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May 17, 2022 1:00 am
We might be the victim of our own decisions or others. Abraham and Sarah’s maid, Hagar, bore a son—an heir. When she was pushed into the desert, God found her and comforted her. In this message, we look at God’s command and promise to Hagar. People do not have the last word. In our despair and our extremities, God sees and intervenes.
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The rain forest looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter of our service idea for Abraham to father here made fire Hagar runs away to escape the torment, only to find comfort from an unexpected place from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is wanting to win with Dr. Erwin looser who is teaching us make it across the finish line. Estimates are the story of Hagar and her son with Abraham, set in motion.
Conflict for thousands of years, but even so, there is an element of grace here Dave.
That's why this story in the Old Testament is so we see Abraham who is regarded as a man of faith. We also see his disobedience. We see brokenness, but in the midst of it all. We still see God's grace. And that's the important lesson and even as we will learn today. God is with us in our failures in our successes. Yes, but also in those times when we make wrong decisions, he redeems them according to his will and you're absolutely right. Historically, this event is incredibly important. I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the Crescent, and perhaps you've heard me say I wrote it because I know Abraham, for example, is seen as the progenitor of faith, particularly in Judaism, Christianity, but also when Islam ever asked yourself the question, why do Muslims regard Abraham as the father of their faith.
While these are the kinds of questions I answered.
But more than that. I discussed the role of Islam.
Historically, what we can learn and especially its application to the American church for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW offer.com remember the title of the book the cross in the shadow of the Crescent or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. Always remember God's grace is greater than our sin. I don't know who you are today visitor somebody was attended for a while.
Somebody's trying to find their way in life. Life is a harsh Jesus comes to us today and says where you come from and where do you think you're going to tell me and then very graciously. This angel gives a command and also some consolation. He gives a promise. Speaking to her, he says. First of all, the command return to your mistress and submit to her. You stay out here. You're going to die in this wilderness. There is no hope that you're going to survive. Life is tough back there. But if you go back and if you act differently. I'm sure that that's implied and you begin to submit yourself. In fact that's what the text says submit to Sarah. She's going to treat you better, it's time for you to knuckle under. You can't run from your problems. You can think to yourself that you can make it on your own and the way to get out of this is to escape. No, no, no, go back and live differently. Tell Sarah Sarah I'm going to be submissive to you.
The arguments are going to end. That's his first command. Notice what he also does is he gives this promise. He says behold you are pregnant and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael, Ishmael means the Lord hears the Lord hears is essentially the same meaning as the word Samuel the Lord hears God heard you in the midst of your misery. God heard you there in the desert and so you named this boy that you're going to have: Ishmael and then you'll notice also and I happen to skip it. Not intentionally but unintentionally. In verse 10, the angel of the Lord is said to her I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude while she's going to have the same promises Abraham.
God says Abraham you won't be able to number your seed God says to Hagar.
As a result of bearing Ishmael, you will not be able to number your seed in the promises superficially appear alike and at this point they are alike.
Of course they are going to have major differences but that's another story. So he says you're going to be blessed and then you'll notice it says that this child verse 12 will be a while donkey of a man his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsman, probably a reference to the nomads the difficult life that is going to be lived in the desert and also the restlessness of the Ishmaelites and the Ishmaelites will be in conflict there is going to be disagreement with their kinsman, particularly with her cousins with her brothers and so God says this is the kind of people that there will be and in the midst of the experience. You'll notice it says that Hagar verse 13 called the name of the Lord who spoke to her you are a God of seeing, for she said, truly, I have seen him who looks after me there for the well was called Birla hi Roy it lies between K dish and Bered. She says God you see me you heard me, that's Ishmael meaning of the word, you heard me, and now it's very clear that you are actually seeing me in my need and in my distress and this well later on in Jewish history was considered to be a sacred place because God had revealed himself there and a reminder of the fact that God does indeed see us now. When Hagar goes back she tells Abraham and Sarah about her experience and evidently they believe her because the text ends by saying that she gave birth to a son, and they named him Ishmael. She must've said God says that the name is to be Ishmael and Sarah and Abraham went along with that and that's what the baby was named when she gave birth to him. What an interesting story but now let's talk about decisions and lessons that we learn from the historical account.
First of all, impatience, leads to regrettable decisions. Impatience leads to regrettable decisions you think of the decision and what it means in this home and I can maybe put it this way when we don't wait on God before we make a decision when we don't wait on God. We will always wish that we had for perhaps I can even put it this way when we fail to trust. We can be trusted to fail. The decision seems rational. It seemed reasonable, it was keeping with culture and culture was Dick hating what they would do and it was consistent with what they thought God might have done, but it did not represent the kind of faith in the kind of waiting in the kind of seeking that would've given God an opportunity to direct them differently.
