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Genesis 21-24


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                             
Thru the Bible in a Year
January 9                                                     Genesis 21-24
          The day arrives!  Abraham is 100 years old when his son is born!  The subsequent forced departure of Hagar and her son Ishmael is both predictable and regrettable. Like all good fathers, Abraham seeks to assure the security of his family in negotiations with Abimelech, but unlike many others, he is willing to give up his son if that is what God wants. After living on in prosperity and peace for at least another 25 years, Abraham has to live through the death of his own wife and the process of finding a wife for his son Isaac.
            God’s timing is uncertain, but His promises are sure!  The missteps we make and our mistakes carry in them certain unavoidable consequences. Hagar was not part of God’s plan for Abraham’s life. God does not reject her or her son (in fact He first saves them from death and then promises them a great future), but neither does he spare either Abraham or Hagar from the outcome of their actions:  Abraham’s impatience; Hagar’s arrogance. The fallibility in human relations are clear even for those who try to follow God.
            There is no exemption for Abraham from the challenges of relating to neighbors (Abimelech), totally committing himself to God, living through the death of loved ones, or worrying about the future of his child. Never the less, God is with Him through everything, sometimes blessing his relationships (with Abimelech), sometimes sparing him from the need to prove his devotion (the substitute offering for Isaac), sometimes sustaining him in his greatest grief (the death of Sarah), and sometimes providing what could not be obtained in any other way (a wife for Isaac).
      Do you ever worry that God has forgotten you, perhaps because of some difficulty you face or some relationship that is troubling.
      Do you ever think God requires too much of those who follow Him, either because of a commandment you have difficulty keeping or some restriction you have trouble obeying? 
      Do you ever wonder how you can live through a circumstance or event in your life because the pain or grief is just too great? 
      Do you ever catch yourself doubting God’s willingness (or ability) to meet your need?
            If so, you are in good company. The hero of the faith, the Father of God’s People, one of the most prominent and blessed men in all of biblical history faced the same kinds of problems and doubts that you (and I) do.
      So where's the hope in that?  Just this: Abraham made it through because God came through, and so can we because so will He.
            Think of something you fear or are worried about today and after reading about Abraham, remind yourself that while it’s always surprising what God can do it’s also predictable that He will act on our behalf. God’s timing is uncertain, but His promises are sure! 
      Trust in His love and keep going.
© A. Eugene Pearson  2011