Last Call: God's Is Able to Keep His Promises -Bob Caldwellp

God’s Is Able to Keep His Promises

 16:4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.

Through no fault of her own, Hagar had been thrown into great turmoil and suffering. Driven by the jealousy of Sarai, Hagar was sent out of Abram’s household with nothing and left at death’s doorstep. The cause of all this trouble was rooted in the poisonous results of unbelief. Unbelief that had given up on the promise of God given to Abram years ago.

Ten years had passed since God had promised Abram that he and Sarai would have a son. A son who was to eventually lead to the development of a great nation. But Sarai was still barren, and no son was given. Therefore, Sarai took advantage of an ancient custom that allowed wives who were barren to bear a child by proxy. They would offer a female servant to their husband to bear a child on behalf of the barren wife. This is something Abram is fully supportive of.

What they seek to do has been repeated countless times. They seek to “help God” in bringing about His plan and promises. The efforts of Sarai and Abram turn into a complete failure, which is always the case when we “help” God. Sarai ends up becoming obsessed with jealousy, Abram compromises his role as a leader of his family, and Hagar is thrown into a life-threatening tribulation when she is a threat to Sarai’s place in Abram’s eyes. Furthermore, the son produced by “helping God” is prophesied to be the one who will produce the Arab race, whose “hand will be against every man” (v. 12). A prophecy still being fulfilled in our own time.

In God’s mercy, He responds to the injustice Hagar suffered when she cried for help after being cast out with nothing and near death. She is given hope and her own promise of a future if she returns back to Abram’s home and in humility submits to Sarai in the home.

The lesson is obvious! Don’t help God to fulfill His own promise with acts of unbelief. Trust God to be faithful to bring about His promises. Discover the faithfulness of God and His unlimited sovereign power to fulfill His word in His own time and in His own ordained way.

Genesis 16:1-16

 Hagar and Ishmael

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.

5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.”

6 So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.

7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

Sarai and Abram Try to Fulfill God’s Promise

v. 1 borne him no children – After 10 years (v. 3) in the promised land without the promised child, Sarai becomes impatient with God and seeks to help God fulfill His promise by carnal means.

Hagar – This Egyptian slave had most likely become a part of Abram’s household during His sojourn in Egypt.

v. 2 go into my maid – This method of producing a child by proxy, through one’s servant was an accepted practice in ancient times. An example of this is found in the code of Hammurabu, written in stone from this era which gave a legislative degree that sanctioned this approach to barrenness.

Abram heeded – Rather than seek the voice and guidance of God, Abram follows the counsel of his wife.

v. 4 despised in her eyes – The results of trying to help God rather than let Him work in His own timing and His own way are now coming back to hurt Abram and Sarai.

v. 5 wrong be upon you – Sarai now blames her husband for the mess that is unfolding. Abram seems to have sought to please his wife by obeying her advice, but now this decision is seen as his fault not hers. The best servant leadership of a person is that which does not get its cues from those he or she seeks to serve, but God who seeks to do what is ultimately best for those we serve on His behalf.

v. 6 do to her – Abram continues to relinquish responsibility.

dealt harshly – Sarai vents her anger against the results of a carnal approach to her problem. How often it is that we complain and lash out at the result of our own bad choices and behavior.

v. 7 way of Shur – Hagar is doubtless fleeing to Egypt on the trade route that ran from Hebron to BeersHeba. Shur was on this route present-day Jefar, located in the northwestern portion of the Arabian desert.

9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her:

"Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

v. 9 Angel of the Lord – This term is generally seen to be a reference to the pre-incarnate Christ as He appeared to Old Testament saints.

return – Hagar must return to a difficult situation. She is however given a promise from God that it will be worth it (v. 10-12).

v. 11 Ishmael – From his descendants came the Arab people who in many ways seem to be a fulfillment of verses 11-12.

v. 12 wild donkey – This denotes an independent, unyielding approach in relationship to others.

v. 13 God who sees – “El Roc”. This Egyptian woman is brought to a confidence in God as One who sees and cares about each one of us.

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