Hagar-Don’t Worry–Genesis 16 Part 2

Hagar and Ishmael were simply on the wrong side of the lineage.  Hagar did not plan to be her mistress’s baby factory–but when she was pregnant, it became clear she allowed the power to get between her and Sarai.  So, She ran away.  There she was, out in the desert, with no friends or family.  She had no means of support and yet she had a life to live and a child within her.  The big question she asks is, “Who cares for me?”  The great news was that God cared for Hagar and Ishmael.

God’s messenger met Hagar where she was, and told her two very critical pieces of information–1) don’t worry–God has got this–your son’s lineage will also be numerous. 

2.) Your Son’s lineage will be at odds with the rest of the world.  The news gave Hagar a new hope and she never doubted God’s car for her.  She named the place they met after God–She called it The God who sees me.  She then returned and submitted and Ishmael was born in Abrams 86th year.

It sometimes feels as if we are on our own.  We cannot seem to make progress and no one really cares what happens to us.  In those times, we are like Hagar.  We just want to get away and be left alone.  But, as with Hagar, God meets us where we are and makes it clear that he knows us, loves us and has a plan for us. 

If we, like Hagar, will recognize that and simply follow God and his plan–then he is free to prepare us for what lies ahead.  The critical step is that we trust him and follow him.  There are no short cuts–this is a journey that lasts a lifetime.  We have to play the long game and trust God even when it seems there is no hope or possibility of a good life.  When we do, we find that is when God does his best work.

God Bless You


 
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward[b] all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Here, Let Me Help–Genesis 16 Part 1

It always seems like a good idea at a time–God has a lot on his plate, maybe we can help him out just a bit.  That was what Sarai was thinking.  Clearly, Abram was concerned about the legacy. Sarai, his adoring wife, wanted to ease his burden, combat her barrenness and assure the legacy–so she gave Abram her slave–to have a baby with.  This was, of course, right after God had made a true covenant with Abraham–one that promised a huge lineage. The timing doesn’t make much sense, really, until we remember that we are at war with the world–and its primary tool for destroying us, is to drive a wedge between us and God…by putting doubt in the middle.  It happened to Eve, it happened to Cain, it happened all through the time–to that point.  Now, Sarai and Abram fell prey to it again.
 
We have to trust God, even when it seems we have gone well past the point of no return.  That is when God des his greatest work.  When we think it is time to intervene and to place God on a break…instead, we need to double down and wait on him–We need not step out from behind him and try to lead–no, instead we need to seek him even more intently–fast and pray and wait upon his leadership.  Isaiah said it best, “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings, like eagles! they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
 
God Bless You
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
 

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

 

The Covenant–Genesis 15 Part 2

To understand how important Israel was to God, one need only see God’s hand in the ceremony of covenant. God counted Abram’s Faith as his pledge, in return God promised to the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants. The covenant was no small matter and it’s completion was a lifetime commitment. As God is eternal, so was his covenant. 

God made a covenant with us as well. If we would trust him–as Abram did; then, he would restore our relationship and give us eternal life. Just like Abram, God’s covenant with us is also eternal. We simply must have faith and follow God–as Abram did. Then, like Abram–God will credit our faith as righteousness and give us eternal life with him. What a deal; what a gift!!

God Bless You

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—

What Am I Doing This For Anyway?–Genesis 15 Part 1

What am I doing this for anyway…That was Abram’s question to God.  He had just come off a sweet victory where he routed the enemy; saved his nephew and cemented his relationship with God’s high priest–Melchizedek. One would expect a celebration–at least a grateful heart–but, instead, Abram looked around and saw that in a sense he was doing all this trusting and following without leaving a legacy.  He was nearly 80–and while he had untold riches, a beautiful wife and the finest group of men in the world–he did not have a child to whom he could pass his legacy of faith and wealth.
 
Clearly, as we have marched through the history, we see the value placed upon legacy and ancestry.  From Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abram–this family was being tracked, because it was significant.  But 80 year old Abram–had no child, no heir but his faithful servant, Eliezer. Then, as God had so many times thus far, told Abram to trust him–he would in fact populate the world with a legacy that went worldwide.
 
