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Faith of Abraham Part 6

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Faith of Abraham - Part 6

Genesis 16:1-16

On Sunday evenings we have been considering one of the major characters of the Bible, Abraham.

We have been looking at his life and his faith.

Hebrews 11:8 tells us that Abraham followed the Lord by faith.

In our study we have looked at the development of his faith since God called him to be the father of a great nation.

We have seen ups and downs in his life along with victories and defeats.

Remember that we said that everything he brought back from Egypt would later create problems for him.

Tonight we are introduced to Hagar, the Egyptian handmaid, and we will see the problems develop concerning her. In this chapter we see vividly how dangerous it is to trust in our own wisdom rather than believe God.

I. Waiting on God. v1

(Genesis 16:1) Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

A. God's timetable is His and His alone.

1. Abraham and Sarah had been waiting for ten years for the promised son.

2. That is a long time to wait, and they, like us, did not like to wait.

3. Pepsi Cola used to have a slogan that said, "We are the now generation" and that is certainly the case.

4. Why would God make them wait so long?

(Hebrews 11:12) Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

5. God was waiting until they were "as good as dead" that way He would receive all the glory.

B. We are to walk by faith.

"For we walk by faith, not sight." 2Co. 5:7

1. Walking by faith includes a willingness to wait on the Lord.

2. Walking by faith is being concerned only with the glory of God.

3. Walking by faith means acting on the authority of God's Word.

4. Walking by faith will result in joy and peace in our life.

C. While waiting on God, Abraham and Sarah got sidetracked from their walk of faith.

II. Scheming around God. v2-4

A. Sarah's Plan.

1. She knew that she was incapable of bearing a child, but Abraham could still father one.

2. She began to second-guess God.

3. After all, He had said that Abraham would be the father, but did not specifically say that she would be the mother.

4. Her goal was not the glory of God, but only to have a child. v2a 5. Rather than believing God; she was blaming God.

B. Abraham's consent. v2b

1. Abraham is not without blame in their departure from the walk of faith.

2. It may have been Sarah's plan, but he agreed to it.

3. This is not the first time that a husband chose to listen to his wife rather than to God.

4. The problem wasn't so much that Sarah gave Hagar to be Abraham's wife, because polygamy was an accepted practice in that day, but the purpose behind the act was all wrong.

5. As a result, God did not recognize their marriage; she would never be referred to as Abraham's wife, only as Sarah's maid or bondwoman.

C. Note that they were unwilling to wait on God:

1. They both acted to please themselves rather than glorify God.

2. They didn't obey the Word of God, and certainly didn't bring peace and joy into their hearts or into their home!

III. Fighting with Each Other. v4-6

A. This is the natural result of following the wisdom of the world instead of God.

1. Jas. 4:1, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"

2. Of all fights, family fights are the most painful and the most difficult to settle.

3. It didn't take long for Sarah's plan to produce fruit: Hagar became pregnant and Sarah became bitter.

B. Failure to deal with problems properly always leads to greater problems.

1. What they should have done was to build an altar, confess their sins before God and seek forgiveness.

2. What they did was typical of those who walk in the flesh.

3. All three had their own way of dealing with the problem.

a. Sarah's solution: blame her husband and mistreat her servant. v5

b. Abraham's solution: to give in to his wife "whatever it takes to make you happy, dear".

c. Hagar's solution: to run away.

4. Getting sidetracked in their walk of faith led to actions that had tragic results.

5. The only answer for them was to go to God.

IV. Submitting to God. v7-16

A. Hagar had to submit to God. v7-14

1. The Angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness and encouraged her.

2. He told her to return to her proper place of service under Sarah.

3. He told her that although her son would not be the promised seed, but her seed would be blessed greatly.

4. Ishmael was to be his name and he would be the father of the Arab people.

5. Hagar trusted God to protect her and her son and returned to submit herself to Sarah.

B. Sarah had to submit to God.

1. We are not given the record of how she reacted when Hagar returned.

2. But Hagar no doubt related the account of how the angel of God came and spoke with her to reassure her of His care.

3. Sarah no longer mistreated her and accepted her back into their home as a servant.

C. Abraham had to submit to God. v15-16

1. He had played a passive part in all of this drama, but he too had to submit to God.

2. He calls his son 'Ishmael' according to the word of the Lord to Hagar.

3. Once again we see that God is in control and Abraham learns this lesson time after time in his walk with God.

(Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Abraham and Sarah had to learn to live with their mistakes.

That is true for all of us.

When we get sidetracked in our walk of faith, there are always consequences!

The simple lesson for us is this: Let God accomplish His will in His way and in His time.

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