Sunday, January 16, 2011

Genesis: Chapter 16

Doubt and falling are as surely linked as praise and fellowship.  Sarai's 'wrong,' that she recognized herself and gave to Abram, was thinking God's plans needed her help.   And don't we all do that sometimes?  We rejoice at His promises and reject His process; God's timing helps us learn to have greater faith.  In Sarai's defense, the promise, as recorded in scripture, does seem to have made to Abram and while in hindsight the sanctity of marriage is seen to be precious from its inception in the Garden, the culture of their day made Sarai's suggestion reasonable.  We tend to think of the immorality of the relationship more than the dis-crediting of God in their planning but doubting God's goodness is a common technique of Satan.  And Satan uses reality (including the culture we live in) to draw our focus from God--and the reality of aging must have been pressing on both of them.  But God always calls us to look to Him, not people and not circumstances!

Like Sarai, it usually doesn't take us long to see that our own planning has gone awry.  Our self-determined intentions do not produce our desired results. Sarai evidently believed God's promises to Abram; she may have thought that God just didn't include her.  Whatever her rationale, neither she nor Abram sought God's perspective, and they proceeded without His leading.  Like Adam in the garden, Abram did not rise to the challenge of leadership in his home and Sarai stepped forward.  I don't like these biblical reminders of the error of a wife leading, but I definitely need the reminders.  Outside of God's order, outside of God's plans, outside of God's timing, we venture into the enemy's territory:  while God's purposes will proceed, the consequences will be long-lasting.

By the way, Hagar was another of the 'blessings' brought from Egypt.   Our blessings can become our temptations.  Ishmael, the child of this plan, is the ancestor of the Islamic nation.  The fighting of the middle eastern peoples is clear evidence of The Message translation of verse 12 as it speaks of Ishmael and his descendants:  "...a real fighter, fighting and being fought, Always stirring up trouble, always at odds with his family."  Let's close with our eyes on a beautiful result from this misguided plan: God's great grace to Hagar.  He sought her and she saw Him for who He is:  the God who sees!  Worship and walking with the God Who Sees is where we want to be! 

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