Summary: This sermon encourages us not to give up in the face of failure. You can see it and/or hear it at our website at www.glenvillenewlife.com under Sermons--Pastor Rick
Don’t Give Up
Have you ever been in a situation in which things were going pretty good, and then you did something to screw things up. You find yourself in a jam and don’t know exactly what to do? Has there ever been a time in your life, in which you were sure that you could do something, intended to do it, started doing it, and then found it, it was more difficult than you thought it was going to be? One thing we all have in common is the ability to mess up a good situation, and the ability to think we’re stronger than we really are.
When we look at the word of God, we find that God is real in talking with us about real life situations and how we can screw up the good plans God has for our lives. When we do, we find ourselves wanting to just give up. But the good news of the gospel, is that even when we blow it, God has a plan for our lives. I’m amazed at how God wants to use people who recognize they do not deserve to be used. God just does not seem to give up on us, even though God knows the real deal about us.
When we hear of Abraham and Sarah, we think of these people who walked so close to God that they never made any mistakes. When Abraham was a young man in his seventies or early eighties, God had told him he was going to have a son. After about 10 or 15 years of trying to get pregnant when Abraham was in his eighties, and Sarah in her seventies, they thought they needed to try a new method. Sarah came up with the idea, that she must be at fault, so she told Abraham, I’m going to give you my servant Hagar so that you can have sex with her, she will get pregnant, and then we’ll raise the child as our own. This must be what God intended.
Now Hagar, was about to become the most important of all the women in this clan of people. She is about to be get special top notch treatment with everything going for her. Nothing is going to be spared on her. But the moment she finds out that she is pregnant, she starts hating on Sarah and putting her down. Not only this, when her son grows up, she passes this attitude on down to him. When Sarah does get pregnant at age 90 in the way God intended and her son is born, Hagar’s boy makes fun of his brother. He jokes in a very negative way about this old woman having a son. For Sarah, this is the last straw, and she demands that Abraham send them both away.
Hagar and her son Ishmael had it all, but because of their attitudes they lose it and find themselves in the desert. Their supplies have run out, and they are looking at death. Hagar could run through the scenes of her mind of how her actions had led her to this place. She knew they were going to die, and she was ready to give up. Even though they had blown it, God did not give up on them. When God looked down, he did not see two dying individuals. He saw two people who were going to become a great nation. God opened Hagar’s eyes to see a well of water right there in the middle of the desert.
There is someone here whose actions have led them to a very low point in their lives, and you are just about ready to give up. You would love to undo the past, but you know you can’t go back and change what happened. You could be having a hard time with someone close to you. It might even be your fault that you find yourself where you are.
But recognize that your past behavior has not cancelled God’s call on your life, if you would just get up and follow the word of the Lord. There is a well of water there in your desert. Just keep praying for the Lord to show you the well, and know that God has not forgotten you. I don’t know how long Hagar and Ishmael wandered in that desert before their supplies ran out, but their wanderings led them to the place where God could open her eyes to see the well. God knows how long your little supplies are going to last.
There are going to be times also in our lives, where our failure is not going to be intentional. We are going to really mean what we say. Our commitment is going to be genuine when we make it. One night, Jesus was in a somewhat somber and down cast mood. As a matter of fact, it was his last night of freedom on the earth before being arrested and voluntarily giving up his life on the cross. Jesus and the disciples had eaten the last supper together, and Jesus had told them that one of them would betray him. They all wanted to know who it was. Jesus would not tell them that it was Judas.