Genesis 21 – Waiting on the Lord

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis chapter 21. Genesis chapter 21 is where we are together today, and we’ve been going through the book of Genesis. So if you’re we’re in chapter 21, so if you’re new today, you’ve missed 20 chapters up to this point. So let me just give you a quick review so you know where we are. We took a few weeks for Christmas. And so just to keep us and reminder of what we’ve been studying together, first couple of chapters of Genesis, beautiful passage of the Bible shows us that God makes us intentionally, purposefully. The God makes humanity as the crown of his creation. He makes you uniquely different than any other creature he made. He made you in his image, which means you’re designed to connect to God. And in connecting to God, you find you have intrinsic worth and value. You aren’t an accident. God made you for a reason to know him and to honor him with your life. When you live for his glory, it’s a blessing to others. When you live for your glory, it’s to the detriment of others and living for God’s glory. We have the privilege of of not only walking in relationship with God, but but living for purpose in this world and then blessing others and relationship through that. But when we choose to walk contrary to the Lord, it’s to the destruction of our own relationship with God and to others. And you find that after Genesis chapter two, that’s how the story unfolds.

In Genesis chapter three, mankind rebels against God. And from chapter three to chapter 11, you continue to see this rebellion play out, that God continues to intervene by his grace, to give us opportunity to know him. And man rejects God and runs away over and over again. And then when you get to chapter 12 of Genesis, you find that God intervenes by his grace in the life of one family, Abraham and Sarah and her the Chaldeans. And he tells them, follow me to a place that I’m going to show you. He doesn’t even tell him where they’re going. He just says by faith, follow them. And he says, when you get to this land, know that I’m going to give you a child. And through this child it will bless all nations, all people, groups. And God calls Abraham and Sarah at Abraham, 75 years old, Sarah 65 years old. They go on this journey and then God. God doesn’t deliver this child to them until they’re 25 years later, 100 years old. Abraham is 75 years old or excuse me, 95 years old. Sarah is. And Abraham and Sarah. When God finally delivers this promise, their response really is just to laugh at God. In Genesis 17 Genesis 18, God reminds them he’s going to bring them a child. Now they’re much later in years than even 75 years old and 65 years old.

They they laugh at God and response to that, but God reminds them of that promise. God again repeats that promise in chapter 19. Um, and God repeats that promise in chapter 19 on the backdrop of Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s going to bring his judgment on the sinfulness of humanity in Sodom and Gomorrah. But God wants to remind Abraham and Sarah, going into that judgment, that he still promises them a future of blessing in him, as they, by faith follow after the Lord. And it’s a beautiful picture. In the midst of adversity, our need to be reminded of God’s goodness and the truthfulness of who he is. And what we discover in the promise to Abraham is that this promise isn’t just a half concocted plan of God. That God, by promising this child he would establish a covenant through through Abraham that had a comprehensive, predetermined plan to, to, to for this child to die for the sins of the whole world, that ultimately Abraham would be the lineage by which Jesus would come to redeem us from from our sin, that we may know God. And in Genesis chapter 21, now we’re going to talk about the idea of waiting on the Lord, because this is the chapter where God fulfills his promise to Abraham and Sarah by bringing this child. This child is is born. So what does it look like for us to wait on the Lord? I think one of the questions that we could ask by jumping into this passage is, why did God wait till Abraham was 100 years old? 100 years old like you think? What are you going to do with 100 years old? Somebody asked me my day plan.

When I’m 100, it’s going to be. I opened my eyes today. Anything beyond that is just a success. It doesn’t. Doesn’t matter. 100 years old, I don’t really have an agenda. Just breathe. I don’t know, but Abraham has a has a child at 100 years old. Why did God wait until he was 100 and he caught him at 75? Why wait till he was 100? You know, there’s nowhere specifically you’re going to turn to the Bible that says this is the reason. But I think from the text, as we’ve studied this together, we can extrapolate a few things. One is God uses this time to mature Abraham, for Abraham to learn whether or not he truly trusts in the promises of God. I mean, it’s already a miracle at 75 years old when God says, you’re going to have a baby, right? And so why not continue to? If you’re going to trust God at 75, why not trust God to 100? But what we discover in the life of Abraham is that Abraham had to continue to learn and grow. I remember beginning in Genesis chapter 12, God tells him, go to the land that I’m going to show you, and I’ll I’ll provide.

