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Sunday, July 23, 2006 – AM
By Pastor Jim May
The powder keg of the Middle East has a lit fuse this morning. For the past several days we have watched the news reports of Israel’s attacks, or invasion, of the Lebanese border towns where Hezbollah guerillas have established camps and launching sites for their harassment of the Jews across the border. The United States and Britain have thrown their support behind Israel while the European Union has condemned the attacks and demanded a cease-fire.
The age-old struggle of the sons of Abraham, Ishmael, who was the son of Hagar, a bondwoman, and Isaac, the son of promise born to Sarah, continues on. The real reason for the constant bickering, fighting and killing between the Arabs and the Jews can be traced all the way back, through thousands of years of history, to the day that Abraham decided to take matters into his own hands and not trust God to fulfill His promise that Abraham would be the father of a great nation. At the age of 86 Abraham and Sarah gave up. She gave Abraham permission to have a child, to be his heir, with her servant.
For 13 years, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael all lived together in peace. But then the picture changed.
Genesis 17:15-21, "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year."
Sarai – means “lady, or princess”
Sarah – means “lady, or princess of the multitudes”
What Abraham and Sarah thought was impossible, came to pass as God is a God who loves to perform the impossible.
Genesis 21:5, "And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him." Sarah was 90 years old, when she gave birth to her only son, Isaac. God’s promise to Abraham was beginning to come to pass.
If only Abraham, that great man of faith, had just had enough faith to believe God and not try to force God’s Word to come true by trying to work it out his own way. If only Abraham had not listened to Sarah and had a son by Hagar, we would not be facing the end of days as we are right now.
But all of these things worked together according to God’s plan from the beginning. God was not taken by surprise at the actions of Abraham and Sarah. His plans were not changed by Hagar giving birth to Ishmael and putting a stumbling block into His plan of establishing the true of son of Abraham and Sarah to become a great nation; the nation of Israel. God knew all of these events would take place
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