Imagine somebody driving their car and they're spending their whole time looking in the rear view mirror while they're accelerating, moving forward. That's a disaster waiting to happen.
And as it is in driving, so it is in your life. You cannot spend another day of your life thinking what if. Forget your what ifs.
God doesn't answer the question what if, but He will answer the questions what now and what next. We'll talk about living life through the windshield and not the rear view mirror on this Monday edition of Destined for Victory. Hello and welcome to another great day of teaching with Pastor Paul Shepherd.
Wherever you are and however you may be listening on radio, online, or through the free Destined for Victory mobile app, thanks for making this part of your day. You know, sometimes we make a mess of things. We walk by sight and not by faith. But God is merciful and patient. And if you let Him, He can turn your mess into a message. Stay with us now or listen to any recent message online on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net. Now with this message, when you need a favor from God, here's Pastor Paul. Genesis 21 verse 17. And God heard the voice of the lad, then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, said to her, What ails you Hagar? Fear not.
We'll pause our reading right there for now. Now we spent the previous message talking about how important it is for us to note that the Bible says repeatedly to God's people, fear not. Sometimes it's do not fear. There are various ways that it's spoken, but we are challenged throughout the pages of Scripture to live free from fear. And my contention is that this isn't just a nice suggestion from the Lord, but it is really what He is calling us to do, to live free from fear. And so we're going to spend some time looking at some of the key passages throughout the Bible where we are called to not walk in fear.
And having discussed fear in the opening message of the series, the first thing I pointed out was that before you get to the phrase fear not, you already see fear popping up in the book of Genesis. Abram got afraid of something, and it was purely a selfish thing. He got afraid that as he and his wife Sarai were moving away from their homeland to the place the Lord said He would show them as they came toward Egypt, he realized, oh my Lord, I am going to run into a problem because I got this fine wife, and she was in her 60s.
She was 65 at the time. But the Bible says she was so beautiful that Abram said, oh man, they're going to kill me and take my wife. And he became afraid, and I spent last message telling you we've got to learn that if God tells you that He's going to do something in your life, you don't have to worry about trying to make it happen. Because if God said, as He said to Abram, I am going to bless you to become a father. In fact, you're going to become the father of many nations.
If that's God's word to him, guess what? That means he's going to have to have a child. If he's going to have to have a child, guess what?
He's going to have to be alive to make the child. Yet when fear gripped him, he did not think about how the promise would be fulfilled. He simply knew my wife is fine, and I need to jump in here and try to keep this from happening. So what did he do? His fear made him tell her, baby, we're going to tell a lie.
When we get to town, let them know you're my sister, and that way they're not concerned about it. What he didn't know is he put her in serious jeopardy. He didn't intend to do that, but how many know fear will make you make some dumb decisions? And here's this man called by God, but his fear hasn't been dumb, and it took God to bail him out. What did God do? He brought plagues on them. Any time the heathens are the ones saying God's trying to tell somebody something. And that's what happened. Pharaoh and those folks said, wait a minute, called Abraham and said, what have you done?
This isn't your sister or else this wouldn't be happening to us. Abraham said, yeah. And they told them, get out of here because we need these plagues lifted, and it's not going to happen as long as you people are around.
Fear can make you make silly decisions, and we want to avoid fear at all costs. Now, I want to move into the passage that gives us the first mention in scripture of the words fear not, and let's begin looking at Genesis 21 verse 8. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham scoffing, or mocking would be the better Hebrew translation there. Therefore, she said to Abraham, cast out this bond woman and her son, for the son of this bond woman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac. And the matter was very displeasing, distressing would be the better translation of that Hebrew word, and Abraham's sight because of his son. Look at verse 12, but God said to Abraham, do not let it be displeasing, distressing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bond woman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice. All the married ladies have that underlined in there.
Listen to what she's telling you. For in Isaac, your seed shall be called. Look at verse 13. This is very important and the crux of what I want to talk to you about in this installment in the series. Look at verse 13. Yet, I will also make a nation of the son of the bond woman because he is your seed. Let's pause right there for a moment.
I need you to understand what's just happened. So, you know, Sarah saw that boy mocking her baby. Now you got to realize there was a 13 year silence between Ishmael's birth and Isaac's birth. And those 13 years were years pretty much of silence. Sometimes when you don't get it right the first time, God's not in a hurry to give you the makeup exam.
Sometimes you just have to be patient, learn your lessons as you keep on living and be ready because a makeup exam is coming. In every area of your life, when God has a plan for your life, he is going to, sometimes you're tested and if you fail the test, oh well, God's not changing his plan. And so 13 years later, they got it right and here's the son of promise, Isaac. Now we're at the winning point in his life. Typically in that culture was about two years old when the child was weaned from his mother's breast. And so we're talking about a two year old Isaac and a 15 year old Ishmael. Now you remember how you were at 15 and he's over there mocking because the attention's not on him, yet this baby, this two year old is getting all this special attention.