Abraham gets the land. As soon as he gets to that land, there’s a famine, and Abraham immediately runs away. He runs to Egypt. His wife is taken by Pharaoh, so he loses his. Land. He loses that promise, and he. And he loses his wife. And God has to intervene, rescue Sarah and send them back. And through that, Abraham learns in chapter 16, Abraham and Sarah getting older in years, they’re like, we still don’t have a kid. God probably needs our help. Sarah comes up with a plan. She says, here, take my maidservant, Hagar, have a child with her because God needs our help. And Abraham agrees to that. And they learn through that, that that’s not the way God desires to work, that God wants to work through Abraham and Sarah. That’s who the promise came to, and that’s what is honoring to the Lord. And then we just recently read in chapter 20, Abraham again abandons his wife to King Abimelech, and God has to intervene. And God, by his mercy provides once again for for Abraham. So one of the reasons I think we can we can take from the text that that that the reason God waited until he was 100 to Abraham was 100 to provide for Abraham, and so that God through that time could mature Abraham. And the importance of God’s promises. Each of those doubtful times that Abraham had led to problems and those problems even impact today.

We’ll look at that at the end of this, this section together. But when we fail to trust God’s promises, there, there are consequences. But God is a great God that’s willing to teach us in our adversity. I don’t know why we’re like this as human beings, but for some of us, or all of us, if we’re being honest, it takes some adversity to really awaken our need to a relationship with the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I tend to learn better in in struggle, um, than I than I do in some of my successes. My mom, when I was a kid, told me I should have been a lawyer. I just, you know, little hard headed sometimes. I don’t think that that’s what a lawyer is, but little hardheaded sometimes. And so you got to you got to learn. And your struggles sometimes the adversity of life are some of the best teachers to what we have. There’s a a theologian that once said, you know, God whispers to us in our victories, but he screams to us in our pains. And that’s where most, uh, opportune times really, to listen to the Lord is when we’re going through struggles. So point number one, Abraham needed to to grow spiritually, mature, mature in his walk with the Lord. That’s likely why God waited till he was 100. But but also, there’s no mistaking that God is the hero of the story.

I mean, anyone having a child at 100 years old, if someone asks, how does that happen? The only answer you could possibly give is God is a miracle worker. I like that, I don’t, I don’t know how else that could happen. Like God is the hero of the story, God had to provide this. There is no other way this can happen. And it’s so important for us that when we read narratives in the Bible that we come to understand that our tendency as human beings is we read these little Bible stories and we get a nice little lesson, but we sort of look at the figure that it’s talking about, like as some great figure that’s better than us. You know, I can never be like them, but I’m I’m so glad they’re a hero of the Bible. We sort of put them up on a pedestal. But as you start looking at the grander narrative, you realize in all of Scripture these people are flawed individuals, right? They they’ve got their problems. But but the hero of the Bible, the great redemption story, is not about humanity. It’s about the Lord and what God does. And to see him as the hero which says to all of us that we we all have an opportunity to walk with Jesus, because God does that miraculous work within our lives that is not about them being heroes. It’s about the Lord being the hero and us following after him.

So waiting, waiting on the Lord. What does that look like for us? This is what we learn in Genesis chapter 21. And let me give you point number one in your notes. It’s this we have hope because God keeps his promises. Point. Point number one in your notes we have hope because God keeps his promises. In Genesis chapter 21, verse one, this is exactly what we find. The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah, as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. I love this in the first seven verses we’ve actually talked about these seven when we were dealing with Genesis chapter 18. But in these first seven verses Sarah says this twice. She wants to identify how old Abraham is because she is a princess and she does not age. All right. That’s what Sarah means. Abraham, look at you. You had a child and you’re really old. Abraham. She says choice in this. Abraham is so old, not me. And she identifies this twice. But, but, but here’s what we want to see is that God is a promise. Fulfiller. And I love that in Scripture. Um, and it’s important for us to be reminded of this because as people, we can get jaded by experiences that we have in life and we need something to trust in.

But but knowing that God is faithful, it becomes that place for us to learn to trust in him. When all other things can disappoint you in life, it’s the faithfulness of the Lord, the. Promises of God that we can trust in, as long as it is God that made the promise and not what we want God to be, but rather who God says he is. And God in this passage, he he fulfills his promises. Theologians refer to this as the veracity of God. Veracity is not just the idea of of truth, but the adherence to truth. That God doesn’t just doesn’t simply say what truth is, but he clings to what he tells us he will do. Right? He he, he holds to it. And the veracity of God’s truthfulness is made known in this passage. And when it comes to the promises of God, it’s important to remember that God doesn’t work on our timetable, that he works on his, that our our calling in the Lord is to be faithful to him. And as we’re faithful to him, we see how God works that out in our lives that we are. We are called to trust, and God is the one that provides. And Abraham and Sarah have been learning this lesson in good times and bad, in faithfulness to the Lord, and sometimes in needing the Lord’s correction in their life. They see that God’s hand is is faithful, fulfills his promises, and it’s in the midst of even their own pain.

