Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'll take an Isaac please

"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."
"Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
"I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.
The the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."
The angel of the LORD also said to her:
"You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael [which means "God hears"], for the LORD as heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man' his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [which means "well of the Living One who sees me"]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael." (Genesis 16:1-15)

This was part of the scripture reading for my Bible Study today in talking about idols. At first I was having a hard time figuring out how it was going to relate. And then I got me a word from Miss Kelly Minter. Ever get one of those NOW kinda words that you just KNOW is for you. If it's ok, I think I'll just add in what she had to say about this instead of trying to re-word it all myself.

-->After the hundreds of times I've read this passage, never in my life have I considered Hagar an idol of Sarah's. Until tonight. Until I read the simple phrase, "perhaps I can build a family through her" (v2). In those days it might as well have read, "Perhaps I can build a life through her." [During this time the ability to bear children was essential and viewed as a "need". If you weren't married and couldn't have children, you were basically seen as worthless in society. Your identity was through your family.]
In a way, this is staggering to me. Sarah was looking to an Egyptian slave girl to save her life. She was depending on someone she ended up hating. Just a passing thought--isn't it interesting that our false gods can even be things we hate?
Sarah's dependence on Hagar leads me to ask the obvious question: Other than God, who or what am I trying to build my life through?<--

(...This took me through some major thinking today...and the identification of a few other idols that need to be unveiled.)

Then we read Genesis 21:1-3...
"Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him."
(it was supposed to be v.1-6 but I think we get the point without discussing the circumcised word. ;) does that give anybody else the hebejeebes?)

(Back to Kelly)
-->Here we get the end of the story--God's way. We saw what happened when Sarah tried to build her family through Hagar her own way. It was disastrous. Everyone was hurt in the process, not just Sarah. But here in Gen 21 we see the fulfillment of God's plan. and this was going to happen with or without Hagar; with or without Ishmael; with or without Sarah's manipulation; with or without Abram's passiveness. But how nice if the story had simply been Isaac, without all the baggage.<--

When will we (I) ever learn? It seems like more often than not I forget that I can't do things on my own. I mean, sure I can try, and there is the illusion of things going right, but typically speaking, it ends up in a disaster. God's will, WILL be done. So why on earth do we add in the extra heartache by trying to do it our way first?
I'm sorry I keep talking about the same just happens to be where I am right now, so I hope it's not boring you to death. Your comments yesterday blessed me so...I just can't even tell you. (Although some of you need to get in the bed a little earlier--I worry about you up commenting at 3:00am!! Your sleep schedule sounds like mine!) Coupled with your prayers and mine, and a lot of good words that were brought my way, my heart feels a little more at ease tonight than it did last night. I was waiting. I'm still waiting. And I've been given a good reminder of why. His way is always better. It may not make sense at the time...or even until you're at the end and can look back to see how the process itself was a blessing because of where you are now with Him verses where you began. But a blessing it will be, if we wait on Him. (I know these things...but sometimes I need to say them "out loud"..which translates to "typing" in this case.)

I am praying for each one of us that the Lord would help us keep to the "Isaacs" of our lives--and that we wouldn't be lured into trying to create our own "Ishmaels".

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." ~Ps. 27:14

"If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
If we are faithless,
he will remain faithful
for he cannot disown himself."
~2 Tim. 2:11-13

His character can not be compromised, and He will never fail. Love y'all. Mean it.

ps...please don't name your children Hagar.


Little Steps Of Faith said...

I love that you are pretty much learning similarly to what I am...I learned about all that like a month ago, but its cool, because you seem to be following the same stuff...very cool.

What is your study called?

Don't you feel for Hagar; she really felt used, but think how cool it was for God to tell her about how much of an impact her doing what she did made in the lives of His people, and that they are still talking about it. I think thats cool:)

Have you gotten to the part about Issac's family?

Disciple is a wonderful, yet demanding bible study.

God is so awesome though, I will post about it on the blog in a little while.

He just rocks, better than even M&Ms :)


Fran said...

Hey girl...
I just love ya! You are so smart and wise beyond your years. Ok....
back to the place of waiting...
There have been many times in my life when I have waited..and waited...and waited...and got scared...and got more scared...began to doubt....over and over and over again. But, out of His goodness and mercy, He reveals His plan and I would just be brought to tears when I realized what He was doing or had done. You know to wait....its the waiting that is so hard. I'm praying against any thing that is not of Him to not take over your sweet heart and your strong mind. He WILL bless you sister. He just will. He is faithful and just.

Ok...and this idol stuff is awesome. Sure know how to hate that thing that is my idol. Its awful. Freedom is a daily thing.

Have a FANTASTIC weekend girl. You bless me again and again. Thank you for being the real deal.
Much love,

Kelly S. said...

Abby- that was a beautiful post, and so true about idols. At times I feel they are jumping at me from every direction begging for my attention. It doesn't take much to distract me and I pray for focus and discipline in my daily walk.
I stopped by to tell you that I am SO jealous of your hugs and starbucks date! (I hope its wonderful!!)
ps. 3 kids-- none of them Hagar...whew!

