Learning To Listen to God Abram: Disaster With Hagar
It is a common shortcoming of mankind that we underestimate the power of God. • We are tempted to estimate God’s power based upon our own limitations. • Underestimating God
Isaiah 55:8-9 • "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. • "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. • Today we will endeavor to better understand these words from the Lord.
Genesis 12:2-3 • "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. • I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." • The Calling of Abram (Promise #1)
Abram was 75 years old when God called him. • God made a 3-fold promise: • Nation • Name • Blessing
Abram would have to have descendants to become a nation. • This was the post-flood world where life spans were much shorter than previously. • Yet, how does Abram respond? • 12:4 -- So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
Faith in Crisis • Genesis 13:16 -- I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. • This is a powerful promise from God to a 75 year-old man with a barren wife.
Abram’s faith stretched: • Genesis 15 • vs. 2 – Childless and a servant as heir • vs. 4 – God promises a child will spring from Abram’s own body. • Vs. 6 – Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness. • Vs. 9 – Abraham cuts a covenant with God – his faith is secure.
Disaster Strikes! • Genesis 16:2 -- Now Sarai…said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Genesis 16:3 • The timeframe examined • Abraham is now 85 years old – ten years after his calling. • Genesis 17:24-25 -- Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was thirteen;
Abram gives in to pressure rather than wait on God. • What was the result? • Family disaster • Sarai estranged from Hagar • Sarai mistreating Hagar • Sending Hagar away • Bitterness over Ishmael
Genesis 17 – final clarification from God • Vs. 19 -- Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac….
Did Abraham have any helpful clues? • God’s statement in the garden of Eden: leave father and mother, cleave to wife and two become one flesh. • The events of Genesis 12:14-20 • Abraham goes to Egypt • Pharaoh takes Sarai • God punishes Pharaoh and family • Pharaoh restores her to Abram with gifts
The Disaster Continues • Galatians 4:24-26 -- These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Continuous unrest in the Middle East • Palestine vs. Israel • Arab vs. Hebrew • Finds its origins at least as far back as this disaster.
Listening to God • Things Abraham should have remembered: • God will always work in the realm of righteousness. Adultery/polygamy is never righteous. • God’s power is not limited by our imagination or experience. • God’s timing is not always our own.