Now think about the consequences of this decision. We talked about the immediate consequences conflict within the home and the conflict doesn't end as we shall see in the next message but then think also of the long-term historical consequences.
Ishmael would be born. He would leave the land and actually a wife would be given to him from Egypt Bible says in chapter 21 of Genesis, so a wife would be given to him from Egypt. Think of it this way. Isaac is going to be born. There is Isaac, and Jacob and Jacob is going to have a son whose name is Joseph. Joseph is going to be in a well and his brothers are going to drag him out of the well and he is going to be sold to Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt. So the whole conflict here is being set up. Furthermore, the Arabs today largely Muslim.
They believe that it is actually Ishmael should inherit the promises. The argument is this that Ishmael is the firstborn so the promise to the land of promise to the descendents is not rightfully that of Isaac, but rather it is to Ishmael and to his descendents, and that explains why there will not be any peace in the Middle East, ever, until Jesus Christ returns because you have two conflicting groups of people, each of whom believe that God gave them the land. Each of them claiming Abraham as their father. Each of them claiming descendents that are like the sands of the sea, innumerable and each of them, insisting that the city of Jerusalem and all of the territory belongs to them in the next message I'm going to discuss this in more detail. Were going to see what the Koran has to say about it because actually it is not explicit on that point. But throughout the centuries. Muslim interpreters have always assumed and have argued that Ishmael is the inheritor of the promises. Now they are wrong. But the point to be made is that this strife that God predicted this this unsettling conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and their descendents is all set up right here in this text. I find it interesting that 10 chapter 12 God says to Abraham I'm going to give you the land that leave your kindred and come into this land and so he does and he goes into the land and it says there's a famine in the land and Abraham went down into Egypt teeth yield at that point and we preached a message on it, but while he was there. He evidently met Hagar and she became a part of his entourage. She had 318 men I mean Abraham was a great great man and so yet people probably many from Egypt.
You think that the time that Abraham went into Egypt and they met Hagar and then after that this incident did Abraham have any possible inkling of the fact that his decision is going to set up a series of dominoes that would still have impact today.
There is no way on God's green planet that he could of thought that this decision would have such great impact, and sometimes that's the way our decisions are to I made decisions that are very minor that on the surface appear to have no great consequence and then you look back and you realize I was going through a door. I opened the door which led to other doors which led to other doors that became part of a whole sequence and nobody can predict the long-term impact of the decision and when you are desperate you make disastrous decisions.
If you have decisions and some of them are more critical than others. If you're deciding whom you're going to marry or even where you are going to work or what are you going to do with your life.
You have to keep moving forward in the will of God.
But those plans must constantly be submitted to God because you might be making a decision that will have consequences that are negative because you failed to trust. So the first lesson is this impatience leads to regrettable, regrettable decisions and we could give many different examples of that. Secondly, God comes to us in our distress and in our misery. God comes to us in our distress and in our misery. Here's Hagar who basically is a single mother. She is in a home where she is not like by the wife and by the way God does not recognize her to be one of Abraham's wives. The angel says return back to your what is the word that is used here to your mistress so she's to go back as a servant into this home but here she is in desperation, we could argue whether or not it was a wise decision. Of course, we've argued that Abraham's decision was unwise, but here she is, she could say to her self.
I'm in the midst of a predicament that was not made by me. It was made for me by others and now I am part of a whole network of events here, over which I have no control when we make bad decisions. Does God say to us, well, you know, I think that's the end of it you didn't seek me you just go ahead and live with the consequences and misery will track you for the rest of your days. No God, and gives hope and gives mercy and if you want to find some of the most wonderful Christians that you will ever find wonderful believers. They are of Arabic descent. Now I have to clarify something that we don't have an opportunity to go into in detail here and that is this that is not true that you can always trace the lineages and the various genealogies with accuracy because there's been so much intermarrying but I will tell you without fear of contradiction that there are many descendents of Ishmael today who are believers in Jesus Christ, who are our brothers and sisters who are being blessed by God more blessed by God than the descendents of Isaac. If they reject God's Messiah, so let's keep in mind that in the midst of a bad decision. God always brings grace. God always brings strength God always does something with what ever it is that we give VM you're here today and you say pastor Luther I've made a very bad decision that I have to live with. Yes, you have to live with it. I want you to know that that God, since any takes those bad decisions that he make something of them and he says out of the consequences good is going to come in wrath. He remembers mercy, and in failure he gives grace. So if you're sitting here today living with a bad decision, visualize the angel of the Lord coming to you and saying I'm gonna bless you to be with you this past week I met a man who had a marvelous conversion story because of the anorexia that I get that right now I have the wrong the wrong word. Dyslexia.
