Faithlife Sermons

16 1-16 As The World Turns With Abraham

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

                                                  liberty bible church          7/1/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“As the world turns with abram”

Genesis 16:1-16


Illus. of Soap operas have been popular for years in this country. They are full of intrigue and infidelity, which of course plays to the hearts of sinful people. The Star wars Trilogy has experienced soap opera like popularity with a cult following that is interesting and scary all at the same time. Our culture is inundated with this as illustrated by this card I got from the kids. SHOW CARD Darth Vader was one who had been on the side of the good until he crossed over to the dark side. What follows are soap opera-like events; Luke finds out that his real father is Darth Vader, his arch enemy. He also finds out that the woman who he thinks he might be in love with, his ally and also avowed enemy of Darth Vader, Princess Lea is his sister. What follows are fictional wars of the heart, mind, and empire that have wowed the world for decades. Our passage tonight is true. We see a man whose wife is also his half-sister, who frequently lies about her for his own personal gain, and who is struggling with his place in this world. Within this struggle, he becomes the father of two sons, from two different women, whose descendants are still at war today.    

OPEN to passage.                                       


Prop. In this passage, we see that trying to fulfill God’s promises on our own will create problems, which consequences are hard to imagine.    

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Abram has just come off a great victory and been given a great promise by God. 15:17-21 However, as an old man, how is this going to happen? How is God going to fulfill this promise? Whenever we doubt God and begin to take matters into our own hands, we get into trouble. Why would Abram do this? What would lead him astray?

 i. bad counsel vs. 1-6

Illus. of they say that families tend to repeat sins. Abram repeats the sin of our first forefather, Adam. What was his sin?

a. abram hears a bad idea

V 1a     1. Sarai was barren. This was not looked favorably upon in the ancient world. I’m not sure if Sarai was concerned about the promise of God as much as her be scorned for being barren.

V 1b-   2. So, it was customary for the wealthier women to give their maids to their husbands and the child that was born

      2a       to the maid would be considered the child of the wife. If it was a male child and if the father called him his son, he was considered the primary heir to the father’s estate. So, what she was suggesting was legal and proper, as far as local customs go. But, not always what is legal or acceptable in the world is what God wants His children to be doing.

b. abram listens to the bad idea

V 2b    1. Sarai would have felt the pressure of the world around her, Abram should have known better. Even though the promise we saw in verse 15:18 did not say specifically that Sarai would be the mother of Abram’s descendants, he should have been patient and waited for God to communicate that, rather than listening to Sarai who was worried that her biological clock had run out of time. He had exercised faith before. He had seen God work before. He should have been patient. But, he wasn’t.

V 3-4a 2. A moment of pleasure traded for millennia of pain, for the entire world.

c. covering sin results in…

V 4b    1. Conflict- Hagar became prideful. No longer did she have to be the humble servant to this old, barren woman. She was young and pretty and she carried the baby of the master. Was the child really going to be Sarai’s? Was this child to be the promised seed to Abram from God?

V 5      2. Blame-shifting- When the plan turned bad, Sarai blamed Abram. After all, he was the leader. He should have known better. He was the man, the leader. God will be the judge. What now?

V 6a     3. More bad decisions- “She’s your maid.” Do what you want. If you don’t want the child, get rid of her.” He washes his hands of the whole deal.

V 6b    4. Failure to take responsibility and abuse of power- out of sight, out of mind. Sarai abuses Hagar and she runs away. Illus. of Adam and Eve. Adam listens to Eve and they blame-shift and we all pay a hefty price. Cf. Gen. Gen. 3:12-13; 17    

Trans. Abram gets some BAD COUNSEL and listens. In this case, bad counsel leads to…

ii. bad consequences vs. 7-16

Illus. of someone once said, “When you buy something for a song, you may have to face the music later on.” Abram had no idea what music would have to be faced because of this decision. This is a great account because even in the midst of this sin, we see God’s grace. 

a. God comes to us in our despair

V 7      1. This is the first place the Angel of the Lord is seen. He is distinct from God. Many believe that this is a theophany or preincarnate Christ.

V 8a     2. He knows her name, yet He asks her two questions.

V 8b    3. She is honest. She has no plan. She just wants to get away. Illus. of when we are desperate and have no plan, God does.

V 9      4. He tells her to return to the source of her troubles. And this is the tough part, submit. To submit to someone that has mistreated us is very difficult. But, who really is she submitting to here. She is submitting to God. It is impossible to submit to people in the right way if we cannot submit to God. If she can do this, God has a word of encouragement.

V 10    5. This sounds like the promise to Abram. But, these were to be a different people. Hagar was to be delivered, but there would be…

b. global consequences

V 11    1. “Ishmael” means “God hears.” God heard Hagar, but this child was to send a message to Abram and Sarai as well. If Sarai had called out to God rather than turning to human means, God would have answered in His time. Descendants had been promised. Illus of Hannah in 1 Samuel.

V 12    2. The Ishmaelites are the ancestors of the Arabs, who Sarai’s natural descendants still battle today. They were to be a hostile people living in the Arabian desert. Cf. Gen. 25:18 They would battle Isaac’s descendants from the beginning. Joseph was carried into Egypt by Ishmaelites. Cf. Gen. 37:28 Even though they are brethren with the Israelites, they are at enmity with them. Illus. of every terrorist act today replays this battle. The war on terror will not be settled with tanks and armies. It will only be settled by the Second Coming of Jesus.

V 13-14  3. What a great lesson! God sees and knows all. He cared for Hagar and she responded in faith and obedience.  

V 15    4. Abram evidently listened to Hagar when she came back. What a lesson this must have been for both he and Sarai. They never thought that they would see her again and she shows up having met with God and the child shall be named “God hears.” He knows what’s going on!

V 16    5. Abram would still have to wait another 15 years for the son of promise. Both he and Sarai would have to exercise the faith they had failed to exercise before.


Abram gets some BAD COUNSEL and Abram and the world will suffer the BAD CONSEQUENCES. But, through this all, God’s grace is still seen. It is the one “Guiding Light” in Abram’s “As The World Turns.” What can we learn from this, other than the war on terror has no human solutions?

1.      God’s grace extends to the worst of sinners. GOSPEL

2.      God’s people need to trust His Word and wait on Him. Be patient. We serve a God who sees and hears all.

3.      We are to live by faith, not use human efforts alone. Human effort is to aid faith, not precede it.

Illus. of Cindi and I used to watch “All My Children.”

It has been much more advantageous to spend our time in God’s Word. It’s more exciting and it’s not fantasy. It’s real. Sin is real, but so is God’s grace. Abram wasn’t perfect and neither are we, but God’s grace is.  


                                                  liberty bible church          7/1/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“As the world turns with abram”

Genesis 16:1-16


Soap operas have been popular for years in this country. But, they are not real. Our passage tonight is true. In this passage, we see that trying to fulfill God’s promises on our own will create problems, which consequences are hard to imagine.   

 i. bad                                                                                      vs. 1-6

a. abram hears a bad idea

b. abram _____________________________________ to the bad idea

c. covering sin results in…






                 Cf. Gen. Gen. 3:12-13; 17   

ii. bad _____________________________________________________________________vs. 7-16

a. God _____________________________ ___________ __________ in our despair

b. _________________________________________ consequences

            Cf. Gen. 25:18; 37:28


What can we learn from this?






Related Media
Related Sermons