Faithless People Before a Faithful God

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
How do you exercise patience? minutes/days/weeks/years
Genesis 16:1–6 ESV
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
Illustration: Assembling flat-packed furniture. When you disregard instruction, nothing comes together right.
Sarai has assumed that due to her advancing age she is barren.
After 10 years of waiting for an heir, Sarai proposes a faithless plan. (She is not alone in a lack of faith.)
Hagar, the Egyptian servant, is given to Abram as a wife. A legal practice of the time, but not a God-honoring practice.
Deuteronomy 17:14–17 ESV
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
Abram and Hagar conceive and Sarai’s jealousy flares up. “May the wrong done to me be on you!”
So Hagar begins to look down on Sarai, Sarai is upset with Abram, and Abram tells Sarai to deal with Hagar however she pleases.
Every action is sin:
v2. Sarai & Abram doubt the promised heir will come. “15:4 - your very own son shall be your heir.”
v3. Sarai gives Hagar, Abram accepts, Hagar consents
v4. Abram continues this action to the point of conception. Hagar begins to look down on Sarai and consider herself to be Abram’s “true wife.”
v5. Sarai pours out her frustration onto Abram
v6. Abram does not deal with the situation but empowers Sarai to do what is right in her own sight. Sarai “deals harshly” with Hagar. Hagar flees.
Every action of man is sinful.
Genesis 16:7–16 ESV
7 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
Every action of God is purposeful. (Perfect)
How did Hagar come to be pregnant?
God opens and closes the womb at his will. (Ge 16:2; Ge 20:18; Ge 21:2; Ps 139:13; Ps 51:5; Luke 1:7, 24; Luke 1:35)
Therefore we can determine that Ishmael is a fulfillment of God’s will and purpose.
The Hard Question: If the actions of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar in verses 1-6 are sinful and against God, then how can God use them?
God cannot sin.
Mankind is sinful from conception.
God ordains our sinful action to accomplish His sovereign purpose.
Genesis 21:12–13 ESV
12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
Joshua 2:1 ESV
1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.
Joshua 2:12–14 ESV
12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
Judges 16:30 ESV
30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Esther 7:9–10 ESV
9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.
Daniel 4:34 ESV
34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
Jonah 1:14–16 ESV
14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Does this mean that God acts in wickedness? No! Man’s wickedness cannot overcome God’s purpose.
What response should we have to this truth?
Acts 4:27–30 ESV
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more