In Genesis chapter 21, verse 3 to 7, if you remember this passage from a few weeks ago, remember it says in verse three, Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him whom Sarah bore to him. Isaac and Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, just as God had promised or God had commanded him. In verse five, Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, God has made laughter for me. Everyone who hears will laugh over me. And she said, who? Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age. See, Sarah says it again, man, you’re really old, Abraham. Hey, look at look at how old he is. Everybody ignore me. Look how old he is. Um, but here’s what he’s saying. Is Isaac’s name for us becomes a picture. Are you going to think of how how difficult it, um. This would have been for Abraham and Sarah? Uh, Abraham at 65 or. Excuse me, Abraham at 75. Sarah at 65. Following after the Lord being called in ur of the Chaldeans. Could you imagine how this conversation would have gone with friends and family? This is not a day and age where people just packed up and moved hundreds of miles.

You were born, lived and died all within a 50 mile radius. That was custom. To then just pack up and move hundreds of miles away would have been insane. Your protection as an as a person wherever you lived was the the family group around you. There were no police to call to move to a foreign land as as just a few people was to leave you vulnerable. And so for Abraham and Sarah to do this would have been wild. But then if someone were to ask, and why are you doing this? For them to respond at 75 and 65 years old, oh, God’s going to give us a kid like that would have been absolutely batty. People would have thought, should we put them in an institution or should we just celebrate what they’re doing? This sounds crazy. These people that think they need help. But, uh, Lord be with you. Right? Listen, that would have been a very difficult thing for them. But. But not only that to say, this is what God promised us. And then to go decades where it didn’t happen. For Sarah, this would have deepened the pain because, culturally speaking, for Sarah, in her day, a woman’s worth was determined by how she would bear children. I’m not saying that’s good or godly or right. That’s just simply what the culture was during that time period. In fact, if you were to get married after ten years, if a if a child wasn’t born there, there were laws in those lands that said you could divorce your wife because she could not give you an heir, she could not give you a child.

And during those days, a family survival. Your retirement plan was based on the size of your family. As you got older, your kids took care of you if you want a protection. It was the family that worked as the police to the protection of life around you. And so to not have children was to leave you vulnerable. And a woman’s worth was became degrading if she couldn’t bear children. And and so for for Sarah, this became shameful. In fact, when Hagar finally produced a child through through Abraham, she birthed Ishmael. Hagar’s response to Sarah was to mock her. And so, as God gave that promise every day, that promise wasn’t fulfilled. For Sarah, that could have been a place of tension, a place of despair, a place of trouble. This is why, when God repeated the promise to them in Genesis chapter 17 and 18, that their reaction, Abraham’s reaction was to fall over laughing. Sarah’s reaction was to laugh at the Lord, which, by the way, if you want to be known in Scripture, laughing at God is not a good one, right? But that’s what they do. And when you read about Sarah’s laughter in Genesis 17, Sarah’s laughter is the cynical laughter. It’s this laughter, as if to hide her pain, because what else can she do but just simply laugh at the situation because it’s a reminder to her of what she’s not been and what she doesn’t have, and the people.

That that make fun of her because she didn’t do what what women in her day were supposed to do. And so for Sarah, the idea of laughter was a place of of deep pain. But God chose to tell them to name their son Isaac, as a reminder that God can take the darkest, deepest pains of our life and use it as a symbol of triumph, as a place of hope. And this is exactly what Isaac’s name represents. That God intervened in the life of Sarah and provided exactly what he had promised. And God took a situation that was difficult for Abraham and Sarah, and he made it a place of of victory and celebration. And every time they mention the name Isaac, it’s a reminder of that. And guys, can I can I say the same thing for you when it comes to the Lord? God can take the darkest places of our life and choose to to make it an emblem of celebration and what he has done. And the reason we can say that as Christians is because our very faith is is represented that way. What I mean is, as Christians, we often carry the cross of Christ around because it’s a a symbol of victory.

