I remember as a child growing up one of the greatest experiences that I had with my father was when he would ask me that question. Do you want to go along with me somewhere. The most vivid memories I had was when he would invite me to go along with him as he worked as a truck driver in harvest, but a close second was when he would ask me to go along with him to go hunting. It was on these occassions that I would dress up in all the warm cloths, we got to leave real early and I knew that the rest of the day would be just me and my dad. Well, on one of the occassions that my father asked if I wanted to go along hunting I had a great idea. We were going to be hunting for geese so I thought, why not bring my own gun along and I could shoot my first goose. The only problem was that I was only about 6 years old and my only gun was a cap gun. Although I didn't know the ins and outs of hunting, I thought that if I had my own gun, it could be of great service to my father.
As I thought about that experience, it reminds me of how Abraham and company must have appeared to God. And it must seem like that is the way we treeat God. We head into situations and we are going to help out, but we must always remember that when we try to help God out, it's like taking a cap gun to hunt geese. The gun may look impresive, and we might think we're pretty smart, but when it comes down to it, the cap gun is useless in camparison to a real gun, and our power is useless in comparison to God's power.
That's what Abraham is doing here however. He is bringing his cap gun to God and saying let me help you out here. You would think that Abraham and Sarah would have learned already the power of God, but they have yet to understand in completeness what it's all about. So this morning we want to see Abraham, Sarah's, and Hagar's mistakes so that we can see in a greater way God's power.
MISTAKE #1: THEY THOUGHT THE PROBLEM WAS BIGGER THAN GOD (VV1-4)
The first mistake that they made was that they thought the problem was bigger than God. In other words they decided that it would be a good idea to try and help God out. He thought that the problem was bigger than what God could handle. Looking ahead to what God will say again to Genesis 18:4 listen to God's reassurance again.Genesis 18:14 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son." (NIV)Is anything to hard for God? Of course not, but how do we treat God like things are too big for Him. How often do we still do this? How often do we head into projects both personally and as a church without giving proper time to pray about it. It is so easy to use God as a last resort. Last Sunday in Sunday School, we talked about how often it's only when we come to the end of ourselves that we begin to seek God. And if he doesn't start opening doors of opportunity for us we take out the battering ram and bowl the door right over.
i) We can think of God's delay equated with God's weakness We don't know the timing of God. Sarah and Abraham were getting frustrated waiting so they said well if God isn't going to work then we might as well go to plan B. The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was noted for his poise and quiet manner. At times, however, even he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him pacing the floor like a caged lion. "What's the trouble, Dr. Brooks?" asked the friend. "The trouble is that I am in a hurry," said Brooks, "but God isn't." Haven't we often felt the same? Brooks was also quoted as saying "The hardest task in my life is to sit down and wait for God to catch up with me." Yet patience is part of God's strategy for maturing us as Christians. It's a lost skill we all need to cultivate. It's easy to become impatient with God and say why aren't you working the way that I want in my timing. I often think that other cultures who aren't as scheduled and precise enjoy freedoms that we in Western cultures get trapped with. IF you are waiting for God to act and you are wondering what's taking Him so long don't make the mistake that Abraham made and rush ahead of God and miss out on the blessings that he wants for you.