After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great.” And Abram said, “Oh Lord God, what wilt thou give me since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
The text above includes the first mention of anyone “believing the Lord” in the Bible. Noah found favor with the Lord and Enoch walked with the Lord, but Abram believed the Lord. God gave him a personal promise and Abraham believed the Lord. This was a promise for very specific blessings that involved increase. The Lord said, “Not only am I going to bless you, but also if you can count the stars, you’ll know how much I’m going to bless you. I’m going to increase you.” Everyone on the planet would like to be blessed and to increase. Right?
God wants to increase the blessings that people experience, but He has a way of doing it that is totally contrary to the world’s way of getting people blessed. I’m afraid that there’s so much of the world in us that we don’t realize that often we’re pursuing the blessings of God in the world’s way. Now God doesn’t mind you pursuing His blessings. But there are some things that need to happen in your heart so that it will be “safe” for Him to bless you!
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go into my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian her maid and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. (Gen 16:1-6)
Sarah hatched a plan to make the blessing happen. And with Abraham (and Hagar), she created a world of frustration and strife instead.
Two Frustrated Women Reveal Two Important Spiritual Lessons
Do you realize what we’re looking at here? We’re looking at two women who engineered a plan to do God’s job for Him! No doubt this was rooted in insecurity and a desire to be more affirmed and treasured by the power brokers. But instead they opened up a big can of worms! (now you understand the crazy graphic at the beginning of this post!)
Sarah and Hagar are now two miserable ladies. There is a picture of humanity in these two ladies. They both represent a peculiar type of difficulty that many people experience. Each of these ladies had to learn a lesson. We would do well to learn from their struggles as well.
In the following posts we will unpack these important lessons.