Friday, April 1, 2011

Genesis 17:15-27

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” (vs. 15-16)

Okay, friends, today’s passage is a new favorite of mine! And, although I’d love to come up with something new and inspired on this passage, I know that I don’t have an original thought in my brain! I’m a compilation of all the things I’ve heard and read before. But, somehow, the Holy Spirit will use those mixed up thoughts in my brain to give me a fresh look at something I’ve seen before. So, for today’s look at this last half of Gen. 17, I’m giving many thanks to Beth Moore - for no one says it better! :)

God has just finished confirming His covenant and given a new name to Abraham. In chapter 16, He appeared to Hagar and blessed her. So, what about Sarai? Well, here are the two most encouraging words of the day from verse 15: God also... Oh, how grateful I am that God did not forget Sarai!!! Beth points out, however, that God did not appear with this great blessing to Sarai directly as He had done to Hagar and Abraham. What gives? Was He snubbing her, because of the mess she’s created with Hagar? We know that it’s not because she was a woman, and therefore the blessing must come through her husband, because He DID speak directly to Hagar. So why give this great news to Abraham instead of to Sarah?? Well, Beth speculates, and I really like this thought, that possibly Abraham needed to hear that Sarah was blessed, even more than she needed to hear it! Here’s Beth’s take:

I don’t believe God was avoiding Sarai to punish her for her foolish decisions. Goodness knows Abraham made plenty. God may have wanted Abraham himself to view Sarah as blessed, changing how Abraham - as her husband - identified her.

Possibly Abraham thought Sarai was the obstacle to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Obviously, Ishmael proved Abraham still had the ability to sire a son in the years immediately following the promises. Sarai was the holdup. Whether or not Abraham consciously deducted such, his attitude suggests that he believed Sarai’s barrenness was more powerful than God’s promises. That’s why he kept suggesting others ways of helping God to fulfill His promise, not the least of which is found in Genesis 17:18, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” In his wildest imagination, Abraham did not think God could use Sarai. She was, after all, unfruitful. Unable. Unusable.

That very well may be why God spoke Sarai’s blessings into Abraham’s own ears. Abraham needed to stop seeing his wife as the hang-up and start seeing her as the “how.”

Okay - now doesn’t that totally speak to you?? Haven’t we all. at some point, seen someone, including possibly our spouses, as the “holdup” in our blessings?? I know that when I was a young wife and mother, I certainly held the notion that if only Don would be the spiritual leader in our home, and become active at church and involved in Bible study, our home would be truly blessed. How I thank God that He called me out on that one early on! You see, I had written in my prayer journal this very “sanctified” prayer list for Don: that he would become the spiritual leader, do devotions with our girls, get into a good men’s Bible study, come to church, etc. All things that I was sure were what God wanted for Don (and actually, I do believe that would be God’s desire, as well). However, while I had this list to pray over, I was actually sowing seeds of discontent in my heart while I waited for the perfect Don!

One morning, as I was praying over this list, God very clearly spoke to me. It was only one of two times in 35 years that I actually believe I heard His voice speaking in my ear: “Sally, you are to love Don just the way He is TODAY, because that’s the way I love him!” Wow! I took my pencil and crossed off the list, and wrote in the margin, “Thank you, God, for Don, just the way he is today!” I can’t tell you how that freed me up to see the wonderful husband God had given me. He may not have led devotions, but he was the most devoted husband and father I could have asked for. This actually, I believe, removed a barrier that I had placed between Don and God with my discontent. I was waiting for him to change, and I’m sure Don was resisting that somehow. Anyway, it revolutionized my marriage, and let God go to work freely. After all, He loves our loved ones much more than we do!

I am so thankful that Sarai, became Sarah, the princess, who would have kings as her descendants. And I’m so grateful that God let Abraham know just how blessed she was! My name is a derivative of Sarah, so I, too, am a “princess” - a daughter of the King of Kings!

Running late!

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