But if you think about what the cross represents, the cross was the darkest day in all of history that God died and humanity killed him. But it became the symbol of victory because three days later, Jesus overcame the grave. For you and for me, the cross becomes a place where our lives are reconciled to the Lord. The darkest day in history became the emblem of celebration for God’s people. And if God can can do that at the cross, imagine what he can do in your life. And sometimes I know we we come to stories like this and we think, yeah, that’s good for them. But that doesn’t relate. That’s not for me. Like, this is Abraham and Sarah we’re talking about. That’s not me. But can I remind you, Abraham and Sarah are 190 years old. It’s never too late to trust in what God desires to do. I don’t care where you’ve come from, what you’ve done, what God desires to do in your life is incredible and miraculous, and God can take the darkest parts of your life and use it as a symbol of celebration. How God can redeem those things for us. And that’s what the name Isaac represents, that God takes our cynical laughter and turns it into a laughter of joy and the way that he provides for us. We have hope because God keeps his promise. And so here’s what’s important for us. Then the next point for you take your next step to walk in God’s promises.

Take your next step to walk in God’s promises. I know for some of us, and maybe someone here this morning, you’re coming into a church this morning. You might feel like your life is just hanging by a thread, and you’re going to give this God thing a chance or a shot or or maybe to follow after the Lord. You know, there might be some consequences in relationships that you face. But God’s call for your life is to to look forward to just simply say, What is God say? And how do I take my next step to trust in the promises that he gives to me? God will not disappoint. It has a pastor. I try to walk mindful of this, recognizing, you know, we all come from different places in life, but at the end of the day, if there’s one thing I know that we can trust in, it’s the sacredness of God’s Word and who he is and how he communicates himself in His Word. I mean, when you look at the credibility of Scripture, it is incredible. Um, from an archaeological standpoint, which we’ll deal with that here at the very end, the way the, the archaeologically the Bible can be demonstrated prophecy in the Old Testament declaring the goodness of who Jesus is. Hundreds of years before Jesus, uh, appears eyewitness accounts in Scripture that the Bible is written by eyewitnesses who who were a part of Jesus’s own ministry.

The manuscripts we have of the Old and New Testament, the early church Fathers, who who wrote about the beauty of Christ even beyond Scripture itself. We have church fathers who would have walked with the disciples, sharing with us God’s Word, to the point that even faced martyrdom and Jesus’s own disciples and and the early Church fathers facing martyrdom because of their faith in Christ. I mean, it is incredible the the foundation of Scripture, the foundation of of our faith. And to get to the point today to to share with you the importance of you taking your next step and your promises. Uh, the promises that God gives to you in verse eight. This is how Abraham and Sarah do it. And the child talking about Isaac grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. Um, as they they look at this child being born, they’re just celebrating God’s promises in their life to the point that they have a a weaning party. I don’t I don’t know how many of you have ever been a part of a weaning party. Right? Like the gender reveal was so last year. You guys, if you ever want to think about a new kind of party you can have, it’s the weaning party. This is typically when a child between the ages of 2 to 3, at least during Abraham’s time, they would celebrate this, that next step of growth in their life when they were weaned from their mother.

But not everybody wants to celebrate what God’s doing in your life, and that’s why it’s so important to focus on the promises of God and what God calls you to, just to take your next step with him. What does God desire for you to do right now? What is God calling you to in your relationship with him? And what excuses are you making? Or what are you allowing other people to to be in your life to make excuses to your relationship with the Lord? And verse nine it says, But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, laughing. See here is there, enjoying what God has done in their lives. They’re recognizing not everyone is on board with what God desires to do in their lives. And it says in the story that Ishmael is laughing at Isaac. Uh, most likely Isaac is around the age of 2 or 3. Ishmael is somewhere around the age of 16, and he’s mocking his younger brother. Now, if you know how the story unfolds, you know here in just a minute, God’s going to say to Abraham, it’s okay to send Hagar away, right? But but the reason God is saying this is important. And I think the reason we find why God says this is found in this word laughing.

