Summary: 1. Not trusting God multiplies our troubles (1-6). 2. The Lord seeks us when we stray (6-7). 3. helps us put first things first (7-9). 4. wants to hear about your hurts (10-11). 5. wants to see the fruit of our faith (13-16).

Old Testament Encounters with Christ

Part 7: The Runaway Who Ran into God

Genesis 16:1-16

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 4, 2012

*Have you ever felt like running away? -- Oh yeah. Some of us may have felt like it today!

*I still remember running away in the first grade. I have no idea what it was about. Probably my mom said “no” when I wanted something I really didn’t need. So I got mad, pitched a little fit and said I was running away. I went up to my room, packed a little bag and headed out the door.

*About the bottom of the driveway, I started looking back. No one was coming after me! -- I stayed down there as long as I could, at least 15 minutes. Then I sulked back up the hill to the kitchen.

*Sometimes we feel like running away, and that’s what Hagar did. But the good news is that Hagar ran right into the Lord. God had some important lessons for Hagar that day. And we can learn a lot from her story.

1. The first lesson is this: Not trusting the Lord multiplies our troubles.

*Now all families have troubles. As Tarzan told Jane, “It’s a jungle out there!” (1)

*All families go through problems. Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s other people’s fault. And many times the problems are just a mystery. All families go through problems, but here in Genesis 16, we see that not trusting the Lord multiplies our troubles. In vs. 1-6 we find big family trouble. And it all started when God’s people stopped waiting on the Lord.

*Over 10 years have gone by since God first promised to make Abram a great nation, but starting in vs. 1:

1. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.

2. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

3. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.

4. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.

5. Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! (In other words: “This is all your fault, Abram!” -- Have you ever heard that before?)

5. Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.’’

6. So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.’’ And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.

*What a mess. -- What a terrible family problem. But as old as this story is, it could almost have been written today. John Phillips explained: “Picture Abram in a business suit, Sarai in a stylish dress, and Hagar as their nice-looking maid, and the situation is as modern as today’s news.” (2)

*John Phillips wrote those words in 1980. But just last May, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger separated after 25 years of marriage. And the reason why was the L.A. Times revelation that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son more 14 years earlier with a maid in their household. (3)

*John Phillips said that the situation back in Genesis 16 was “highly explosive.” And “it took the course it did, because for all of their spirituality and godly convictions, Abram and Sarai were ordinary people with hopes and fears and desires just like those of anyone else. Abram wanted a son and heir more than anything in the world. Sarai was frustrated beyond words at her inability to give him one.

*Added to that witches’ brew were an attractive slave girl, a legal loophole, some worldly reasoning, and a carnal resolve. The result was an entanglement so snarled and so twisted that four thousand years have not unraveled it.” (2)

*Most of the problems in the Middle East today can be traced right back to the things that happened here in Genesis 16.

*Families have had problems since that first sin in the Garden of Eden. And this story reminds us that believers’ homes are not immune to trouble. Believers are sometimes the source of the trouble. And not trusting the Lord multiplies our troubles.

*John Phillips pointed out that this story was a sad reflection on Abram and Sarai’s home. Hagar, you see, “was brought up in the pagan superstitions of Egypt. Through circumstances unknown to us, she was brought into Abram’s household. What a great opportunity for Abram and Sarai to tell her about the true and living God.

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