June 7 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 21

Isaac Is Born

21 Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

Sarah Turns against Hagar

Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. 13 And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy die.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept. 17 God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.

20 God was with the lad, and he grew; and he lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Covenant with Abimelech

22 Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; 23 now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned.” 24 Abraham said, “I swear it.” 25 But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. 26 And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today.”

27 Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?” 30 He said, “You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Kicking Down the Door

Genesis 16

­­­Why is it so hard to wait? And why is it so easy to take matters into our own hands…to kick down the door?

Tens years and no sign of movement. The promise is confirmed to Abram, but what about Sarai? It’s easy to see how and why Sarai gets to the place where she feels like she needs to kick down the door, you know, help God out. Names are key. God sees, and He hears. It takes the faith experience of Hagar to remind the chosen couple of what they should have already known. And although they should have known better…so should we.

But how many times have we done the same thing. I shared the story of my work experience last week. My journey out to California has some of those same elements. I knew God had gifted me to teach. I had a desire to pastor a church. So I began to test a few doors. As time went on, I became more and more desperate and pushed harder. And each time I pushed, I became more frustrated and bitter. It wasn’t until I stopped pushing and went through the door He had opened that I found peace and eventually my way here doing what I love to do.

A good friend of mine asked a very perceptive question…how do I know when to wait and when to take action? In other words, when is waiting just laziness or taking action kicking down the door? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we know when we are taking matters into our hands, when we are rushing in. God sees and hears, but He also speaks…He guides. Unless He’s clearly directing, it’s best to wait. But when He’s clear, it’s time to move…to go.

Bottom line: when we kick the door down, when we try to help God out, we are in effect saying we know better than God. We are doing what’s right, the good, in our own eyes. And there are always ramifications. Anger. Frustration. Job loss. Broken relationships. Etc. Abram and Sarai’s decision has far reaching consequences…conflict in the Middle East, Muslim and Jew/Christian even today. And many times the negative effects are the result of the comparison game that inevitably gets played every time we do what’s right in our own eyes…I put myself in the place of God. Instead of trusting that God sees and hears, that He knows, I become the one who sees and hears others, judging and condemning them.

So, where do you see yourself in the story? Abram…failing to trust God and lead well. Sarai…failing to trust God and taking matters into your own hands, helping God out, kicking down the door. Or Hagar…realizing, maybe for the first time, that God does see and hear you, that He knows you and wants to rescue you. Whichever you are today, God sees and hears and knows and cares. If we have learned anything about Abram so far, we know that he will be building another altar shortly. The consequences remain, but restoration is available.

My prayer for us this week is that we realize God sees, hears, knows and cares about us, and may that give us the freedom to love others unashamedly and run after Him.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

April 26 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 16

Sarai and Hagar

16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.

Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” 10 Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord said to her further,

“Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. 12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)