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April 21, 2022 7:00 am
Well there are people you know until about 100 years ago. Most of the world basically ignored them. But not anymore. Folks here are 300 million air of people living in 19 countries across North Africa and the Middle East. And because of their enormous oil well they hold the economy of the world in their hand. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Arab extremism is 1/4 that all of us on this glow are forced to deal with everyday and the Arab Israeli conflict is now at the fulcrum of world politics. So who are these people and where did they come from and how did they get here. Will this is what were going to talk about today as we resume our chapter by chapter study of the book of Genesis were going to be studying Chapter 16 where God tells us where the Arab people came from and where he also gives us some very practical instruction for our own personal spiritual life.
So are you ready okay here we go little bit of review. Remember Genesis chapter 12 God asked Abraham to leave his country leaders land leave his parents leave his relatives leave his job leave his friends and come follow God to the promised land. And Abraham did that. And God told him that as a result, he would have a son and through that's on a multitude of descendents, to whom God would give as an eternal possession of the land of Canaan. 10 years later in Genesis chapter 15 God repeated this promise of a sawn to Abraham verse four God said to Abraham a sawn who comes forth from your own body. He shall be your heir, but here we are in Genesis 16 we don't have a song so Sarah and Abraham begin to become impatient and they decide to make a fateful decision to take matters into their own hands and that's where we pick up the story. Genesis chapter 16 verse one here we go. Now Sarah, Abraham's wife had borne him no children, and we must understand, in the ancient near East barrenness was the ultimate disgrace for a woman Sarah was now 75 years old.
She was desperate to remove this stigma and so as we said a moment ago she decided to take matters into her own hand you say how do you do that well let me tell you if you been tracking with this in the book of Genesis.
You've heard me mention the city of New Jersey. It was a city that was flourishing at the time of Abraham and Sarah and their in New Jersey. We have found thousands of clay tablets elucidating for us the everyday customs that existed in the time of Abraham and Sarah, and there's one very curious custom that we found there. It's kind of a surrogate motherhood, and here's how it works.
If a woman, a wife was barren. She was permitted to give one of her handmaidens to her husband as a surrogate mother.
The husband would sleep with this handmaiden, and when the handmaiden bore trial that trial was considered to be the child of the Baron why thereby removing her stigma of barrenness that we see this very custom.
It worked elsewhere in the book of Genesis when it comes to Jacob and Rachel, chapter 30 of Genesis verse one when Rachel saw that she wasn't bearing Jacob any children. Then she said to him, here is Bill Hahn my handmaiden sleep with her so that she may bear children for me and that through her. I can build a family and this is exactly what Sarah Dawes here in Genesis 16 back to verse one.
Now Sarah had an Egyptian handmaiden named Hagar so she said to Abraham, the Lord has kept me from having children go sleep with my handmaiden. Perhaps I can build a family through her friends. We need to be perfectly clear here and this is really important that what Sarah was proposing here in Genesis 16 was not illegal, it was not immoral and it was not wrong according to the culture of her day. It was a perfectly acceptable way to solve the problem she was facing by means of human wisdom human ingenuity and human action is a will on ways.
Stop anything wrong with human ingenuity is anything wrong with human action.
I mean sometimes doesn't God ask us to help his plan.
Come to fruition in our life by us taking some human action will friends that's a great question were to answer it in just a moment, hold onto it were coming back with first one we see what happened with Abraham and Sarah verse three and Abraham agreed to what Sarah said, would you notice, please. The Bible never says he prayed about it. The Bible never says he saw God on it. The Bible never says God spoke to him about it or the God gave them the okay he just simply made a quick decision. So after Abraham had been living in Canaan for 10 years.
Sarah gave her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar to her husband, and he slept with Hagar and she conceived, and when Hagar knew that she was pregnant.
She began to despise her mistress, Sarah somehow Hagar began to rub it in that she was now carrying the trial that Sarah had never been able to. Maybe it was a little look, or maybe it was a little smirk. Or maybe it was a little comment, but whatever it was, it wasn't good. Verse five.
Then Sarah said to Abraham you are responsible for this wrong that I am suffering see folks the world has not changed in 4000 years. It hasn't changed. Sarah said I put my handmaiden in your arms and now that she knows she's pregnant she despises me. May the Lord judge between you Abraham and me and that's not a good thing Sarah was calling for their now I'm sure that Abraham tried to reason with her. I'm sure he tried to say Sarah love this was my idea was your idea. I think this you thought of this. I was only trying to do what made you happy, but she was in no mood so as a result, Abraham did what every experienced husband does in a situation like this, he ran for cover. That's what he did and look he says, verse six, your maiden is in your hands. You do whatever you want to do. I am out of this.
