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Grace Bible Church

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 11/18/01.

Abram sows to the wind and reaps the whirlwind.

Our current study has brought us to Gen chapter 16 as we continue to note the origin of the problems in the Middle East with the birth of a male child called Ishmael.

GEN 16:1-6 "Now Sarai, Abram's wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.  So Sarai said to Abram, Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.  And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife.  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.  And Sarai said to Abram, May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms; but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.  But Abram said to Sarai, Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.  So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence."
There are some principles to note as we began this passage that will bring us to the subject of the timing of God.
The first principle is the fact that the barrenness of Sarah continues as a test to see if Abram and Sarai will claim the promises of God, apply the appropriate doctrine, and wait upon the Lord..

Secondly, specific promises have already been given to Abram that he will have an heir, GEN 13:14-17; GEN 15:45, therefore, Abram needs to wait upon the Lord.

The third is that no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, Abram and Sarah can enjoy each day by believing the promise of God regarding the heir, applying doctrine, and not worrying about the future.
They need to wait upon the Lord whixh is having faith plus patience.

The fourth principle is that faith is believing at the moment the promise is received or the moment that the doctrine is perceived but patience is the perpetuation of faith before the promise is fulfilled.
MAR 11:23-24 "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be {granted} him.  Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them,"

This has to do with any problem or obstacle in life.  However, if one believes but doesn't see the immediate evidence of a solution, patience must now come in.  The real character of our faith is determined by our patience.  A patient person will wait upon the Lord and will also be slow to anger.

Patience give us the power and the gracious system of thinking to have great understanding and sensitivity toward others, PRO 14:29 "He who is slow to anger [patient] has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts foolishness."
Patience with others will also help us resolve and reconcile differences, PRO 15:18 "A hot-tempered person stirs up strife but the slow to anger [the patience person] pacifies contention."

Patience also gives the believer fantastic strength under pressure, PRO 16:32 "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he who rules his spirit, is better than he who captures a city."

Patience will also allow us to be discrete and overlook the sins of others, PRO 19:11 "A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression."

When you're patient with people, you do not hold them accountable for the wrongs they have done against you.  Patience allows us to rest in the Lord and let the supreme court judge handle any unfair or unjust treatment, PSA 37:7.
If someone is carrying out wicked schemes against you, be patient and relax, the Lord has everything under control.

Patience gives us the strength and power to handle undeserved suffering and maltreatment and bring glory to the Lord, 1PE 2:19-20, "For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God."

Having our doctrine and the faith rest drill tested in our life gives us patience.
Pastors are told that they must have extreme patience with members of his congregation, 2TI 4:2 "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."

A Pastor can teach doctrine accurately for years and people will still reject it when they need it and this can be a source of discouragement to any man who is in the ministry.
The Lord has made many promises to all of us as believers and patience is also needed concerning the promises of God, HEB 10:36 "For you have need of patience, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."

All of those verses bring out the reasons why Abram and Sarah should have waited upon the Lord for His timing and His will.
All Abram and Sarah had to do was to wait for the perfect timing of God.  If we live by the promises, we have to wait for the source of those promises to fulfill them and that is God who always grants His promises at the perfect time for our life.  If anyone doesn't have what they want at this time, it's not time for them to receive it.  Many want it now, God says no!  Unfortunately, many try to get it in their own way, with their own timing, but it will not be what God has designed to give perfect happiness and total contentment.  Additionally, they may have to deal with that bad decision for the rest of their life as Abraham and Sarah did and their descendants are still doing today, in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If we live in the plan of God, we have to faith rest, and know that God is our Father and He's going to come through and He's going to bless and promote us if we have humility.  If not, we can do it our own way, this may work for a while but eventually it all falls apart.  There's our way of doing things and then there's God's way, and His way works all the time.  Remember GEN 3:6 "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate."
Her decision to "eat the fruit" was her saying to God, my way is better than Yours.
Whenever we choose our way over God's way we are saying in effect that we are smarter than God or we are an exception to the rule, remember PRO 14:12 "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
God says, "My judgment is better than your judgment, My timing is better than your timing."

One of the greatest things in the world is to get away from human timing and get into God's timing.  That's where everything falls into place.
An important principle to remember is that God's delays are a part of man's progress.  Therefore, to wait on the Lord is the wisest thing you could ever do.  God's will and God's timing go together and they are perfect.
God is perfect, His will is perfect and His timing is perfect.

So in GEN 16:1, Abram's wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar which means the fleeing one or the flighty one.  She was an Egyptian woman who was a reminder of Abram's past failure.
There is a principle here, if we don't keep our spiritual momentum going, our past failures become a source of present weaknesses.  That is we need to operate in that four-fold principle of rebound.
1.  Name it, 1JO 1:9.
2.  Isolate it, HEB 12:15.
3.  Forget it, PHI 3:13.
4.  Keep moving, PHI 3:14.
Just because we may have experienced victory over certain sins we cannot think that we will never be tempted in those areas again.
Many times the temptation will come when we are at our weakest moment or when we have stayed away from doctrine for a short period of time.
As Peter said in 2PE 2:22 "It has happened to them according to the true proverb, A dog returns to its own vomit, and, A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."
Solomon warned us in PRO 26:11 "Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his foolishness."
Most believers learn that the hard way through experience.
In GEN 16:2 we have the proposal or the recommendation of Sarah.  This was not a one time order, Sarai had said over and over.  No normal woman ever suggests to a man that she loves to go out and fornicate with another woman.  At this time in her life, there's something wrong with Sarah, she isn't normal.  At this time in her life she is full of self pity.

Satan loves to get believers to be self-centered because it takes them away from occupation with the Lord and leads them to occupation with self, resulting in frustration and self-pity.  When people get into self-pity, what usually follows is that they become hypersensitive and easily wounded.
Self-pity only intensifies any problem and removes one from any possibility of a solution because as long as you are occupied with self, there is absolutely no solution to any problem in life.  No one ever felt sorry for himself without arrogance also added to it.  People who are full of self-pity and seem to be humble and broken are, in reality, very much stuck on themselves and very arrogant.  And by the way, self-pity is never broken by sweetness.
Self-pity is merely increased by sweetness.
Sarah is filled with self-pity.
GEN 16:2  So Sarai said to Abram, "Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my female slave; perhaps I shall obtain children through her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai."

There is a problem with regard to the heir but the problem is in her subjectivity and Abram's impatience.
Sarai sees her problem but not in the light of Bible doctrine.  She sees her problem but there are two ways in which you can see a problem.  Once you see your problem there are two ways in which to view it, Objectively or Subjectively.
If you have been keeping your spiritual momentum going and you are plus doctrine in your soul, you will be able to see your problem objectively and also see the solution.
But, if you are looking at your problem subjectively as she is, then you see the problem but not the solution.
Awareness of the problem can bring either response to doctrine or reaction to the situation.  When we respond to doctrine, we wait upon the Lord, if not we react to the problem subjectively and we try to solve it.

In Chapter 15 of Genesis we noted the great principles of Abram's spiritual victories and how those principles were also related to the military establishment.
Abram had great spiritual momentum, however, in this chapter, the fact that Abram was a great leader, both spiritually and in the military realm and he was very wise when it came to his dealing with men, and utilized doctrine and spiritual common sense in his military leadership, when it came to women he was a total flop. 

Abram listened to the voice of Sarai and followed her suggestion to solve the problem rather than wait on God.  Because of that they would wait another 13 years for the heir that God intended to give them..

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