And you know, so he's probably over there with his little teenage friends and they all messing around and mocking the boy and all of that. Sarah, now you got to remember, Sarah at this point is a old woman. She is in her early 90s. You're talking about a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother all wrapped up in one. Come on. You got to think this through as you read this passage. You know, in those first two years of that baby's life, you did good to see the baby, let alone hold him. You know, she was freaking out every little thing. You couldn't bring germs around him.
If you cough just accidentally stay over there. You know how this was. So she's super protective. And now he's lived two years and he's been on her breast these two years.
You can imagine what this is like. This woman is super protective of this child, not only physically, but in every way. And here he is. And at two years old, he's alert and able to recognize if he's being mocked or whatever's going on. And he would have reacted to it. But she looks over and sees Ishmael mocking her baby.
She walks up to Abraham and she says he got to go. Come on. It's right there in your Bible. I just gave it the plain way. You know, this dressed up, cast out.
No, no. He got to go. Abraham said, I know, but that's Hagar's child. And we brought them in. I'm glad you brought her up. She got to go with him.
Both of them. I don't know where they're going to live. But they're not living here any more. I've given that boy these years in our home. He's been raised for 15 years with them.
And yet she's saying, that's it. He got to go. His mama got to go, too. And Abraham said, oh, Lord, now what am I supposed to do? God said, listen to your wife, because. And he tells him why. He says, because the son of promise is going to become what I said he was going to become. And so that was what this whole thing was about in the first place. The difference is, had you gotten it right the first time, there would be no Ishmael. Oh, come on, some of y'all. I need you just to think this through with me. You know, Abraham, he'd probably say, well, see, if she had had more faith.
Sometimes you try to pass the buck. You're listening to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. The second half of today's message comes your way next, so stay tuned. Remember, you can listen to Destined for Victory wherever you go by downloading our free mobile app. The app allows you to select from any of Pastor Paul's recent messages, order resources from our online store. You can even take notes from the sermon right on your mobile device, and they'll be waiting for you the next time you stop by. Search Destined for Victory in the App Store and download our free mobile app today.
You can also download or subscribe to the Destined for Victory podcast at Apple Podcasts at iHeart or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. We've all made mistakes in our past, but the great thing about God is he's not looking for someone to blame. He's looking for someone to redeem. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message when you need a favor from God. If she had had more faith, then no need of passing the buck. It's done.
I need you to know about some things in your life. There's no need of you going back combing through all the mistakes and who made them and who was responsible. One of the ways the enemy tries to mess all of us up is to get us to push rewind when God is saying go forward. Rewind has never helped anybody in their life. What God is doing is always ahead of you, never behind you. You got to notice your front windshield is a large window.
The rear view mirror is a small window on purpose. There is no point in spending your time looking in the rear view mirror of your life. Yeah, there's a whole bunch of junk back there, a whole bunch of mistakes, a whole bunch of things you should have never said, should have never did, decisions that were not of God, even if you thought they were at the moment. You thought this is so wonderful.
You ever thought something was a blessing that turned out to be a great big old curse? Oh, I'm glad I got some honest people up in here. You thought.
Sure. At the time you all were building this relationship, you thought this was the best thing. Oh, my God. This is just an answer to prayer. Answer to the devil's prayer. And now that you figured out it's a curse and it's a problem, there's no need of you spending your time in the rear view mirror. You can't move forward accurately if your gaze is in the rear view mirror. Imagine somebody driving their car and they're spending their whole time looking in the rear view mirror while they are accelerating, moving forward. That's a disaster waiting to happen.
And as it is in driving. So it is in your life. You cannot spend another day of your life thinking what if? Forget your what ifs. I got that's a word for you right now. I could be done. And some of you all got just what you needed.
Forget your what ifs because they are not an issue anymore. You who are trying to drop off a spouse who has been faithful to you, has done right by you. But you just feel like you have outgrown them and you need somebody who really understands you. And this person on the job, when we on break, when they talk to me, they really get my spirit and they really understand. Oh, I'm reading mail. I know I'm reading mail and they understand me and they. It's just something about it. I've never quite had an experience like this. They can finish my sentences because they know exactly how I feel.
Yeah. I got a word for you. You get ready to mess up royally. That one who's been with you so far on this marital journey is the same one you're supposed to take the rest of the journey with. They haven't given you biblical grounds for divorce and you need to quit making up on biblical grounds for divorce, such as God wants me happy. Oh, listen, I've been in pastoral ministry since I was in my mid 20s. Here's a 60 year old man telling you, no, that's not a biblical ground for divorce.
Your spouse doesn't make you happy like they used to make you. So you're going to drop them off. You'd be surprised. I'm not talking about rookie people who don't know the word.
I'm talking about folk been in church for 10, 20, 30 years, 40 years, dropping off a spouse with no biblical grounds for divorce. I've never seen such throughout the country. It's everywhere.
It's epidemic. One of my preacher friend had a guest preacher for a special meeting he was having and he brought his wife and what have you. He said, I had him back years later and he walked in my office with a new woman. He said, and I said, who that?
