This week the notes have been supplied by Marina and today we are reading Genesis 16:1-16.
One of the greatest heartaches must be to long for a child and yet remain infertile for year upon year. I have been blessed with three children so I can only imagine the anguish hopeful parents feel time and time again. I’m sure there must come a time when the longing becomes so great that you will try out all available help and assistance. Medicine has advanced greatly and many parents have successfully used medical intervention and have been blessed with the gift of a child. But for others even this route leads nowhere and the disappointment must, at times, feel all consuming. In today’s passage we can feel Sarai’s anguish. She knows God has promised Abram a child and yet she remains childless. There comes a point where Sarai decides that she needs to take matters into her own hands and help God out! This really struck a chord with me. I often try to help God fulfil plans but unfortunately they are my plans not God’s. Many of us like to be in control of our lives. We allow God into the ‘car’ of our lives but we leave Him in the passenger seat while we remain in the driving seat. When we look at this passage we can read on and find out what happens at the end of the story, but for Sarai it was different, she couldn’t see into the future. It’s so easy for us to say she should have trusted God. God always keeps His promises. But how often do we worry and stress about the future even though God has promised to take care of us?
The problem with a lack of trust is it leads us into doing our own thing in our own way and that means we often have to deal with the consequences. For Sarai to offer her servant to Abram was culturally acceptable, however, Hagar must have felt used and abused. It’s no wonder that she began to despise Sarai. When Sarai realises things are not working out the way she planned she started to blame Abram and treat Hagar badly. I’m sure that many of us have had to deal with the unwanted consequences when we’ve tried to go our own way rather than God’s way.
I love the way that God has compassion on Hagar. When she is running away, alone frightened and desperate the Lord ‘finds’ her. Sometimes we can feel the way Hagar feels, perhaps feeling alone or not knowing where to turn. However, even though Hagar was an unimportant servant girl with nothing to offer God He still seeks her out and makes astounding promises concerning her child. This same God is also there for us. Although God blesses us and cares for us He still asks us to do difficult things, to step out of our comfort zone and trust Him. He asked Hagar to return to Sarai and Abram. I’m sure Hagar would have dreaded the return, but she obeyed God and she went.
God has given us everything. He has given us Jesus. We have a relationship with Him and the gift of eternal life. He loves us and cares for us. He guides us and protects us. We have done nothing to earn this. All these are the free gift of God. In return God asks that we trust and obey Him in all circumstances, even when we feel despair.
Sometimes Lord I forget how big you are. I forget how powerful you are and I forget just how much you love me. I’m sorry for the times I haven’t trusted you. Please help me to focus on you when despair tries to take hold of me. Help me to trust and allow you into the driving seat of my life.