I heard my 2 year old screaming upstairs for a few minutes and decided that since it hadn't calmed down it must not be a simple fit. Up the stairs, I go to find out who did what and why?! When I get there my 7 yr old starts explaining what the 2 yr old had done, and then my oldest son says "that's not the way it went" and starts explaining how each person had done something equally mean and annoying to the other. So, once again it takes two to tango, but no one ever sees what they have done wrong and blame the other person. We have seen this since the beginning of time, with the first two humans.
This little episode was a perfect illustration of the story I've been studying... I recently decided to take a closer look at Sarah, Abraham's wife, the woman that God chose to begin the Hebrew nation and ultimately use to bless the whole world, with the birth of Jesus Christ.
For the last couple of years my "faith" or religion, whatever you want to call it has been taking a radical shift. I gave my heart to Christ at the age of 19 and from that point tried to prove my worth to God. I had a works based faith. If I could be a good enough person, then I could earn the favor of God. He had been so good to me and his love so extravagant that I could not wrap my head around His GIFT of salvation. The problem with that kind of religion is that I begin to think I am "good" and other people are "bad". All along I was not good though... as hard as I would try I knew there was no goodness in me. Oh, sure if you asked other people they might say that I'm a good person, but I know me and God knows me too.
As I have taken a closer look at the people that have a prominent place in scripture I can see a pattern. God takes regular humans, who act very human and intercedes in their lives in big ways and eventually, these humans don't become good people, they begin to see a GOOD GOD and FAITH in HIM begins to grow and characterize their lives. These are NOT moral people. God doesn't choose these people because they are good. He chooses US, because HE IS GOOD.
Take the story I am reading right now. Abram and Sarai are promised that they will be fruitful and multiply and that God will bless the world through their family. Eventually the promised Messiah will come through the seed of Abraham. The problem is they have been waiting a LONG time. 10 years has gone by since this promise from God and NOTHING.
Sarah being a woman after my own heart takes matters in her own had and decides to go with the custom of the day and give her servant Hagar to Abram as a wife, hoping she will supply the long awaited heir. When Hagar becomes pregnant she starts to despise Sarai and isn't afraid to show it. Sarai blames her husband for all of her unhappiness (which all of us women do), and will not be treated like this in her own tent, so she decides to use her power as Queen Bee and make Hagar's life hell...
At this point Hagar runs away, after a while she gets tired of running and sits down to refresh herself at a spring of water... Sound familiar. We get mad and pout and run away, only to wear ourselves out and make matters worse for ourselves. Do you notice she is trying to refresh herself??? Fill that need that only God can fill?! ANYBODY HEAR ME???
While she's sitting there the Bible says "And the Angel of the Lord found her there." God went looking for her. She didn't look for him.
"and he said, Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, where have you come from? And where are you going?"
Isn't that just like God... first he calls her by name (and Egyptian slave) and shows her how much he cares for her. Then he reminds her who she is, Sarai's servant. Isn't that just like God to remind us who we are. That pride that caused her to run says 'I do not have to put up with this.'
Then he asks her an even more loaded question... "Where are you going?" She has no where to go. It's her pride that drives her out into the wilderness and now she has no where to go and GOD FORBID she turn around. I've been there. My husband and I were in a fight one day and I left him here with 5 children (one being a nursing baby) and went and got a sonic diet coke and just sat there in that stall at Sonic, thinking now what? Now you have to kill this pride and walk back in that house with your head down in shame because you know you acted a fool, but I sure didn't want to. I wanted to head to Mexico, but what was I going do there? Where was I going to go? I belonged at home.
Hagar admitted "I fled from the face (or anger) of my mistress Sarai." God helps her to see that she was in the wrong as well, which prepared her heart to receive his next statement.
"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to your mistress, and SUBMIT yourself under her hands."
Look when 2 people are wrong, somebody has to submit. WHY in the world did the angel of the LORD not go to Sarai? I have NO IDEA. I'm always wondering WHY DON'T you talk to that person???? You are always telling me what to do???? Can you tell them something every now and then... HAHA... You know you think the same thing.
God didn't do that. He followed Hagar, He showed her he cared, He listened to what she said, and then he told her what to do and Hagar did what God said.
Hagar called the name of the LORD that day "The God who Sees."
Who's the good guy in this situation? The LORD. Who is right? Sarai? Hagar? Abram? Is this story about moral people? Is there any moral lesson for us to learn? Does God want us to be moral?
I think God wants us to realize that "there is none good." There is none who seeks God. He follows us, he finds us (in our sins), He cares for us, and He builds a faith in HIM, not a religion.
The verses in this post are found in Genesis 16... Go read it for yourself and see that God is the HERO of this story, of this Book, of my life and the Savior of this world, through the family of Abraham and Sarah, we have been given Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus the Messiah.