Uh, this word laughing is a is a very broad word in the way that it’s used in, in the Old Testament. It has all kinds of meanings. It could mean something as simple as as, uh, laughter. Right? You’re just laughing at something or you’re laughing at someone. It could mean that. And in this situation, I would say if it does specifically mean that, that Abraham should step in and deal with the tension between two brothers, because every once in a while they laugh at each other, right? They they poke at each other, they laugh. And it’s a good teaching moment. I’m a father of four boys. It happens constantly in our home. Right. And it’s a good time to help them understand how to treat one another with love and respect. But that word laughing also has a much more sinister meaning in Scripture. In fact, I gave you just a couple passages here in Second Samuel. There’s a passage where there are two individuals who who are individuals who come together and it uses the word play to describe their interaction. But here’s how they play. They play to the point they kill each other. That’s what happens in second Samuel chapter two, verse 14 and 16. They come together to actually physically fight and kill one another. That’s they’re playing. Or in judges chapter 16, it’s what’s used in verse 25 to describe the way people were treating Samson. If you remember the story of Samson, this is after his eyes were gouged out and they had him chained as a slave, and they bring him out to mock him.

And so this is talking about the demise. The this is really the chapter where Samson dies or the story where Samson dies. And so this is not just, I think in this passage in Genesis chapter 21, this is not just Ishmael teasing his younger brother. I think Ishmael has ill intent towards Isaac to the point that he desires to to harm him. And when it comes to your faith journey with the Lord, not everyone’s going to care about your walk with Jesus. In fact, some people might downright. Hate it, but God doesn’t call you to live your relationship with him based on what other people say. God calls you to live your relationship with him based on what he says. And so when you go on this journey, there’s a few things you want to look for. First, you want to find people that support you, that encourage you, and then you might find people that just simply give you permission. They let you live that out. They just you get permission. They don’t necessarily on board with what you’re doing, but at least you have the freedom to do it. But then there’s other people who are just downright antagonistic. And when it comes to antagonistic people, you don’t want to be mean to them, right? The Bible doesn’t say, well, when someone’s antagonistic to me, I need to be mean to you, right? You throw mud at me.

Well, I’ll put you in your place and I’ll throw mud in return. That’s not what Scripture says at all. Romans chapter 14, verse 12. It says, bless and do not curse even those that have ill intent towards you. That’s the kind of people we, we, we are called to be. But in order to move forward in any relationship, what you need is a place of humility, right? If someone’s adverse to you, they’re communicating that you’re not in a place to be able to interact healthy in relationship. So what that relationship needs from you is not necessarily a slammed door, because God can always work in it later, but rather you just give them a time out. You say, you go sit over here for a minute, right? Because this is what God has called me to, to, to be. And I want to bless you. I care about you, I love you, I want the best for you. But we can’t interact directly in this until there’s this place of humility to experience the goodness of God and reconciliation and relationship. But we can certainly move forward with, with, with, with people that are supportive and at least permissive. And sometimes as a pastor, just I guess I’ll just be frank here is not everybody that comes through our door, always has the best intentions, right? Could have all kinds of different reasons people might have for showing up at a church.

I want to assume the best of everyone, right? And I do right. And until someone gives me a reason to think otherwise, like, let’s be a little concerned here, but, but, but here’s what we look for. God has created this church for a purpose. We want to live out that purpose. We want a group of people that come together to support the cause for which God has created his church to accomplish on this world. The church lives for a mission, and if you don’t want to live on that mission, do you at least give permission? Meaning, are you willing to at least, you know, sit in the seat and listen to what God says? You be a a benchwarmer for a minute and and hopefully the Lord can open up your heart to what God desires to do. Either one of those positions. Great. We can still move forward. Ultimately, we want to support that cause together. But not everyone has those desires. Some people are just antagonistic. And so for us as God’s people, what do we do? We can’t control them. We just simply remain faithful to what God has called us to do, to be who God has called us to be. And we pray for them. We have the best hope for them. We keep an open door for the opportunity of what God can do.

But what God calls us to is to follow after him and then verse ten, it goes on and it says this. Um, well, maybe not. There we are. So skip ahead too far. Oh well, let me show you this real quick from Galatians 429 talking about Ishmael. It says this. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit. So also it is now in Galatians 429, Paul is writing about Ishmael and Sarah, and he’s saying, if you want to know Ishmael’s attitude towards Isaac, it was to persecute him. His heart’s desire was not for the best of Ishmael. And in verse ten it goes on and says, so she said to Abraham, Sarah said to Abraham, cast out this slave woman with her, with her son. For the son of the slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And this thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. What we call this in verse ten is baby mama drama. That’s what’s happening. And but here’s here’s what you see in verse 11 is Abraham’s heart still torn? And the reason Abraham’s heart still torn is he. He cares about Ishmael, right? I mean, this is his child. And we as individuals, we walk in this world and we experience conflict and relationship. It weighs on us because because we’re people. And God created us for relationship.

