Skip to main content

Genesis 16 Revisited

Sunday night's sermon came from Genesis 16. There's the link, if you want the outline and the audio. The sermon really ended up sounding like two different sermons kind of shoe-horned together. There's a reason for that---and it's not that I'm a bad preacher. I mean, that might be true, but that's not why that happened.

Genesis 16 has a couple of different storylines to address. Typically, the focus goes on Abram and Sarai's decision to "help God out" by having Abram father a child with Hagar, Sarai's handmaid. There's plenty of reason to look at this, and that's where the sermon outline went. ultimately, keep in mind that the morals and practices of the day and culture we live in do not define what is right.

God defines what is right. Contemporary culture has been wrong before, but God never has. Go with the One with the perfect record.

I want to, instead, take a minute to look at Sarai and Hagar's relationship. Actually, I don't want to look at that. Why?

Because it reminds me of me too much. This story highlights what happens when we sin. Often we think that sin is just about us and our relationship with God. We've kind of over-bought David's line in Psalm 51:4 that he sinned against God and God alone. It is true that sin is about violating God's holiness and that sin is really between the sinner and God.

Except that's like saying the shotgun blast is only between and the duck I was shooting at. In the end, yes, but there's other pellets that scattered and can hurt others. In this case, the pattern was fired at God's plan and promise and the sin was failure to trust that obeying God's standards would be enough.

But Hagar got caught with a few stray pellets. Now, it's easy to point out that Hagar got a little haughty, and to then say that Abram and Sarai were justified to get harsh and drive her from home after she had been given to Abram "as his wife" (read Genesis 15:3. That's what the text says.)

We need to see this clearly so that we can learn how to apply this into our own lives: when we sin, even when it's not a "bad sin" but rather our typical "good sins" of helping God by doing some of His work for Him, other people get hurt. It's hard to call them "innocent' people since we're all sinners, but in these cases they are often at least innocent to our choice.

Or we've maneuvered them to think they have no choice. Any way we slice it, it's really our responsibility that these folks have the problems we've created.

So, what are we going to do about it?

1. Learn to see when we're making mistakes. Fix them---including not compounding those errors by adding new ones.

2. Find, as best we can, the people we've put into bad places by our choices. Explain our own repentance and offer a pure, clean apology. Not a "sorry, but…." apology. A real one.

3. Strive to be proactive. If we would learn to trust the Lord God and His ways, we'd hurt fewer people on the front end.

4. Focus. God's people should have a singular focus to look at Him, but our peripheral vision should always note the people around us. Besides---God is with those people, either in them as His or working in conviction to draw them to Himself. How can you focus on God and not see people?

Comments

  1. Doug,

    Love the hunting analogy ;D

    Good thoughts, and a good reminder to keep our eyes on the others affected by our decisions/sin.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…