And he's, Oh, this is my wife. If you got biblical grounds, there's no condemnation. If you divorced and are remarried and you now realize you shouldn't have gotten that divorce, the blood covers that. Come on.
I'm trying to help somebody. Thank God for the blood that cleanses. There's some stuff you can't undo, even though you would want to. So it's time to let it go. Look at your neighbor and say, let it go. Get out that rear view mirror. Stop looking backwards. No, you should have never had him.
It's male, but you got him. Now what do you do? He said, God said, listen to your wife's voice.
Why? Because in Isaac, your seed shall be called. Yet verse 13, I will make a nation of the son of the bond woman because he is your seed.
You know what that means? That means God said, I'm so committed to you. I'm not only going to bless your miracle. I'm going to bless you despite your mistake.
I serve the God not only who will bless your miracle, I'm a witness. He'll bless your mistake. He will bless your mess after you repent and get in the right place and get your heart and your mind right. God will bless what you made a mess of.
I came to tell somebody God loves you so much. He still got you. He got you even though you know you did some stuff wrong. He's got you even though you know you haven't been walking right in some area of your life. God said, yeah, my love isn't fickle when I set my love on you.
It's for ever. I came to tell somebody quit worrying about that stuff in the rear view mirror. Now you've got to look at a new promise. The new promise is God said, I got you. See, some of you only think you're supposed to be blessed when you did everything right. I came to tell you got how many folk would qualify for those blessings.
All the folk who did everything right. We just sing Shepherd of my soul and one of the parts of it. I will listen for your voice. How many know there have been times we were listening to anything but his voice. Oh, come on.
I need I need some honest people. I was listening to everything, buddy. But his voice. That's why you drove off somewhere you had no business being. That's why the GPS being guided by the Holy Spirit. It didn't work. Not because he didn't speak.
He did speak. Not because the map didn't show you. It did show you. But when you stop looking at the map and stop listening to that lady on the GPS, you can end up all kind of crazy places. I'll never forget when GPS first came out in cars, navigation first came out in cars. One time I drive my first navi car.
I'm so excited going somewhere I had never been. But I don't need your directions because the car going to tell me how to get there. And I'm driving because I'm a musician.
I especially love music. And when my wife's not in the car, I can crank it up loud. She wasn't with me that day. So I had it up. I was bumping. Pastor was bumping. And it wasn't never my God to be either, just in case you wonder it, just just in case you wonder it.
He's some of you all think that I know you're a man of God. I know you've been there listening to Amazing Grace. Whatever it was, I was enjoying it so much.
Had it cranked up so loud. And I'm enjoying the ride in this new car that I forgot to look at the map and I was drowning out the lady. I know the lady had told me where to turn, but I never heard it.
I know the map had shown me, but I didn't look at it. The word of God is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. You want to live right. Stay in that book. You want to live right.
Listen to the Holy Spirit when he's telling you every day. And I ignored it all. And it took.
I forget what it was at a certain point. I said, wait a minute. I haven't heard that lady.
I haven't heard that lady in a while. That's what made me look down at the map. And I looked at the map and it said recalculating. You know what that means? That means you are somewhere you have no business being.
You didn't pay attention to the map or the voice and you are God knows where. But here's what I came to tell you. God is not only the God of people who do everything right. He's the God of folk who are so lost they don't even know where in the world they're supposed to be or how to get there when he's committed to you. He's not just committed to you in your perfection because you don't have much of that to offer.
He is committed to you with all your junk, all your stuff, all your mess, all your poor decision making. And if you will look, you will find the word of God telling you, here's what you need to do to get out of that. And my God, that lady started talking again when I turned my music down. She was talking all along. I just didn't hear her turn it down. And she said, at the light, make a left.
She didn't even have a little attitude in her voice. That's why I knew it was the Holy Spirit. Thanks for being here for this Monday edition of Destined for Victory and Pastor Paul Shepherd's message when you need a favor from God. Listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent messages on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net. Well, we're almost out of time, but before we go, I want to thank you for all you're doing to help Pastor Paul share the love of Jesus through the Destined for Victory broadcast.
Your prayers and gifts have helped turn this into a worldwide ministry with a growing audience. In appreciation of your generous gift today, Pastor Paul will send you his booklet, Trusting God in Scary Times. When the Lord told Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away from the family home, what followed was a great deal of uncertainty and angst.
God had promised Abraham that he'd make a nation out of his firstborn son, but circumstantially, it looked pretty bleak. You may have times in your life when fear instead of faith tries to take the wheel. In this helpful resource, Pastor Paul walks you through Genesis chapter 21 and shows you how to rely on the faithfulness of God in the darkest of moments. That's Trusting God in Scary Times, our gift to you this month by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538.
Once again, our address is Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. Sometimes obedience costs you. Obedience will bring tears to your eyes, pain to your heart. You have got to understand, although it hurts, you've got to do it anyway. Do not spare yourself the pain when the pain is going to lead you to the blessing that only obedience will produce in your life. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares more of his message when you need a favor from God. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory.
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