Wednesday, August 08, 2007
|Day 7||Sarah||Genesis 16:1-15, 18:1-15, 21:1-7|
In the past, I have read these passages and become frustrated with their matter of factness. The nature of the type of literature that Genesis is means it often omits the morality of these events. It is telling us simply how it happened with little reference to whether the people did what was right or wrong. This story of Sarah and Hagar is probably one of the best examples. I have to be careful not to impose certain cultural taboos on this stories. In our day and time, it’s absolutely crazy to imagine the course of events where a wife offers her husband to another woman who, then, accepts and bears a child which is then supposed to become the child of the husband and wife. This course of events, as I understand it, was fairly commonplace in this day and time, particularly as a remedy for a barren wife.
Here’s the part that is interesting to me: Sarah knows of God’s promise to Abraham. She’s very involved in the events that take place in Abraham’s life. She also sees that God’s promise needs a little help to get moving, so she takes things into her own hands and finds a way to accomplish God’s will for Him. In the end, God has his own plan for bringing about his promise. Don’t we do that? I remember in an earlier reading commenting on how God has blessings ready to give us, we just have to be willing to follow his lead. However, it’s so tempting to see God working or moving in a certain direction and to jump out ahead and take over. Almost always, this will lead to heartache. There is a lot of heartache from Sarah’s decision to go her own way: she regrets it and kicks Hagar and Ishmael out, they struggle to get by until God comes to their rescue, then history plays out from there.
It’s interesting to note that Islam traces is roots back all the way to Abraham through Ishmael and of course Judaism (and thus, Christianity), through Isaac. Thousands of years of conflict, at least in some way, stemming from Sarah trying to get ahead of God. Nevertheless, God also promises Hagar to bless Ishmael. God works through our mistakes and can use them.
Have I stepped ahead of God, this week? Do I have my own plan for how God should bless me? If so, I’m in trouble and need to take a step back and follow his lead. As, Henry Blackaby says in his “Experiencing God” Study, “Find where God is already at work and join him.”