I am going to sit in the tent drink coffee.
I want nothing to do with what's happening here smart man. Then Sarah began the mistreating Hagar until Hagar fled from her disabled. Why do that. Why didn't Sarah just throw her out on her ear will friends the reason is because she couldn't. The reason is because it was illegal.
The reason is because those same clay tablets at newsy of the tell about the surrogate motherhood also tell us that once that handmaiden conceived and got pregnant by means of the husband. It was illegal for the wife to throw her out, but Sarah could make life so miserable for Hagar that Hagar voluntarily left. That's what she did for seven then the angel of the Lord found Hagar near a well spring in the desert and he said Hagar servant of Sarah, where have you come from and where you going and she answered him running away from my mistress, Sarah.
Then the angel of the Lord said to her go back to your mistress and submit to her and I will so increase your descendents that they will be too numerous to count. You know it's interesting God said this very same thing about her son Hagar's on his name would be Ishmael.
In chapter 17 of Genesis verse 20 God said to Abraham, as for Ishmael, I will surely blessing and I will make him fruitful, and I will greatly increase his numbers and I will make him into a great nation, my friends, these are the Arab people of today they trace their lineage back to Ishmael.
They are descendents of Abraham, and they have become great people that God promised they would become verse 11.
The angel also said to Hagar. You will have a son, and you shall give him the name Ishmael, which means God hears because the Lord has heard of your misery. So Hagar said you are the God who sees me. You saw me hereby this well and she named the place beer left Cairo we which means literally in Hebrew beer the well cry of the living one row he who sees me. Verse 15 so Hagar bore Abraham a son, and Abraham gave him the name Ishmael and Abraham was 86 years old when Hagar for him. Ishmael now that the stars were going to go in our passage today, because when to stop now going to ask the most important question so I need this to be really spectacular. Okay all of the out on the Internet.
Join us here we go now, Juan Joe Gray that was Dragon that's really good okay give you sell the hand that was awesome you say lawn you need. None of this applies to me.
I don't even I don't even own a handmade, then he does make my life. This is completely irrelevant to me.
No no no no no no, wait a minute is a great spiritual lesson here let me show you what it is friends we mentioned earlier that Sarah's idea to give Hagar to Abraham was an attempt to help the plan of God along by human effort. Human ingenuity and human action and we also saw that, according to the laws and the customs of their day.
What Abraham and Sarah did was not illegal. It was not immoral and it was not wrong but the real question is, was it on spiritual wasn't on spiritual so let's answer the question when it comes to this issue. There are really two principles in the word of God that exists in juxtaposition.
They exist in dynamic tension with one another.
Let me tell you what they are. Principle number one is waiting on the Lord. Psalm 37 verse four David says delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart, therefore, be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 40 verse one.
David says I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry principle number one says I know that God has a specific plan for how my life goes down to the very smallest details and some of those details.
God wants to work out completely by his own power, without my helping at all.
And when it comes to those areas any human action I take to try to help God out is only going to mess things up.
So in those areas. I need to keep my hands off of things and I need to wait patiently on the Lord until in his timing. He supernaturally asked for now we see a great example of this in the life of King David of principle number one in first Samuel 16 Samuel the great prophet came and anointed David as the next king of Israel. So David knew what God's plan and will was for his life. He was going to be the king of Israel but Saul was still alive.
In fact, Saul would be alive for another seven years and would remain king of Israel for another seven years, twice during that period. David had the chance to kill Saul and become King himself and his men urged him to do it, but David said no.
He said no no no this is I'm not doing listen to what he said. First Samuel 26 verse nine the Lord for Ben.
David said that I should lift my hand against him, Saul, for he is the Lord's anointed. As surely as the Lord lives.
David says the Lord will strike either his time will come, and he'll die naturally or you're going to battle parish but the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on what is David saying here David is saying I know God's plan for my life. I'm supposed to be the king of Israel, but I also know that God wants to work this out in his own timing is old way without my help, he don't want me to lift the pinky to be any part of this and I'm just going to wait on the Lord to deal with soul took seven years of David hiding in caves, but the Lord dealt with Saul and the honor David for just waiting on him.
