Summary: This is the second message in the series "Auto-correcting God".
In the first message of this series, looked at Adam and Eve’s rebellion, from the perspective of how it changed their relationship, and ours, from being “dumb phones,” being dependent on God to becoming “smart phones” and acting independently of God.
Smart phones have a function that dumb phones do not – auto-correction, which is a text replacement or replace-as-you-type function. Its principle purpose is to correct common spelling errors and to say time.
When I had a dumb phone, my messages were always sent as written – typos and all. My smart phone, however, replaces my words with words that it believes I meant to use. The “receiver” correcting the “source”. The clay correcting The Potter. Do you see the similarities “clay”?
Let me reiterate a point from the first message. It’s crucial. Adam’s descendants are born smart phones with the auto-correct function preset and turned on. We are born ready to argue with and disagree with God and the Bible. This is who we are before we are born again.
Today we’re going take a somewhat detailed look at two examples from the Old Testament of how the clay auto-corrected the Potter.
Scripture is clear in identifying why the clay acts this way: we hear The Potter’s words but we don’t agree with His Words and we decide to follow our own words instead. In other words, the clay tells The Potter I know better than you.
Let’s look at a couple examples from the Old Testament.
The first is Abraham and Sarah.
Let’s begin by looking at the word the Potter, the Lord, gave to the clay, Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis 15, the Lord appears to Abram in a vision to reaffirm their relationship and His protection. “...Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (verse 1b). This vision occurs about 10 years after Genesis 12 when the Lord tells Abram to leave his family in Haran. We’re going to read verses one and two.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I well show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation (the promise of a son), and I will bless thee, and make thy name great (through the son’s birth); and thou shalt be a blessing.”
Ten years later Sarai is still childless. When Abram asks the Lord for a son, I’m sure he didn’t ask because he had forgotten what the Lord had promised when he left Haran.
Abram was no different than we are today.
We see and claim the promises in God’s Word and expect them to manifest shortly or soon or within a reasonable amount of time or sometime in the very near future, with the emphasis being on very. Okay, let’s just be honest: we want the promises now but we don’t say that because we don’t want to appear impatient. Can I get a witness?
Abram has another reason for wanting, and in a gentle way, reminding God why he desires a son. Without a son, when he dies everything he owns goes to his steward, Eliezer of Damascus. We see this in Genesis 12, verse two. Now jump down to verse four.
“And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him (Abram), saying, This (Eliezer) shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.”
Although scripture doesn’t tell us, I’d be stunned if Abram doesn’t immediately share this vision with Sarai. In their culture, being barren – without a male heir – was a sign that the Lord has withheld His favor.
Now, let’s see how the clay auto-corrects The Potter.
When we get to Genesis 15, Abram is about 85 years old and Sarai is about 75 and still barren. So she tells Abram to marry Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid, so that she can have a child through her. In that culture, Sarai would get on her knees between Hagar’s knees to catch the baby as he comes out of her womb. The child would then be considered her child.
In the latter part of verse two and the first part of verse four we read “...And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. ... And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived.”
Notice the phrase “hearkened to the voice.” We read it for the first time in Genesis chapter three, verse 17 when the Lord confronts Adam after he eats of the forbidden tree. When we listen to and follow another “voice” we will auto-correct God.
Why didn’t Abram say ‘no’ to Sarai and remind her (and himself) of the Lord’s promise? It had to be more than being intimate with a younger wife. I believe the answer is found in Romans 4:21. Let’s turn there.