And we want to experience the goodness of relationship. And in a fallen world, it doesn’t always happen, but our heart should be for the best of people what God desires to do in the lives of people. We’re not here to fight against people. God wants us to fight for people. Not everyone wants to participate what the Lord desires to do. And so we just patiently wait for their hearts to be ready. What God desires more than anything is is the heart of people. God’s pursuing our hearts, and God has sent you out as a messenger in order to reach those hearts and to minister for him to to to care for those hearts. In fact, we say as a church, if you love the Lord, one of the best things you can do to show your love for the Lord is seen in how you love other people, whether it be people that are for you or against you, because you’re always honoring the Lord and the way that you care for people, because people are made in God’s image, doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everybody. But if I want to truly honor the Lord, if one of the best ways I can do that is seen in how I care for people around me, because people are made in the image of God. And here you see in verse 11, Abraham has that concern for Ishmael.

His heart is torn. He wants the best. He wants to see what God can do in this story. But in this moment, Ishmael’s intentions are ill, ill intended towards Isaac. And so in verse 12, God said to Abraham, be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do what she tells you. For through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring. So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. He just keep that idea of wonder in your mind for a minute. We’ll come back to that in just a few. But but God, God permits the removal of of Hagar and Ishmael and a couple of things we could point out here. Um, one, at the end of the day, you’ve got to protect your family. And God’s desire is for you to produce a home in which you can provide shelter, comfort. You know the home needs to be a place where you can nurture growth. And in these moments, Abraham’s home is not safe. And so Abraham wants to provide that safety. If if Hagar and Ishmael didn’t have ill intent towards Sarah and and Isaac, certainly that could have happened.

But but in these moments it’s not safe. And so God permits their removal and and one of the reasons I think this also happened is because of a promise God gave in Genesis 16. If you remember in Genesis 16, Hagar, this is not the first time she’s run away from the home or left the home. And the first time in Genesis chapter 16, she left because of problems with her relationship with Sarah. She had been mocking Sarah because Sarah couldn’t have a child and and Sarah attacked Hagar and Hagar ran away. But God, in those moments promised Hagar. And in Genesis chapter 16, verse 12, that you will have a wild donkey of a son. And I know, um, hearing the promise you’re going to have a wild donkey of a son. If you have a child, you would think, Lord, don’t ever give me that promise, right? Like having four boys. I do not want to have a wild donkey of a son. That’s not. That is not what I’m looking for. But for Hagar, this promise would have also been an encouraging promise. Um. And the reason for that is, is because God was saying to her, your son is going to be free. Uh, a wild donkey is a donkey that roams free in the land. Hagar, being a slave, hearing her son was going to be free would have been a delight to her heart.

And now, in this story, she is finally set free. So Hagar moves in this freedom. And then in verse 14, this is what I find interesting. Let me be a little bit controversial. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Narrative doesn’t tell us. You can speculate from this passage if you want, but when God says you’re free to send off Hagar, I kind of wonder if the way Abraham sent her off was a way that would have been pleasing to the Lord. I mean, when you read this passage, what it says is he gave Hagar a bread, water, and Ishmael, and said, put it on her shoulders and says, it’s all on you, right? You think if you’re about to send someone off in this day and day and age like, or during the time of Abraham, this day and age, to send them off like that, that would have been an unsafe thing. Um, they could have been left to to the animals. They could have been left to marauders. They could have been robbed. They could have been. They could have been captured. Who knows. Right. And so the question I have is, is this really the way God wanted would have wanted her sent off? I mean, he could have given her a camel, could have loaded that up. Right? He could have blessed her even though he’s having to separate his. God had promised here in this passage, like, is this really what the Lord had wanted? The other the other alternative to that is to say, look, Abraham is really trusting.

God said he’s going to provide for her. Abraham is really trusting in the provision of the Lord by only giving her bread and water. But then it says in this passage that that Hagar wanders. And let me just say this point number three, in your notes, and I’ll move on. And talking about this idea of wandering is to say this let God handle the challenges your faith journey brings. Let God handle the challenges your faith journey brings. And sometimes we might play the what if game like God calls you to just take your next step with him, trusting that he’ll be enough, he’ll be sufficient, and what he desires to provide for you and calling you on that journey was. Sometimes we might play the what if game. What if this happens? What if that happens? I can’t take this step yet. Rather than trusting the Lord, we look to our circumstances. But God calls us to let him handle the challenges our faith journey brings. Because God is able to care for things when we can’t. Abraham can’t change the heart of Hagar. He can’t change the heart of Ishmael. God has to do that. He can try to force it. He can try to modify their behavior. But in modifying their behavior, he he will never reach their heart.

