Summary: Isaac and Ishmael - 4000 years of war just because Abraham wanted to give God a helping hand!
Let’s give God a helping hand
Genesis 15:1-6; Gen. 16:1-15; Gen. 17:1-2 and 15-16; Gen. 18:1-2, 9-15 and Gen. 21:1-12
Let’s give God a helping hand.
In the first week of our Lenten addresses we looked at the Call of Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees with his father Terah and enter the Promised Land – and you recall that Terah stopped off at Haran and never made it
Last week we saw how Abraham was in the Promised Land and managed to get hijacked from the Promised Land to Egypt.
Indeed, it is probable that the slave girl Hagar was probably picked up in Egypt by Abraham.
This week I want to look at Genesis 15:1-6 and 16:1-9 and 16 and 17:1-8 and 15-16 and 21:1-12
What happens when you try to give God a helping hand.
Impatience often brings us into trouble with the Lord.
God can keep his promises without our help.
3.1. The promise - Gen. 15:1-6
The promise of God was that Abraham will have an heir.
God made a promise to Abraham and Abraham believed God.
The trouble was that God never told Abraham of his timetable. We have no record of Abraham asking either.
Often we only listen to half of what God tells us to do. It is not that we PURPOSELY go out of our way to be disobedient.
It is that we often do not THINK about our Christian Life
3.2. Weak faith leads to human action Gen. 16. 17
Sarah and Abraham have been in the Promised Land 10 years and still no baby.
So they start to WORRY.
There is no record of them asking the Lord what to do. God has said it. True, but I think I better giver Him a helping hand.
So we see a scheme born out of IMPATIENCE.
We see the human plan to fulfil a divine promise.
This is true of us today. We live in the fast lane.
a) Fast Cars.
b) Fast Foods McDonalds, instant coffee and chocolate
c) Fast Living heavy drinking and partying
d) Fast Forward Button on the Hi Fi.
Perhaps the only "fast" we don’t practise is Fasting and Prayer.
Again Abraham did not set out to disobey God. He just did not ask the Lord for His Guidance.
So Abraham and Sarah thought out what seemed a reasonable course of action. There is no record of them having prayed through the plan.
Story: I know I get into the worst problems when I start doing things that I have not prayed about.
3.3 God gives more details of how He will fulfil the Promise Gen. 18. 10
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre and when Abraham looked up he saw three men standing with him (Gen 18;1-2)
They talk awhile and then one of the men says:
10 I shall duly return to you in due season and your wife Sarah will have a son.
Thirteen years have passed from the birth of Ishmael. Abraham has been walking by faith.
He has stumbled and made some bad mistakes, for example in Egypt and in the question of Hagar.
And yet the Lord is still prepared to speak to Abraham and strengthens Abraham’s faith.
You see ABRAHAM’S HEART was right.
Many Christian commentators believe that this is a pre-incarnational appearance of the Lord Jesus.
That is to say an appearance of the Son of God on the world stage before he was born in a stable in Bethlehem
One of the reasons for the visit is to establish Sarah’s faith. (The other reason was to announce the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah a subject that I will not speak on this evening).
Abraham is 99 years old and Sarah 90. What is an impossibility to man is a possibility to God, if we will believe Him.
I wonder if Sarah’s faith was on the way out and she was starting to become disillusioned.
How often we get like that when we cannot see the Lord’s will being fulfilled before our eyes.
Look at God’s love for Sarah. Many years earlier she had lost her faith that she would be the mother of nations.
She needed a personal revelation from God to restore her faith.
There is no substitute for hearing from the LORD FIRST HAND.
There are no "second hand faith" shops in heaven.
3.4 God’s fulfilment of the Promise - The Birth of Isaac.. Gen. 21: 17
At last the long awaited son is born. 25 years have passed since Abraham and Sarah have entered Canaan. God waited a long time so that they realised that this was a divine intervention of God to fulfil his promise.
Perhaps they would have thought little of it if they had had children at the usual child bearing age.