Charles and Norma Ellis
1Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
3And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
5And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
6But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
God had made it amply clear that He would cause Abraham to be the father of a great nation, as numerous as the stars of those Eastern skies or as the sands of the sea. Did Sarah disbelieve God? She would probably have denied that, but her belief did not extend to waiting for God. She became impatient and decided that He needed her help. So she offered her maid to be the mother of Abraham's son. In her stumbling faith Sarah was contriving a way to enable God to keep His promise.
How often we take into our own hands things that are the prerogatives of God alone! If not as blatantly as Sarah, yet in slightly shady ways, by covert means, we attempt to bring about God's purposes. In the church as well as in the home we hunt for short-cuts, for instant religion and 'easy believism.' God's plan is not to be rushed. There is an elegant, majestic walk about the eternal God. His plan may include years of waiting. He has lessons to teach us as we wait, lessons of faith and perseverance and hope.
'Mom, I don't see how you prayed seventeen years for me!' But the mother and the father had done just that. And who is to say that this was too long to wait for a son's salvation? It was God's timing. Through it He was accomplishing His purposes. He answered when those purposes had been accomplished. Praise His name!
We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."
Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.
Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.
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