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Summary: The story of Hagar and Sarah illustrutes the shortcomings trying to do God’s Work man’s way.

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Introduction

Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf: "First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. "Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night.

So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue, nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his OWN warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more--until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!"

Though it may not sound appealing to us, there is nothing essentially wrong with the wolf’s appetite for blood. It was created a carnivore, crafted with that craving. The wolf is also free, though tricked it is not forced to lick the knife. But at some point the craving takes over until the wolf is no longer free, He has become slave to a desire that God created in him. Here’s the question that the story of the wolf raises for you and I today:

Interrogative: How can God given desire cause ungodly trouble?

Transition: The answer is when we try to accomplish God’s Purpose with a Human Plan. The story in our text today about Hagar and Sarah is about exactly that kind of trouble. Paul uses it to illustrate the shortcomings and consequences of our trying to short circuit God’s promises. First let’s look at two handicaps or shortcomings of trying to do God’s work in Man’s way.

I. [Two Shortcomings]

The first problem with trying to accomplish God’s Purpose with a Human plan is that we tend to use a...

1. Human Schedule

Genesis 16:1-4 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

Abraham understood that God’s plan was to make bless the world through his offspring. That was a good plan as far as Abraham was concerned. He wanted a family, he wanted a heritage. There was just one problem as far as Abraham was concerned, God didn’t seem to be keeping his end of the deal. Abraham decided that his wife’s suggestion was a good one primarily, I think, because God’s timing didn’t match up with Abraham’s timing.

I’m sure that none of you have ever felt that God was taking a little too long to accomplish the things you wanted in life.

For example, in most of our lives (but certainly not all of our lives) God has a plan that includes marriage and ultimate romantic and sexual fulfillment. It’s easy to get impatient and try to short-circuit the path to pleasure. It’s easy to allow that God-given desire to give way to something ungodly. What we really desire is what God wants most for us, but when we get impatient with God’s schedule we end up with something worthless and shameful.

The same can be said for any of the other human paths to pleasure, we get impatient with God’s timing and try to fulfill our God given desires with drugs and alcohol and inappropriate relationships, and a hundred other things in order to fulfill our god given desires and needs for happiness, significance and intimacy but when we try to end run God’s schedule we get what looks appealing until you get into it.

ILLUSTRATION: Like chicken fried by an impatient cook in a pan too hot, what looks crispy and delicious is raw and bleeding when we bite into it.

So a Human schedule is the first shortcoming of trying to accomplish a godly purpose with a human plan. The second shortcoming is..

2. Human Strength

v. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

When Abraham tried to take the short road to God’s plan he did so in his own power. He knew that there wasn’t anything he could do to make Sarah conceive and so he settled for what he could accomplish, he got the slave girl pregnant, so it worked, Abraham became a dad. Funny though, it wasn’t very satisfying, why? Because it didn’t fulfill the longing God had put in his heart. He knew it wasn’t God’s plan, it was man’s attempt to manufacture something that looked like God’s plan, It wasn’t done in God’s power but in man’s weakness.

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Talk about it...

Clarence Clough

commented on Oct 5, 2008

Great Sermon--straight to the point, good illustrations,challenging conclusion!!

Stevie Tierce

commented on Jan 30, 2011

very helpful, good ill. thanks

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