Now that's the first principle, but there's a second principle, that's just as real in the word of God and that sanctified human action. Listen, the apostle Paul wrote Philippians 4 verse 19 and my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ. What great promise from God that he's going to meet all of our needs. The problem is that some of the believers in Thessalonica began to take this places Paul never intended for it to go. They said well you know if God's going to meet all of our needs. We are ready to go out and do anything. What is going to wait on the Lord were to sit on our front porch and were going to drink mint juleps until he sends a check in the mailbox with the return address heaven and Paul rhodamine said all know you know, listen second Thessalonians 310, Paul said, even when we were with you, we gave you this rule, if a man will not work, he shall not eat, for we hear that some among you are idle not being busy but being busybodies. Such people, we command in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earned the bread they eat hey friends. Principle number two says yes God has an exciting plan for my life but God expects me to play a part in bringing this plan to fruition by engaging in sanctified spirit directed spirit filled human action. A good example of this comes out of the life of the apostle Paul. This principle we pick up in the end of the book of acts the apostle Paul's in jail in Caesarea and the Bible says ask 23 verse 11. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, take courage, Paul, as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome. Okay, Paul knows the plan of God for his life. No right he knows will God is going wrong. Yes okay he knows will soon a new a Roman Gov. named Festus showed up. Ask 25, verse two, then the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before Festus and presented charges against Paul. They urgently requested Festus as a favor to them to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem for trial, for they were preparing an ambush to kill Paul along the way. Nepal discovered this and so when Festus asked Paul we you agree to go up to Jerusalem to stand trial. Paul said hey Festus, if I'm guilty of doing anything deserving of death, I don't refuse to God. But if the charges against me by these Jews are false. No one has the right to hand me over to them why because Paul was a Roman citizen and Paul had the right to be tried in a Roman court and when he could see the Festus could care less and the Festus was going to hand him over to these Jews and that he was going to be ambushed and maybe killed on the way to Jerusalem. Paul exercise the right that every Roman citizen possess acts 25 verse 11 he said to Festus, I appeal to Caesar you know what Festus had no choice in simple row. Paul knew he was going wrong. But he brought about by his own sanctified human action being a part of it. He appeal to Caesar what I want to see here is that David used principle number one and Paul in this case used principle number two and just as much as God honor David for principle number one he honor Paul for using principle number two is that you know that. Listen to what he said. Philippians chapter 1 verse 12. Paul's in jail in Rome. He writes and says no I want you to know brothers that what is happened to me going to Rome being in jail has turned out for the advancement of the gospel. How could that be Paul, for he says the entire palace guard the praetorian guard Caesar's elite bodyguard has heard about Christ because of my trades you know you know what he's talking about. If you were Caesar's prisoner Paul appeal to Caesar, you had to be guarded by Caesar's personal bodyguard.
The praetorian guard and the way this was done is one member of the praetorian guard on a revolving schedule had to be chained to you for 12 hours at a time, friends, can you imagine being an unbelieving Roman soldier and being chained up to the apostle Paul for 12 straight hours do you think you hear the gospel. Do you think you would never gospel coming out your nose and ears. After 12 hours. Next of the apostle Paul. That's why he said every member of the praetorian guard is heard the gospel because they did chained to be, and I gave it to him. God used in friends. The point is there's two different principles here since it will on how do we know when God wants us to use one and we want to see is the other would how do you we know when God wants us to wait on God and do nothing versus when God wants us to appeal to Caesar and take some human action will that's the crucial issue is folks.
That was the issue that Abraham and Sarah were grappling when he tries something very fascinating.
If you go back and look Genesis 12 Genesis 13 Genesis 14 Genesis 15 you'll find that even though God kept telling Abraham he was going to have a son he never in any of those chapters specifically told Abraham that the sans would be by Sarah. Send well enough away golf course he did check out the first time ever that God told Abraham. It was Sarah who was going to have this promise on was in Genesis 17 verse 16 and Ishmael was already borne by the civil so what is that me what that means.
My friends is that when Sarah comes to Abraham in Genesis 16 with her. I dear about Hagar. Are you with me you still with me.
There were two legitimate genuine options available to add to Sarah and Abraham. The first option was to wait on the Lord till Sarah got pregnant. Principle number one but the second option was to go the Hagar route and take some human action because up to this point they didn't know that this is not the way God wanted to do yet told him it was Sarah and the problem is that Abraham never stopped long enough to get on his knees and seek the face of God and say okay God I got both of these options available which one you want me to take and stay on his knees and do nothing until God made it clear which way he wanted him to go. Genesis 16 never indicates Abraham did that he just reacted. He made a decision. He said sure Sarah no problem. So here's our bottom line for the day, my friends, how do we know whether in any given situation. God wants us to go into human action, Hagar mode, or whether he wants us to go into wait on the Lord. Sarah mode will friends the only way to know is to do what Abraham didn't do that is get on our face before God and ask God Lord. Which way do I go there both legitimate options there both biblically acceptable, but that's not the point. The point is what he will which one you want me to choose your would you want me to wait for a while and then asked, you know, when Brenda and I first moved to McLean Bible church over 30 years ago we moved over here and very quickly bought a house in McLean and it was a house that we couldn't really afford.
