1. Welcome our listening friends.
2. We are delighted that you tuned in to listen to the rest of this program on the life of Abraham.
3. In our last broadcast in Genesis chapter 15,
4. we left Abraham on an emotional and spiritual peak.
5. God passed between the pieces of the sacrifice to confirm His covenant.
6. Now you would think that Abraham would spend the rest of his life continually trusting and waiting for the Lord.
7. But instead… in a moment of impatience he did an about-face…
8. and stumbled head-long into the biggest mess he had ever made in his life.
9. You may remember I told you in the last few broadcasts that testing always nips at the heals of blessings.
10. For if Genesis chapter15 is called the “Chapter of Faith”…
11. then Genesis chapter 16 is a “Chapter of Defeat”.
12. If in Genesis 15 Abraham walked by faith…
13. in Genesis 16 he walked by sight.
14. If in Genesis 15 Abraham listened only to God…
15. in Genesis 16 he did what Adam did and listened to his wife.
16. My listening friends, don’t misunderstand me here.
17. Wives are wonderful counselors
18. but on this occasion Sarah wrongly misled Abraham…
19. and he acquiesced and followed her to sin.
20. That does not mean that Abraham was perfect.
21. I want to remind you that it was Abraham who asked Sarah to lie for him when they went to Egypt.
22. Far from putting the blame on Sarah… it was Abraham who should have known better.
23. Do you remember from our last broadcast… when Abraham reminded the Lord of planning his life according to the law of the land.
24. Do you remember what God said?
25. In effect, God said “Abraham, you can not do this.”
26. Let’s read verse 4 of chapter 15 once again
27. “Then the word of the LORD came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’”
28. Sarah had two problems with this.
29. Number 1.
30. She was thoroughly frustrated because she was unable to become pregnant.
31. Some of you will understand Sarah's heartache.
33. it did not seem that at her age she would be able to have her own baby.
34. So she did what was customary in those days for a barren woman who could not have a child of her own.
35. She gave her maid to her husband so that the maid could bear a child by the husband.
36. This is symbolically at least… as if the baby was born of the wife.
37. So in verse 2 of chapter 16 Sarah tells Abraham… God has prevented me from having a baby.
38. Well if she is going to blame someone… it might as well be God… right?
39. So, she believed that God closed her womb…
40. but she could not believe that He could open her womb.
41. How many of us blame God when things go wrong?…
42. and we cannot believe that God can bring good out of these wrong things.
43. But that is wrong thinking.
44. Sarah's action was the epitome of self-sacrifice…
45. but sometimes we do the wrong thing with good motives.
46. And that does not glorify God!
47. Sarah was trying to circumvent… and short-circuit God’s plan…
48. so she mislead Abraham away from the path of obedience… and trusting in God's promises on God's schedule.
49. She not only wronged Abraham… she wronged Hagar… and she wronged herself…
50. by trying to rob herself from being the Matriarch of a great nation.
51. My listening friends, listen carefully
52. Christians often make the same double-edge mistake that Sarah made.
53. Namely… presuming on God's grace on the one hand…
54. and trying to help God out on the other.
55. What about Abraham?
56. Well… he went right on with the program.
57. He did not pray.
58. He did not go to Bethel to check with God.
59. It was the natural thing to do…
60. and when something is natural it is not supernatural.
61. But what an awesome God we have!
62. He is famous for picking up the tattered threads of our disobedience and weaves them into something beautiful.
63. He is famous for pasting together the fragments of fractured lives into a beautiful picture.
64. He specializes in taking the throw-away material and produces a beautiful quilt out of them.
65. So Abraham and Sarah finally found out a way to help God perform His miracle.
66. Listening friends, I want you to listen very carefully.
67. When God intervenes He doesn't need any help.
68. In fact, the opposite is true
69. When we step out of God's plan, we try to do it ourselves, and we can be sure that strife will follow.
70. When the flesh and the old nature intrude in the work of the church of God . . . division is inevitable.
71. Whenever we let our desire to get out of control… we leave behind a trail of broken pieces and broken lives.
72. So in this case… little Ishmael came on the scene
73. born to an unhappy Sarah,
74. born into every tension and resentment,
75. no wonder he was called a “wild donkey of a man.”
76. My listening friends, listen again.
77. Sarah seems to have forgotten that she is the one who instigated this whole problem.
78. Imagine Abraham’s confusion.
79. He knew that this was Sarah’s idea.
80. And yet, Sarah blamed it on Abraham.
81. Yes, refusing to accept responsibility for our actions is not a modern day phenomenon.
82. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed Satan.
83. And here, Sarah sought to place the blame on Abraham.
84. Poor old Abraham… he was living in a house with two feuding women.
85. Men . . . I want you to learn from Abraham… learn how you handle this situation.
86. Abraham understood the first lesson of survival which is called… surrender.
87. He knew he couldn't go to work and get away from home.
88. Most of us prefer to run away from our problems…
89. rather than trying to deal with problems
90. But what they often don't realize is this…
91. That they are carrying their problems right with them.
92. But the Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar
93. And the angel told her the two words that would give most of us pause and Hagar tried to escape from the house situation.
94. But then the Angel of the Lord came to her and told her what she did not want to hear.
95. He said, “return and submit.”
96. Most of us pray that God would change our circumstances.
97. Most often when I pray that kind of prayer… I hear the Lord to be saying the following:
98. “I want to change you to suit your circumstances.”
99. And so Hagar comes back to put up with Sarah for 13 more years!
100. At this point of time at the end of Chapter 16 of Genesis Abraham was 86 years old.
101. We are going to stop our study here.
102. In our next broadcast, I want to tell you what Abraham did between the ages of 86 and 99.
103. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessings.