Genesis Chapters 16–17

Genesis 16-17

Genesis 16

Abram and Sarai—11 years later and still no baby (or 10 years depending on how you did your math)
Abram and Sarai have had one test and struggle after another. Here are some we know about:

  • Test #1 – God told Abram to leave his home and family without giving him the destination.
  • Test #2 – Famine at the destination.
  • Test #3 – Time in Egypt – fear of the Egyptians led to Abram saying Sarai was his sister.
  • Test #4 – Lot and Abram’s families had to separate due to a shortage of land for grazing their growing herds.
  • Test #5 – Lot and his family abducted and their goods plundered.
  • Test #6 – Still no baby 10 or 11 years after God’s promise.
  • Test #7 – Sarai proposes Abram give her a child via her servant Hagar

This latest test, proposed by Abram’s own wife, was an accepted social convention of the time. Babylonian in origin. An heir was of utmost importance.

Surely Sarai had given Abram some wise advice over the years. (Is there any real evidence of her wisdom recorded in the Bible? I can’t think of any.)

The lecturer suggested Abram agreed because he wanted to please his wife.
Before suggesting this proposal, Sarai blamed God. When Hagar became pregnant and things became difficult, Sarai blamed Abram. Then Hagar.

How often do we commit the sin and then blame God?

Sarai didn’t trust God. Hagar was not involved in the decision.

Sarai’s plan = miserable outcome: tension in their home.
Abram did not take a stand. He had the encounters with God. Sarai was spiritually weaker.
Hagar ran off due to Sarai’s abusive tongue.

God fulfills promises in His time. Be patient. Wait on Him. God is never late.

Easy to say, “I will! I will wait.” Application is the challenge.

Psalms 27: 13 [What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

Psalms 40:1-3 1 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

2 He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.

3 And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord. (AMP)

Psalms 103:5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Isaiah 30:18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Am I confident? Trusting? Is it natural to doubt? Do I second-guess God?
It was only natural that Sarai would doubt—She was past childbearing age.
They were all being “natural”.

We all have failed on some level. Are my actions, my attitudes, my actions in my home and my sphere drawing others to God or driving them away from Him?

Hagar had been under their care. They had an opportunity to teach her. Instead, Sarai mistreated her. (They certainly did not demonstrate that God was worthy of their trust.)

Hagar must have been tough. She was pregnant and trying to go back home.

God knew where she was and never lost sight of her.

Angel of the Lord – pre-incarnate Jesus – second member of the Godhead

Hagar was a Gentile, a woman, a servant. She had nothing going for her. It’s all by grace that God seeks us out. We are all just as lost. God knew her name.

We were all headed back into the world, just like Hagar. It looks promising, but it is a hopeless direction.

God reached out to her – revealing Himself as the God who sees. He came to her with hope, promise, concern and a prophecy about her son. Not all the prophecy was hopeful – those from his tribe would fight Israel.

Submission to God results in promises and blessing. It was a hard word he gave her—go back and submit to Sarai. Even though Hagar wasn’t to blame for the situation, God saw rebellion in her heart.

Submission never means being a doormat. It is not a sign of inferiority or weakness. Man perverts the idea of submission. Jesus Christ – the king of kings, submitted. He is our example.

Our life submitted to God, out of reverence for God, gives evidence that we are spirit-controlled.

God asks us to “withhold nothing from me.”

Genesis 17

God to Abram – I’m changing your name to Abraham. I am El Shadai – God Almighty. Fully and perfectly adequate. Do not be double-minded. Commit yourself completely. Circumcise all males. I can be trusted.

Circumcision – symbolizes completely submitted. Giving God full authority over everything we have.

We are a work in progress.

Every time He says “Stop! Don’t do it” and we obey, it is God cutting away at our self will. He is changing our name and our character.

Abraham falls face down. God repeatedly says, “I will–I will–I will”

A knife to flesh—seal of the covenant

It took 25 years to learn that the God who called him out was the all-sufficient one. On their own, they could only produce a child of the flesh.

A changed life comes through relationship. God changed names and hearts. They struggled to overcome flesh. God said He wasn’t finished with them yet. By His grace, Ishmael had 12 sons who became rulers. Today his descendants inhabit/control many countries and they possess great wealth.

In Genesis 17:23, Abram believed God immediately!

Cross of Christ has the power to cut off the power of sin in our life. As a child of God, the power of sin has been cut off!

Philippians 3:3 For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances—

We glory in Christ Jesus – no confidence in our flesh.

Sin can take many forms – bitterness, blaming others, judging others, addictions (food, gossip, television, etc.)

Give it to Him. God is near. God will provide. God sees. He will show himself strong.