No matter how many times God shows himself worthy, we still fear that this time, he may not come through.  It seems foolish and shortsighted, yet, we all fall into it from time to time.  As with Abram, God says to us–his chosen, “Do not be afraid, I have got this.  Look up and see I am great, in control and hopelessly devoted to you!” It is never God that fails to honor his promise, it is always us–his kids, that lose faith and hope.  Push forward–keep hopeful; know that as with Abram, God loves us and will keep his promises to us!
 
God Bless You
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

No Thank You–Genesis 14 Final

Why wouldn’t Abram be glad to claim the treasures he and his men obtained after routing the enemies of the 5 kings? It was a simple principle for Abram–he did not want to be tied to the king in any way–not even as a benefactor.  There have always been those for whom even gifts come with a price tag–The King of Sodom was such a man.  He wanted everyone to feel that they owed him.  That is why Abram’s victory was so galling to him.  Now he owed Abram, or so he thought. 
 
The reality was that both Abram and the king of Sodom were indebted to God.  Abram saw that, that is why he gave a tithe to Melchizedek.  But, the King of Sodom wanted nothing to do with acknowledging God–so he was willing to give stuff to Abram–then Abram would be grateful.  Abram was already grateful to the provider and protector of his life–God.
 
We are often faced with opportunities to align with the world–when we do we could be enriched and put in the spotlight.  The problem is, when we become beholden to the world–no matter how innocently it happens, or how much we feel we deserve it–we are then beholden to someone other than the God who protects, provides and prepares us. 
 
We need to live in the world, but, never be indebted to the world for our lives, family or property.  We need to understand that God is our source and resource for all we are and all we have.  When that realization becomes a part of our lives, then, like Abram, we will be free.
 
God Bless You 
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

What Warriors Are made Of–Genesis 14 Part 2

Abram walked with confidence and distinction.  The Bible does not elucidate on the strength and prowess of his chosen son, but to put a point on it, he and his men did what 5 kings armies could not.  He routed the enemy and saved his nephew…well, he and the Lord.
 
When he met Melchizedek the King of Salem–the true leader of a nation of priests, He gladly gave the first 10th of the spoils to him, as Melchizedek represented the true warrior of the battle.  It was Abram’s faith, not his skills–that delivered Abram and would continue to deliver his lineage from then to now.  Make no mistake–Abram and his men were warriors and skilled; but, they were also faithful and trusted God!
 
In our lives, we face the same opportunity each day.  The world is seeking to carry off our families, our passion and our faith.  Only, if we humbly trust God and follow him; will we win this spiritual war.  When we do trust him–we will stand out like the true warriors he develops.  Be faithful in all things, understand he loves you completely and walk confidently into today’s battle– then you will make a difference in the lives of those on the line with you!
 
God Bless You
A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother[b] of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Be Careful the Company You Keep–Genesis 14 Part 1

Things were peaceful in the hills of Mamre…But down in the lush Jordan Valley, not so much! since all the kingdoms of Canaan had decided to take God out of the equation, chaos ensued.  Five Kings, were going to fight four kings–that had wiped out three kingdoms in order to be the one alliance running the valley–confusing, you betcha!  Sadly, in the midst of the confusion, Lot, Abram’s nephew, was swept up and he and all he had was captured and taken away.
 
Now, there is no mention that Lot was involved in the battle, in fact, he probably was not aware of even what was happening.  Still, his choice to have it all–led him into the chaos that was the world culture of that day.  Lot was an unwitting victim of the selfish ignorance of others–it was neither fair, nor was it his fault, but, it was a horrible price he paid for trying to dance close to the world.
 
One of the sad parts of our culture is–we hear daily of people simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being victimized by the world.  It is not their fault, they did not take overt steps to be victims–but their proximity to world culture is their undoing.  We as his chosen, need to choose carefully how we involve ourselves and families in the world.  It is not that we have to hide away from society and never see others, but, we can choose not to place ourselves and our families in the middle of danger. 
 
Our prayerful discernment of how we counsel our children’s friend choice, where we let our kids go and where we spend our entertainment time all weigh into our families safety and attitude regarding God, his involvement in our lives and his leadership in our daily choices.
 
We simply need to allow him to lead and seek his counsel in our daily lives and choices–most important, honor him with our daily lives and our family choices.
 
God Bless You

In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.