Now I'm I'm particularly gifted a doing stuff like this if you don't know if you're not and slowly but surely try to keep up with the payments on this house was draining our savings draining our savings. Till eventually, after about four years our savings were all but gone, and my wife Brenda kept coming to me and saying lawn. This is not working. We need to sell this house. We need to move into something cheaper and I agreed with her. I me I could see what was happening to our savings account and I would go and pray about the Lord. We need to sell this house and I'm telling you the Lord kept telling me wait, not yet wait to see the Lord use you know my bank you see what you wait and I would tell Brenda Lord Stella midway in Redwood City, the Lord's telling you what I Brenda honest. He is honest, I'm praying about this and he really is indeed a godly woman as she is. Brenda said okay you know I'll let the Lord lead you that's okay and I slowly watched us go broke and burn up all our savings and said, Lord Kaman was to deal here. Finally one Saturday night I was down praying. Get ready for Sunday in my office on Mondays. That's before we have Saturday night service and just like that I'm telling you like that is like the Lord said to me okay you got clearance sell the house. So how can you be so sure if you get on your knees and talk to God long enough, you know, when God's telling you some and I got up went right upstairs 30 nights, a Brenda, I just got clearance. She said to do what is it to sell the house so I look okay and we had some owner financing.
Some takeback financing from the people he brought the house from so I had to call him and tell him I was selling the house and so I sent him a call them right now. Saturday night and I did and the lady. The wife answered the phone and she said I told her we were selling the house and she said have you sold again and I said no and and so she said can I buy back well, I mean if you want to. I have you know I was looking at this and say my gosh if Alyssa house after the realtors visa got up a closing cost to paint the house.
I got a fix the house up, I'm gotta make sure the house to show oval box figured all this out friends and I figured out by the time I did all that we probably lose money on the house and I didn't have any money to lose wax wood. We were empty. This woman said to me on the phone. Can I buy my house that yeah she cannot tell you what my husband just told me that he was leaving me divorcing me 48 hours ago and kicking me out of the house and I need a place to go and I love to have my house back can I buy my house so will sure how how much were we talking about here. So we have got a price and she said to me not, here's the deal. I don't want to put on the market. I don't want you to pay realtors fees. I'll cover the closing cost. I don't want you to paint it. I don't want you to improve it.
I don't want to do anything. I'll take it just the way it is. I just want my house back.
I'm telling you is the easiest house ever sold my whole life. It was amazing and boy did I need someone wanted a house just like that the here's the point.
My friends, she said to me you know if you called me even a week ago I would've told you to go sell the house and listed because she said I did know to 48 hours ago. I was going to need help. She said her timing is impeccable was my timing, I want to sell the house months before it was the Lord's time and he was trying to bless me and I was chasing 100 and saying, Lord, and he was trying to bless me now. I'm so glad I waited for let me tell you if there are situations in your life right now that your chafing under in the Lord's telling you just the way these try to bless you Justin, you and I and our puny human logic are too foolish to realize you need to go to God and get on your face before the Lord. Isaiah 30 verse 21 says you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way walking in it.
God will tell you whether to wait or to act if you'll just stop and listen.
But the problem is were often blowing testing so fast we don't even stop and listen. Stop and listen. He'll tell you what to do and exactly when and if you got a situation like that. I urge you get on your face before God and stay there until God gives you liberty to go one way or the other and friends. One closing piece of advice. If in doubt, wait, if you're not sure what the Lord's telling you. Wait. Listen, I have seldom ever regretted an action that I waited to take a boy I sure have regretted some actions that I've hurried to take God had made it clear just wait and gotta make sure he tells you right on schedule to do. I hope that this will change the way we make decisions because we were here today and we sat on the teaching of the Word of God for your heavenly father we thank you that you tell us in the Bible. If we lack wisdom would ask for James chapter 1 and you will give it Lord remind us, as Elijah discovered that you were in the world win and you're not in the storm and you're not in the tornado. It's a still small voice which you speak to us, Lord, forgive us for being in so much of a hurry. Most of the time that we don't stop long enough to seek and to listen to that still small voice.
We make a lot of bad decisions because of that father change the very way we make decisions because we were here today teachers to fall to our knees and to pray before we act and not to act until we have clearance from the Lord will make much better decisions that way. So thanks for speaking to us today in teaching this from your word and we pray these things in Jesus name. What are God's people say a man