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Summary: Abraham failed to contend for a supernatural offspring, opting to settle for less than God's best. Many Christians do likewise. God commands, "Get rid of the slave woman and her son!" i.e - "Stop accepting only natural solutions!"

DON’T SETTLE FOR ISHMAEL WHEN YOU CAN HAVE ISAAC

GENESIS 15:1-16:5

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

1. A college professor was giving a final exam to his students. He distributed the tests to the class and waited for his students to finish. When the students handed in their completed tests, one of the tests had a one-hundred-dollar bill attached with a note that explained, "One dollar for each point."

2. When the student got his exam back, he had a grade of 45 with $55 in change attached! Maybe it didn't work that well!

B. TEXT Genesis 16:1-5

1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 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. 3 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. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."

C. THESIS

1. Compromise has literally crippled the body of Christ. We see it everywhere. We compromise for various reasons: lack of trust, lack of patience, peer pressure.

2. But you need to understand today, that God has not called us to a life of compromise, but He has called us to be committed to whatever He has called us to do, and to stand on the promises that He has given to you.

3. In our text today, we have the ‘father of faith’ struggling with compromise. Compromise: is defined as “to make a dishonorable or shameful concession.”

4. God has called and destined him to be the ‘father of many nations,’ but yet he’s ready to settle for second best!

5. That sounds a little like us, God has promised us great blessings: powerful ministries, great exploits, but instead we settle for what we can SEE, what we can understand, what we can manipulate. We’ve got to stop settling for Ishmael, when God has already promised us Isaac!

I. STORY OF HAGAR & SARAH

A. THE MYSTERIES OF MARRIAGE

1. God had promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. But Sarah his wife was barren. Finally, in desperation, Sarah made the decision to give her maidservant, Hagar, to Abraham as a concubine, a surrogate (16:2).

2. This arrangement was a legal and moral arrangement in that day in order to produce an heir. In addition, this child would be counted as Sarah’s child.

3. Mark Twain was asked his views on polygamy. He stated that it was impossible to live in such a situation as being married to two women. When asked why, he quoted the Bible verse, Matthew 6:24, which says, "No man can serve two masters."

4. Everything seemed to go smoothly until Hagar became pregnant and began despising her mistress. That's when Sarah said to Abraham, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering” (16:5)!

5. Wait a minute; if it was her decision, why is he responsible? That's one of the mysteries of marriage! OTHER TIMES GUYS FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THEIR WIVES:

a. A man was reading his paper early one morning at the breakfast table. His wife came over to him and patted him on the shoulder. She looked at him, smiled, and said, “I bet you don’t know what today is, do you?” He looked at her and said, “Of course I know what day it is!” and went back to reading his paper.

b. He didn’t have a CLUE, but he was AFRAID that he would make his wife UPSET—she was really SENSITIVE about SPECIAL OCCASIONS. He thought to himself, “Is it her BIRTHDAY? That must be it.” So after he got to WORK he called the FLORIST and had a BOUQUET of WHITE ROSES sent to his wife.

c. Then as the day went on, he began WORRYING that FLOWERS may not be ENOUGH for such an IMPORTANT DAY. “What if it’s our ANNIVERSARY?” So he went to the JEWELRY STORE down from his OFFICE, picked out a beautiful TENNIS BRACELET and had it special DELIVERED to his WIFE.

d. As he started home from work he decided that maybe he should also stop and buy an expensive BOX of CHOCOLATES to bring to her—just in case. He pulls into the DRIVEWAY and his WIFE runs out to GREET him.

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