a son to take on his family name, to carry on his blood line. He complained to God about his situation. God promised him as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.
In the natural realm, that looked like an impossibility. Abraham, at this point, was in his seventies when God made this promise to him. Sarah, his wife, was barren. She couldn't conceive a child.
According to Jewish custom, Abraham could have legally divorced Sarah because she could not have children. Sarah, most likely out of fear, came up with an idea to help God's plan along. She had an Egyptian slave girl named Hagar, and so she said to Abraham, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Why don't you sleep with my slave girl? Perhaps she can have a child for me."
You might think that Abraham's mistake was sleeping with Hagar, but his mistake occurred way before that. It occurred when he agreed with Sarah's plan and didn't take his rightful place as the head of the household. At the very least, he could have said "no." But the optimal course of action would have been to consult God.
But instead of talking to God, Abraham slept with Hagar, and they conceived a son--Ishmael.
Did God's plan still come to pass? Yes, but it took longer. From promise to fulfillment took approximately twenty-five years.
Why? Because Abraham, Sarah and Hagar tried to play god in their own lives. Unhappy with the way God was handling things, they decided they could do a better job.
We see from this, though, that even though we make mistakes, God will find a way to make His plan come to pass in our lives...if we repent and turn back to Him. God is never surprised when we slip up. He always has another plan in mind...Plan A, B, C, D....Z.
As long as we repent and commit ourselves again to God's plan, He will find away to fulfill His promise in our lives. It may take twenty-five years from start to finish, like Abraham, but it will happen.