Summary: Problems and provisions
INTRO: Long ago, in the days of sailing ships, a terrible storm arose and a ship was lost in a deserted area. Only one crewman survived, washed up on a small uninhabited island. The castaway’s prayer was to be rescued (deliverance from this lonely place). Each day he looked out over the ocean but to no avail. Eventually he built a crude hut and stored some things he recovered from the wreck. One day the sailor was returning from hunting for food when he saw a column of smoke. He ran to see that it was his hut on fire.
Devastated because he lost everything he didn’t know how he was going to survive. After spending a sleepless night he was walking down the beach and to his amazement he saw a ship in the harbor and a small boat coming ashore. After being rescued he asked the captain how he found him. He replied we saw your smoke signal yesterday. Do not despair when calamity strikes for God is always able to bring a blessing out of what seems to be a curse.
TEXT: Gen. 16:1-4 (READ)
I. The Problems
II. The Provisions
I. The Problems
A. Hagar’s problem - Lost respect for her authority.
1. Understand - servant, Egyptian maidservant, probably picked up by Abraham when in Egypt.
2. Given as wife - concubine, bond servant, someone who didn’t have all the authority of a wife but more than a servant.
3. Began to despise mistress - even after mistress had given her more status, Hagar despised her.
ex Welfare system, helping out the needy and sometimes they become ungrateful.
-America sees this same type of problem in Africa (Somalia).
Attitude of unthankfulness to the hand that provides, like Hagar turning on her master.
a. God will punish those that mess with God’s chosen. Gen. 12:3 - “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse.”
-Covenant was made to Abraham by God. That also applied to Sarah because she was part of the chosen. Like us we are a part of the chosen (God protects us).
4. Result: Punishment from Sarah, so abusive that she fled into the desert region, pregnant, emotions were stretched to the limit.
a. Gen. 21:9-10 Ishmael did: Ishmael mocks and makes fun of Isaac Just as mother had despised Sarah years before (Ishmael following in mother’s footsteps).
1. Result: Sent away into desert of Beersheba. Didn’t learn lesson that Hagar went through so many years before.
Saying: Smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from other’s mistakes.
B. Sarah’s Problem: Lack of faith and taking matters into her own hands.
1. Barren woman - probably the worst thing that could happen to a woman back then. (Worst nightmare) like AIDS.
a. Understood the promise - God had told Abraham that his descendants were going to be as numerous as the stars in the sky.
b. Too much time has passed - many years even decades have gone by without seeing God’s promise. There still were no children!
Like some of us today, God has promised us something, but we have lost hope because too much time has passed.
1. Sarah takes matters into her own hands - she is going to help God. God has not acted so she will help.
ex Not waiting on God’s timing, snow storm experience.
Q: How are we trying to attain God’s blessing through human efforts when we should be waiting on his timing.
2. Results: Taking matters into her own hands.
a. Conflict between servant Hagar and herself. (If She waited on the Lord, this problem would never have happened).
b. Conflict between Sarah and Abraham - blaming him for the problem when the idea was hers (Gen. 16:5 READ).
-Oldest problem in the world: blaming others.
c. Conflict between Isaac and Ishmael - still warring today: Jews and Arabs.
C. Abraham’s problem - not saying “no” because he wanted something so bad he just let it slide.
1. Polygamy - more than one wife, culturally and socially acceptable at that time.
a. The author disapproves the way the original language is written plus the example out of Adam and Eve.
-I believe Abraham knew better, but went along with it because he wanted a son so badly he just let it slide.
Q: Have you ever gone along with something because you wanted it so badly?
1. Compromise is a very dangerous thing. When you start down the path, it’s hard to know when to stop.
Russian parable: A hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear. When he was about to pull the trigger the bear spoke in a soft voice. “Isn’t it better to talk than to shoot? What do you want? Let us negotiate the matter. Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied, “1 want a fur coat.” “Good”, said the bear, “that is a negotiable question. I only want a full stomach, so let us negotiate a compromise.” They sat down to negotiate and after a time the bear walked away alone. The negotiations had been successful. The bear had a full stomach and the hunter had his fur coat.