It’s like when you come into a relationship and things don’t go the way you want, and you get frustrated and you act in anger, your anger might get people to react, and they might even do what you want them to do based on your anger. But you completely isolate the heart. You completely alienate from true transformation. And so it’s important for us to to remember to do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone. But at the end of the day, you can’t do for everyone because you can’t control everybody’s hearts. And there comes a time where you just got to simply trust in what God desires to do. And God is. God is putting this in his hands and saying to Abraham, Abraham, let this go. You can’t control this, right? You trust in me. And then let me, let me handle the challenges that your faith journey might bring. And in verse 15, when the water and the skin was gone, Hagar put the child under one of the bushes, and she went and sat down opposite him, a good way off about the distance of a bowshot for she said, let me not look on the death of the child. And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice. And wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, what troubles you, Hagar? Fear not.

For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Let me say when when Hagar comes to this moment and it says, she puts down her son. The word really translates, lays him in his grave. She thinks that this is his dying spot, and when Hagar goes off from a distance, she doesn’t want to watch her son die. And she goes off in a distance and she picks her dying spot, too. And Hagar, in these moments, we would say, is definitely in extreme poverty. But but when I talk about we talk about poverty, I want us to know in the West we tend to have a different picture, at least here in America, of what it means to be in poverty versus, I think, what the Bible says about poverty. Typically in the West, if you ask someone what is poverty mean? They’ll often respond with, you don’t have a lot of possessions, you don’t have a lot of wealth. But can I tell you guys that’s not true biblical poverty. That could be a type of poverty. But that’s not true poverty. In fact, some of the wealthiest people in the world are some of the poorest. And what I mean by that is, is God’s picture of poverty is much greater than just simply not having monetary wealth in this world. In fact, I would argue Jesus is the greatest example of that. And you follow a Savior who walked this earth in poverty, but yet his life was completely full of joy.

How is that possible? I think it’s because there’s a different way of defining poverty that we are often masked in our culture. We typically walk in American culture and realizing we lack things, and sometimes we might have a lot of monetary wealth. And so we’ll spend that wealth in order to acquire things, to kind of satisfy the brokenness that’s in us. Mother Teresa, once in talking about the the West, she said she referred to the West as being in poverty. But she said there, there poverty is different there. Poverty is is loneliness and spiritual brokenness. And I would argue loneliness is the worst kind of poverty. And and I don’t mean being alone. You can be alone and not be lonely. But I think loneliness is is the worst kind of poverty, because it recognizes the poverty that we have from the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. We talk about loneliness. What we mean is separated from God, right? This is the way Hagar feels in this passage. I mean, that’s what you see, right? Ultimately is she’s wandering. She’s wandering in verse 15, then that means she’s aimless and she’s aimless and she’s she’s broken. She comes to this place of despair. This is why she calls out to God. She feels lonely and in her loneliness is recognizing her poverty. And can I tell you, if you’re lonely in your relationship with God, like if you don’t feel connected to God, if you’re if you aren’t connected to God, then then not having a relationship with God, you can’t understand who you are because you’re created for his purpose.

And if you’re not connected to God and you don’t understand who you are, then you can’t live the reason for which God has created you. So you’re aimless, you’re purposeless in your life, and if you don’t understand the purpose for which you’re created, you can’t enjoy that in relationship with others. And so for for Hagar. Not only is she without some monetary things here, she doesn’t have food or water. She’s certainly run out of that. But she’s also bankrupt in her relationship. She’s a wanderer. She’s aimless, she’s purpose. She’s not connected to the Lord. But. But here’s what’s incredible. In that place. She calls out to God. And God hears. Even though there are problems with Hagar’s relationship with Sarah, even though there are problems with Ishmael’s relationship with Isaac. God still cares. God cares about Hagar. God cares about Ishmael, and God responds. Is that? I love that about Scripture. I think we talked about this just a couple of weeks ago where I said, you know, sometimes when we fail and we mess up, we often think as people, as people, the last place we want to turn to is, is God. Because we’re kind of embarrassed I messed up, I can’t face God.

