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Faith and Fulfillment. God does what he said he would do.

The Life of Faith

Faith and Fulfillment
Genesis 21:1-21

Genesis 21. Verse 1. The Lord took thought of Sarah. Focus is on Sarah. God was granting grace to Sarah. Verse 2. Appointed time. God is in charge of this process. Timing can make you nuts. Abraham responds in obedience. Verses 3-4. He never forgot his obligation. By the way, this is the picture of faith and works. Works come after faith. Not to produce grace but in response to it. Verse 5. Abraham was one hundred. Lucado pg. 30 Abraham had a different name for God: Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. It's ironic that Abraham would call God "provider," since Abraham was well provided for already. He lived in a split-level tent with a four-camel garage. Life was good in Ur But life will be better in Canaan," he told his family. So off they went. When they asked, "Where will we live?" Abraham answered, God will provide." And God did. When they got caught in an Egyptian scandal, the people wondered, "How will we get out?" Abraham assured them, "God will provide." And he did. When they split up the land and nephew Lot took the grassland and left Uncle Abraham with the rocks. How will we survive?" Abraham knew the answer: "God will provide." And he did. And when Abraham and Sarah stood next to the empty crib and she wondered how he'd ever be the father of thousands, he'd put his arm around her; whispering, "The Lord will provide." And God did. And Abraham bounced his firstborn on his hundred-ear old bony knees Verse 6, Sarah rejoiced. Humorous thought, Sarah the 89-year-old pregnant woman. Down at the senior citizens center. Stomach out to there. The rest of the ladies are talking and quilting, Sarah is knitting booties. Talking baby talk. People had always laughed at her. Now they were laughing with her. On the other side, consider the pain. Bearing a child without modern prenatal care is difficult enough. For a 90 year old woman. Intolerable. Then the bouncing bundle of energy. Late nights. Stomach viruses. Cholic. Difficult thing. Then if she thought of all that she would miss. So old, miss little league. First date. Wanting to borrow the chariot. Grandchildren. Graduation from Bethlehem high. Easy to focus on the loss.

December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl. Everyone knows that. But did you also know that in the months following there was an all out battle for the Philippines. The US troops under General Douglas MacArthur were being pushed off the island by superior forces. There was no hope of re-supply or reinforcements. It was a hopeless cause. On Corrigedor, MacArthur decided to stay with his men. The president had other plans. Spirited him away by a submarine in the middle of the night. MacArthur later gave a brief statement to a military press writer. The end of it went like this: The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary objective of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return. I shall returned. Nobody knew if he would be able to keep that promise. The tide of war turned. USA was driving for Japan. Decision on strategy, continue the island hopping and push for the heart of the enemy, or liberate the Philippines. MacArthur had a promise to keep. He turned the might of the American military toward the Philippines. Liberated the island. Waded ashore and said, I have returned. MacArthur had credibility. He did what he said. In baseball, Babe called his shot and then hit the spot. The babe had credibility. In 1969 Joe Namath said the underdog Jets would whip the invincible Colts. Nobody thought they could. But they did. Broadway Joe gained credibility. Do what you said you would do. Thats what builds credibility. And that is what Genesis 21 is about. God did for Abraham and Sarah what he said he would do. Remind them of the story.

Why did you have to wait so long Lord? But she didnt do that. Rejoiced.

Verse 14 - 16 demonstrates Hagars ineptitude. By all accounts she was probably trying to get back to Egypt. Even in her failure God gives grace, this time to Ishmael. Verse 17, God heard. Remember the name of Ishmael? God hears.

Notice no remorse. Grace without the questions. Accepted the good and ignored the rest. I mean, consider the implications: Aging parents with small children. All they would miss. Never occurred to them. Unbridled joy. Verse 8, when they weaned him there was a party. Not common. Weaned at 2 or 3. Some say as late as 3 or 4. Huge celebration. Stewing in the corner, the forgotten one: Ishmael. Sibling rivalry. Ishmael mocking. The word was a derivative of Isaacs name. Isaac was Yitschaq from to laugh. This is a verb form, tsachaq. Could have been the name Ishmael used. Look at little tsachaq. Probably worse than that. Galatians 4:29 GAL 4:28 and you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. [29] But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him, who was born according to the Spirit, Paul says, Persecuted. He deviled him to the point of danger. Remember the character of Ishmael. Genesis 16:12. [12] "And he will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's hand will be against him; This puts Sarahs decision into perspective. Ishmael was 15 - 17 years old. Now growing steadily more dangerous. Angry. Belligerent. The Bible has ample illustrations of sibling conflict that grows deadly. Cain and Able. Sarah was protecting her son. The decision to put him out was in keeping with an ancient law cod. Hammurabi Law 146. Children of slaves who were not made heirs must be set free as compensation. Verse 11 Abrahams heart. Not only out of fear for Ishmael. He was old enough. But out of losing his son. Verse 12, God reassured him. Verse 14 rose early. Get it over with.

Verse 18-21. They survived. Principles to Apply.


God Word is Credible, Trust In His Promise

This whole passage is about credibility. You can trust the Father. I say that repeatedly because some of you wonder. Ill. . .Kathy of Father Knows Best. Perfect TV world but behind the cameras and lights another story. Neglected. At a school. Nuns. Waiting on her father. Never showed. Lights in the drive. Excited runs through a plate glass. Nuns called to tell the father and he still never showed. Talk to girls 14 years old. At home at night alone. Worried. Mom gone. Dad gone. Cant trust anyone. Cant depend on them to do what they said. God isnt like that. You can trust him. He has credibility.

II. Gods Timing is Uncertain, Rest in His Sovereignty.

When the time was right. Long waiting. This is the test of faith.

III. Gods Joy is Coming, IV. Focus on His Blessing.

Not the heartache. We tend to forget the blessing and focus on what is missing. Never see that in Sarah. Gods grace comes at unexpected times Sarah sitting there. According to his timing. 2. Gods Grace comes in unexpected ways. Ishmael leaving the tents of Abraham was probably the worst thing at the moment. But the only way to get his blessing. Listen again to Max Lucado

Make speci note of the word like. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are they even like ours. We aren't even in the same neighborhood . Were thinking preserve the body; he's thinking, Save the soul. We dream of a pay raise. He dreams of raising the dead. We avoid pain and seek peace. God uses pain to bring peace.. "I'm going to live before I die," we resolve. "Die, so you can live," he instructs. We love what rusts. He loves what endures. We rejoice at our successes. He rejoices at our Confessions. We show our children the Nike star with the million-dollar smile and say, Be like Mike. God points to the crucified carpenter with bloody lips and a torn side and says, Be like Christ. P 39. Our job is to accept his grace as it comes.