Summary: This sermon tells what is necessary to have families that are pleasing to God.

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The young preacher was shocked to hear the well-known evangelist utter the words; “Yes, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life in the arms of another man’s wife.” Then, following a pause, the evangelist added, “That woman was my mother.” A few weeks later as the young pastor was speaking to a civic group, the phrase leaped into his mind. He exclaimed, “I have spent some of the happiest days of my life in the arms of another man’s wife.” Then after a long pause, the young man muttered meekly, “But for the life of me I can’t remember who she was.”

Mothers certainly have a great influence on a family, but so do fathers. Families are the crucible in which character is formed. The types of character we see in many children now who come from broken families enforces this conclusion.

Chuck Swindoll said of the family, “Whatever else may be said about the home, it is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the place where life’s bills come due, the single most influential force in our earthly existence.”

A family which has its priorities right has a much better chance of succeeding. We, as Christians, should take care to make sure we have the proper priorities in place for our families. This is especially true since in our time we are often so caught up in other pursuits. Some questions come to mind. What are your priorities in family life? Do you have spiritual priorities for your family? How does your faith relate to your family?

Today, we want to look at an episode in the life of Abraham and Sarah as well as an incident in Moses’ life. Abraham is known as the father of the faithful, yet he had some major problems in his family that we would do well to avoid.

Back in chapter 15, God appeared to Abram in a vision. In response to God’s word, Abram said to God, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since I don’t have a son, Eliezar of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir.”

God’s response to Abram was, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for your will have a son of your own to inherit everything I am giving you.”

Obviously God was not working quickly enough for Abram’s wife Sarai. Now maybe she did not know that God had given this word to her husband. Can you just hear her, “Abram, you know, this God thing just isn’t working. We need to help him along. You know the old saying, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’

Sarai made a suggestion that was very much in keeping with the custom of the times, but it was certainly not in God’s plan. She told Abram to take her servant Hagar and to have children by her. These children would in turn belong to Sarai. Abram did as his wife suggested and, Hagar bore him a son named Ishmael.

In the verses we read, we see that God appeared to Abraham again and told him about this son. This time Sarah heard about God’s promise for sure. She laughed in response to God’s promise because she was old and she was married to an old man too. They were both long past the age of being able to have children. But like Forrest Gump said when his friend challenged God to show up, “About that time God showed up.”


As faithful as Abraham was, he still obviously had some occasions in his life when he forgot that God would provide for him and his family. He was afraid that one of his servants would have to be his heir. Even though God appeared to him and promised him that this would not be the case, he still listened to the advice of his wife and married her servant and had a child for his wife through her. Sarai gave bad advice, but instead of questioning her suggestion, Abram went along with the bad plan.

God overruled in the situation even though he let Abram and Sarai go ahead with their plans. He gave Abram a son through Sarai’s servant Hagar, but he also gave Sarah a son by Abraham. God had promised Abram a son, and he proved to him that he would provide for him. God promised to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the heaven and the sands on the seashore. He would do this through a blood son by his wife Sarah.

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