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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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Continuing our “Origins: The Promise” series through the life of Abraham, this past weekend, Pastor Doug shared from Genesis 16. In this message, we explored the saga between Abram, Sarai, and Hagar and discovered that the Lord truly is El Roi (“the God who sees”).
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When You Compromise, God Sees You (Genesis 16:1–4): Abram’s life teaches us many important things. One of the more critical lessons is that bad choices have consequences, and we see a painful fulfillment of this here in Genesis chapter sixteen.
God tells Abram, a 75-year-old childless man, that He would make him the father of a great nation (Genesis 12:2). He reiterates this in Genesis 15:5, saying, “Look up at the sky and count the stars . . . So shall your offspring be.” And then the Lord seals the covenant while Abram slept, thus assuring the entirety of the covenant depended on Him. Abram didn’t have to have to do anything to make this promise come to fruition. But then Genesis 16 happens.
And so, as it often does with us, impatience with the “speed” at which God brings His promises to fruition clearly begins to set in, and Sarai instructs Abram to sleep with her servant, Hagar. Instead of waiting on the Lord and resting in the promises He had made, Abram and Sarai take God’s promise into their hands and make a big mess. How? Well now, a pregnant Hagar, the secondary wife, hates Sarai and thinks herself superior.
Sarai’s unbelief, her lack of faith in the waiting time caused her to compromise. And unbelief, while a sin, is also a sickness that carries a lot of pain. In her emotions, in her pain, in her unbelief, compromise took place.
Did you know that compromise is cumulative? And often we don’t see the consequences come about until later, but the thing is that these consequences from our compromises build on each other over time, until one day they all come to a head and we experience something that could have been entirely avoidable had we been obedient and faithful.
Sarai tried to take matters into her own hands because the Lord wasn’t working fast enough for her liking and it caused her to lose sight of the promise for a moment. In that moment, she failed to grasp something paramount, something that we must also remember, lest we make compromising decisions that end up hurting us: God doesn’t need our help to make His promises a reality. All He asks of us is faith in Him and His promises. So let us trust Him and listen to the Spirit for our next step.
When You Regret Your Decisions, God Sees You (Genesis 16:5–6): Sarai’s plan worked out for everyone . . . except Sarai. It didn’t work for her. According to John Gill, Hagar “thought herself above her (Sarai), and treated her as her inferior, with contempt, and reproached her for her barrenness.” And now, unable to handle the way things turned out, Sarai blames Abram for the whole mess. And Abram? Instead of putting a stop to all this and seeking the guidance and forgiveness of the Lord, he tells Sarai that she can do whatever she wants with Hagar. So, she begins to treat her harshly. Gill even points out that many scholars believe she “laid hard service upon her she was not able to go through, especially in her circumstances.” This leads to Hagar running away.
How does it feel to be Hagar? Have you ever felt like a pawn in someone else’s game? That’s what she was made into here by Sarai and Abram. And so, this woman who was a slave, who had to leave her country, her family, and her friends, who was used and mistreated and discarded, could no longer stand the abuse and she runs away.
When You Feel Alone, God Sees You (Genesis 16:7–8): You are not forgotten. You are never forgotten by God. He sees you and is always mindful of you. Abram, Sarai, Hagar, her unborn child, not one has been forgotten by God. And as Hagar runs away and finds herself all alone, we discover that God often chooses to reveal Himself when we are all alone, in the quiet, in the stillness of loneliness because you never know that He is all you need until He is all you have. In those moments, we can see a little more clearly.
This moment in Scripture is also the first appearance of the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus. And isn’t it fitting that Jesus’ first appearance as the angel was to Hagar, a pregnant, mistreated, outcast slave woman who is at the end of her rope? It shows us exactly who Jesus came for! He came for her, just as He came for us.
When You Feel Like Giving Up, God Sees You (Genesis 16:9–16): Hagar wanted God to transform her circumstances, but God wanted to transform her. And when she came face-to-face with Jesus, she was able to say, “I have seen the God who sees me.” It was a revelation moment for her, one that we can all learn from and apply, because just as He saw Hagar, Jesus sees you! Hagar was in need, she cried out, and He came to her rescue. And for you, it’s the same, because everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). He sees and He hears you and He wants to transform you, He wants to work in, through, and around you in amazing, miraculous ways.
Quote to Remember: Jesus was rejected so you would never have to be.—Pastor Doug Sauder
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. What things have led to compromise in your life? How can you avoid compromise and stay faithful?
2. Why does God often choose to reveal Himself when we’re all alone? How have you seen this to be true in your life?
3. How has the Lord worked in your life when you’ve felt alone? How has He transformed you in trials?
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Join us this Wednesday as CCA Director of Discipleship Steve Mayo takes a closer look at Genesis 16 and the events that led to and unfolded between Abram, Sarai, and Hagar.
This weekend, we’ll continue our “Origins: The Promise” series through the life of Abraham as Pastor Duane Roberts from our Boynton campus shares from Genesis 17. In this message, we’ll explore the establishment of the covenant of circumcision.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.