Big difference. He was told by teachers he'd never be able to read he was 17 years old and unable to read but he was gloriously converted and he basically took a fast track crammed in his education ended up going to college almost getting straight A's.
His conversion was so miraculous and what he said was that his parents despised and rejected him.
The schools rejected him. They said you'll never amount to anything because you'll never be able to read and this is what he said to me he said I learned something people do not have the last word regarding your life. Jesus does not great and you might be a victim today of other people's bad decisions, but people do not have the last word in your life. Jesus does.
God comes to Hagar's is Hagar.
I'm gonna bless your descendent anyway.
There's 1/3 lesson and that is this that Jesus Christ is indeed the one who both sees and hears see both sees and hears old Lord you see me Birla hi Roy, the God who sees me and she's there at the well and she says Lord, even though I didn't know that anyone was out here. You are there. He sees people today abandoned in their own deserts. He sees people today who are not only abandoned, but those who feel very empty in their lives. The desert is outside in the desert is in their life and he comes and he brings hope and he brings healing and he brings restoration and he brings grace he brings grace, was reminded of the fact that Jesus met someone else that a well there's a story in the New Testament, of Jesus coming to the woman at the well or he was seated there when she came her bucket to draw water. What's remarkable about that story is that she is the first person in the Gospel of John, to whom Jesus revealed who he was but he was the Messiah. She had had a bad series of relationship she had had five husbands, and now was living with his sixth husband without the benefit of marriage because marriage had become a charade and there she is. And Jesus says to her, I have living water to give you she could look to her husband's for any sense of strength or satisfaction. She didn't have a home in which she could derive some ability. Jesus said that if you believe in me from within you. There will be rivers of living water springing up into everlasting life, and she became the means by which an entire town. Essentially was converted. They listen to her testimony, and they said that in light of your humility in light of the fact that you're saying that this man knew all about you and we know all about you.
You center, he must be the Messiah, and many more believed because of her testimony, and they went out to see Jesus. Jesus meets us at our extremities.
He meets us in our despair meets us in our deserts and he comes to us wonderful merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and friend who would've thought that a lamb would rescue the souls of man you are the one that we praise you are the one we adore you give the healing and grace our heart always hunger for let's pray father, thank you for your love and grace and for your mercy is been given to all of us.
Thank you father that you came to Hagar, we want to thank you today that you did not abandon her. Thank you that you blessed her and said that her seed would be blessed thank you that you took a decision that was not your perfect will and used it for your own purposes.
And today we thank you that even history is your story and part of the conflict is a part of the picture that you are painting in history we pray today father for those who are here who feel that they've made decisions that have been unfruitful and wrong are living with those decisions or decisions that others made on their behalf that have caused them pain. Show them Lord God show them that you are the God who sees the God who cares come to them in their despair. We ask in Jesus name amen my friend today. This is pastor Luther maybe you have to pause right now and pray you need to receive God's forgiveness. God's grace and God's hope we learn from the Old Testament, even as we learn from the new, that God is with us in all of our ups and downs or disappointments are heartache and he is with you today. Let me ask you a question.
What about Islam. How do we prepare for interacting with her friends are Muslim friends. How do we understand Islam's role in America and what can we do as churches to prepare for what might lie ahead.
Those of the kinds of questions I answer in my book the cross in the shadow of the crescent. By the way, each chapter has a conversion story. It reminds us that there are many Muslims coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ today.
They are beginning to understand that there is a great difference between Jesus and Mohammed. I believe that this book will be instructive but also it will enable you to pray in a new way to have understanding and to connect with others for gift of any amount. It can be yours. And thanks in advance for the many of you who help us financially go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
I've already alluded to this. But one of the chapters in the book is entitled what the church should be doing now. I think it'll be a great encouragement to you. Go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As a matter fact you can go to the phone and call that number right now 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Roy 60614 or 99 years he was known as Abram.
Now he will be called Abraham, the father of many nations. This mail is a teenager. Isaac is not just for we stand at a crucial point in history.
Next time I'm running to win. God comes into Abram's life and changes his name running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Luzerne this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church