I don’t want to talk to God. I can’t believe I did this. I’ve disappointed myself. I mean, how can I turn to the Lord? But but I encourage you. Uh, Psalm 51 A broken and contrite heart God does not despise. Some of the closest moments you’ll have with God. Or right after your worst failures as a human. Because it’s in that place of despair. You realize your great need. I am broken. I am in poverty. I need the Lord. Rather than run away from him. What God calls you to is to run to him. Psalm 68, verse five. God is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, that is God whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. He sets the prisoner free and gives them joy. But can I tell you and I need to do this? In closing, let me. Let me read this. I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you. Let me read this real quick. Up. God says, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation. Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin and water, and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy, and he grew up, and he lived in the wilderness, and he became an expert with the bow.

He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. Uh, I love this. God’s caring for her. Sometimes we do this as people. We get such and such. This a place of despair that all we see is what’s happening inside of us, right? The world just shrinks and we just feel our pain. But God is a God who lifts our head, who gets us, gives us the privilege to look beyond us, to know that there’s hope. As long as you’re with the Lord and God provides for her and provides for His Son, and not only not only cares for him in the moment, he also talks about their future. But here’s the unfortunate part of Hagar’s story. This is where her relationship with God ends. For some people, we’re not truly interested in a walk with God. What we’re interested in is for God to meet my needs so I can go on and live the life that I want to live. And this is exactly what Hagar does. Hagar has the provision of the. She leaves God in that provision and that’s it. There’s no relationship. She’s not interested in the Lord. She’s just interested in what the Lord is going to give her. And guys, can I encourage you this morning? That what God wants in your life is your heart. God’s desire is for a relationship in you and with you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 90 or 100. It doesn’t matter the regrets or what you might be holding on to. God desires for you to take your next step with him and for us. Sarah and Hagar become that picture in Hebrews chapter 11. Abraham and Sarah are people of faith. But the Bible goes on and reminds us in Galatians chapter four, Paul uses Hagar and Sarah as this picture of a life of faith or a life of just living. What I mean by law living is doing what you think is important for your own identity. In fact, the book of Galatians is written to the Jews who think that their salvation is up to them based on how they live. Right? The purpose of the law. They need to live out the law in order to demonstrate their salvation. It’s all about what they do. But Sarah was one of faith. It’s not about what they do. It’s about what God has done for them. And she wants to walk in that relationship because of who God is. And Paul uses that in Galatians four, talking about Sarah and Hagar, he says in verse 24, now this may be interpreted allegorically talking about their story. These women are two covenants, one talking about Hagar from Mount Sinai, bearing children. For for slavery she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia. She corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.

But the Jerusalem above is free and she is our mother. Talking about Sarah, that God’s called you to trust in what he has provided and to walk in that relationship. And so for all of us, we have that place of deciding is God just simply a relationship with him, just simply about what I get and moving on to do what I want? Or is it about truly walking with the Lord because of what he has done for me at the cross? You know what’s interesting about this story is we still know, or at least claim that we know where where Hagar’s well exists. Hagar’s. Well, you could well, it still exists. You can’t actually visit it. If you were to try to visit it, you would be killed under Sharia law. But we know we know where, um, uh, Hagar’s well, is or at least claim to know where Hagar’s well is. And it’s in the town of Saudi Arabia. It’s in a town in Saudi Arabia, in the city of Mecca. And just so happens that after Paul wrote Galatians for an unknown to Paul, about 500 plus years later, there would be a man born in Mecca named Muhammad. Muhammad would create a religion in which over a billion people follow, and in where Abraham’s Well or where Hagar’s Well is. It’s called Zamzam. They built the most sacred mosque to exist there. In fact, millions of Muslims travel there every year to to worship there.

And the bottom right, you see that little underground passageway that goes to Hagar’s well, on the top right, you see people drinking water from that. Well, it’s considered to to Muslims today the most holy water that they can drink. Um, but here’s what’s interesting. One of the things that uh, uh, Muhammad taught was the story of Abraham, that what people were truly to follow was not the way of Isaac, but rather the way of Ishmael. And so the claims for them today is that they should continue after the path of of Ishmael following the five pillars of Islam. I don’t want to draw any conclusion for that for you. I just want you to recognize one. There’s archaeology of the Bible, which is incredible, but but to understand, we all have a place, a decision to make and your faith journey with the Lord. In Galatians chapter four, Hagar was a picture, a picture really, of what not to do, but for you and for me. God has provided a way that deliverer came through through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, that you would have the opportunity to walk with him. God is a promise. Fulfiller what is the next step God calls you to in your relationship with him? Not to worry about the challenges that that walk would bring, but let God handle the challenges. You enjoy the relationship.