Abraham – Holding Fast To The Will Of God
Lesson 7: "A Pure Motive But Wrong Method" Genesis 15:1-16:16
"Abram agreed to what Sarai said…" Genesis 16:2
A serious problem
- From a human perspective, Abram faced a big problem. His encounter with God only emphasized the problem. It's interesting what Abram asks about first (15:8).
- It was a reasonable question, and God responded by using a ceremony common to the time. Either party who violated the contract would be subject to the animals' fate: death.
A wrong method
- It has been about 10 years since Abram first came to Canaan, longer than that since God first called Abram in Ur. So who came up with a suggestion? Why?
- True, archaeologists tell us that surrogate mothers were a custom of day. Also, Sarai used religious reasoning (16:1-2).
- At this point, Abram makes four major mistakes.
- A wrong premise - Abram assumed Sarai's reasoning was valid
- Selfish motives - were Abram and Sarai following Phil. 2:3,4?
- Prayerlessness - no indication that they consulted God first (recall 14:22,23)
- Regression - Abram followed the old ways; right motive, wrong method
- This mistake would have a lasting impact that continues to this day. 3 things happened immediately, though.
- Pride and arrogance - Hagar grew proud and arrogant (16:4) See Prov. 30:21-23
- Bitterness - Sarai lashes out at Abram (16:5) Is that human nature? We take a step without God's blessing, and instead of blaming ourselves, we attack each other
- Family tension - With almost unbearable tension in his household, Abram doesn't even take responsibility for his actions (16:6)
- In spite of Abram and Sarai's actions, God showed mercy to Hagar.
- However, there were still consequences.
- Stopping to first ask 'What does God want me to do?' can be scary, because God might actually tell us!
#1) We must guard against our human tendency to take matters into our own hands
#2) We must be cautious about making quick decisions and snap judgements without thinking
#3) We must remember that even those closest to us can lead us astray
#4) We must be alert to subtle influences from our former lifestyle
#5) We must always select methods that are in harmony with the principles of Scripture
For next week, read Genesis 17:1 - 27