Scripture Read: Genesis 16 - 17
Title: The Problem of Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands
(H) Highlight verse:: "And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.." (Genesis 15:6)
(E) Explain: The main point to Abrams story is God's promise to him. We are told in the passage that Abram believed God... Belief wasn't usually the problem for Abram, it was usually the, how will it get done that posed the problem. He had great difficulty in letting God take control of fulfilling His promise. As both Sarai and Abram were getting old, they realized one of the key promises of God was that He would give them a child to receive the inheritance. So, they devised a plan to "help God" along in this process. Sarai gave her Egyptian servant Abram and she became pregnant. We are told that Hagar then despised Sarai. This can mean that she thought that Sarai had lost her rank as the blessed one in the relationship and that Sarai was now going to be demoted... Sarai's response was to send Hagar away from the home. God was with Hagar and her son Ishmael and He blessed them.
God, once again reminds Abram about his promises and changes his name to Abraham and his wife's name to Sarah. God instituted the practice of circumcision as a way to confirm His covenant.
(A) Application: The account of Abram, Sarai and Hagar is very much akin to a modern day soap opera. My take away from this passage is God's plans are perfect. He is able to bring to fruition his plans... Man's plans are messed up and often self-serving. There are times in my life where I believe God has promised something, but I get anxious as to how He is going to accomplish what He has promised and I meddle with God's plan. I need to trust that God knows what He is doing and He is more than capable of accomplishing and completing his promises.
(R) Respond: God, help me to stop meddling with your plans and to simply trust you and submit my anxiety and worries over to you.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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