Summary: This chapter of Abraham’s life serves as a teaching time for all Christians to see exactly how we should respond the problems (sin) in our life.
Abraham: Following In the Footsteps of Faith
TROUBLE WITH HAGAR
Intro: It is amazing the depths to which God’s own people can sink. Here is Abram, a man who is following God by faith. He has believed God enough to leave his homeland and his family behind. He has trusted God through battles and trials that would have made many men turn around in defeat and run home. Yet, for all his faith and his good deeds, Abram is still a human. He is still made of sinful flesh and there is still within him a pull towards the world and all its allurements.
We all know what this passage is about. Sarai and Abram try to help God give them a son by having Abram take Sarai’s maidservant Hagar as his wife. Of course, this was never God’s will for their lives, but, as with us, this did not stop them from rushing headlong into it anyway. Their decision brought with it far reaching consequences for them and for our world today. As we have time this morning, let’s spend a few minutes in this passage. I want to preach for a while on the thought Trouble with Hagar.
I. THE REASONS FOR THE TROUBLE 9 vv. 1-4a)
While all the reasons behind this fiasco are far too many to mention, there are three reasons that warrant mention this morning.
A. The Acceptance They Were Desiring
• In that society, it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless.
o In our day, many couples choose that lifestyle for themselves and that is okay.
o Others have that choice forced on them by physical reasons.
o In Abram’s day, regardless of the reasons behind it, if a couple had no children, they were mocked, looked down on and largely were not accepted in society.
• This was a society that also thought nothing of multiple marriages.
o If a man like Abram were to take Hagar as a concubine, or secondary wife, no one around them would think a thing of it.
o If that concubine were to bear a child, it would be considered to be the child of the first, or primary, wife.
o In this way, Sarai could get the child she desired and be accepted in the community.
• God’s children are often guilty of lowering their standards to those of the community around them in order to fit in better.
o It is better to please God and be rejected by men that it is to please men and be rejected by God!
o There MUST be a clear line of demarcation between the people of the Lord and the world around them.
• Many churches are falling into that trap this morning!
B. The Baggage They Were Dragging
• The Bible tells us that Hagar was an Egyptian.
o She is part of the possessions that Abram brought back with him from his sinful journey into Egypt.
o Had he never journey to that country, there would have been no Hagar to marry!
o He is still reaping the harvest he sowed in Egypt!
• You never go into sin and come out clean!
o There is always some reminder, some evidence that you were there!
o That is the Law of Sowing and Reaping.
C. The Promises They Were Doubting
• Gen. 15:1-6 tells the story of God’s great promise to Abram.
o When the promise was given, Abram reacted in faith, but as time has gone by, Abram has begun to doubt.
o He, along with Sarai, decides that God needs help in fulfilling His promise.
o After all, God only said that Abram would father a son; He didn’t say by whom he would father that son!
• It is my conviction that doubt towards the Word and promises of the Lord accounts for more of our troubles than anything other single thing.
o We can read what He has promised us, but when the promise isn’t fulfilled immediately, we begin to doubt and try to find way to make it happen ourselves.
o When will we ever learn that:
God always keeps His Word
God is a God of order and that He doesn’t run on our schedule,
• Jesus - Men needed a Savior for 4,000 years before He came, but God sent Him "in the fullness of time", Gal. 4:4.
God doesn’t need our help to accomplish His will.
II. THE REACTIONS TO THE TROUBLE (vv. 4b-9)
All three of the participants in this fiasco reacted differently to the situation. All three reacted differently, but it is worthy to note that all three reacted badly. By the way, when sin and its problems, or any problem from any source, for that matter, arrives in our lives, most of the people in this room will react to it in one of the three manners I am about to share with you.