Jackie said...

Whew, love that, love you, love your wisdom and way with words. You really make me think, thank you for that!!
I can't imagine what that situation had to be like for those ladies, really stressful fo them both in such different ways.
Idols take all forms in our lives and sometimes they are so hard to see them for what they are. Thanks for posting about this study and allowing us to learn with you. It is GREAT.
Have a great weekend sister.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Hi Abby - Thanks for your comments on my blog. :)

This was an incredible post. So much of it sounds like my life a little over a year ago. I've been there sister!! It's so cool to see a young woman "getting" this now!!!

I'm going to scroll down and read your previous posts.


Patty said...

What a great post and lesson! I know being in God's waiting room isn't easy but it is worth the wait. I have gone ahead of God and made a mess of things but I would rather wait on God and be in His perfect will than have my way.
Great, great Word!!!
I love that God always fulfills His purpose, even when we go our own way, God brings us back to His plan and purpose. :o)
Have a great Sunday!

Sharon said...

The waiting room is a great place to grow. I have been being bounced around in the waiting for awhile now. God is using this time to perfect His tool.
I is a good time.
Thanks for stopping by--I saw two of my girls in your side bar pictures.
Nice to meet a new siesta. :)

Erin said...

Isn't it just SO hard to wait? And what stinks is that we know the right answers. We know it's better to wait and that we shouldn't rush God and everything will happen in His timing and blah blah blah...
But those right answers never seem to make me feel any better. Ya know?
I'm doing this study with some girls at my church, and the day you wrote about just about knocked me over when I was doing the study. It's something I've been working on a lot in my life.
It's fun to know that you guys are doing this study too! :)

BethAnne said...

The waiting room stinks while you're in it, but when the wait is over we can look back and see the hand of God so clearly. If I had a dollar for every time I got ahead of God I would be a rich girl (that is a bad, bad thing, I tell ya - bad!).
Great post!

Lindsee said...

"Lord I know if I change my mind, you will change my heart in time. Soveriegn Lord it's the times from I sit in the waiting room!" -Shane and Shane

We will wait for HIS best for our lives. Oh, how our best is his better!!!


The Preacher's Wife said...

I've just discovered Kelli Minter's books...pretty good stuff!

I love your sidebar pics...!!


Bev Brandon said...

wow Abby...this is powerful stuff...i've not heard of kelli minter...thankyouthankyou...if you lived here i would so scoop you up this weekend and take you with us to hear beth...i just had a ticket open up last night for this weekend...funny how blogging makes you think people are right next door not 1,000 miles away or whereve you are...i prayed for you in the tunnel this weekend and this is what i prayed...
Romans 5:5 - God's Love shed abroad in your heart ---the Holy Spirit is pouring it right in...
Isaiah 64:4 - God acts in behalf of those who wait upon Him

Jackie said...

i might have you on running, but i KNOW you'd kick my butt in pilates :) I tried once and my inflexible, long seld just looked like a goofy monkey!! not a pretty site when an inflexible/uncoordinated person with long legs and long arms tries pilates and flails all over the place!! :) i love ya no matter what....but hey, if you ever move to houston, i will get your booty out there jogging in the sweltering heat and humidity with me :) Love ya tons girly!

Pastor Lisa said...

Abby! Thanks for dropping by my page! I love your baby! What a cutie! And there are a lot of us in transition right now... waiting for the Father to reveal the next move.

So we all wait together.

At least I'm in good company!

Lots of love,


I'm Tara. said...

Abby - I wrote about pretty much the same thing the other day. I try so hard to force my own plans through that I forget about trusting God. It's so silly because I *know* that if I trust Him NOW and follow the tugs on my heart for HIS will, I'll save myself pain and, I'll end up trusting Him at some point anyway. I always do! Sometimes I'm just a very slow learner, but it stinks when my failure to yield to His calling and to place my trust in Him results in hurt for myself and others.

Oh, and re: your post below -- oh, can I relate to you. I ended up changing my major halfway through college from -- elem. ed!!! to speech therapy. It meant another two years of school, a complete change of plans, etc. Then to do the same thing when I had my babies -- quit my job and stay home -- YIKES. My hubby has law school loans coming out of his nose so this was a huge leap of nothing but FAITH. It is scary -- which seems silly sometimes -- I know He's taking care of me. I know He's taking care of you, too.

I'm so glad I found your blog! Just wish I could give you a big hug and take you for a Starbucks. Plus, I have these two little kids that would LOVE to have you nanny them! :)

Sorry for the novel.

Anonymous said...

This was very thought-provoking. I think that women particularly are prone to setting up PEOPLE as idols... we want so very badly to say, "I want to be like THAT," or "I need HER help to get through this..." I have experienced a "disillusioning" this summer that at first was very unsettling. But as time has gone by, I'm beginning to see the mercy of smashed idols. And the hope returns. Real, true hope, not the illusion of it.

Another interesting sideline you could take on that is how quickly misplaced passion can turn on a dime. That kind of "love" can so easily become hate, bitterness, resentfulness. This is why the Bible says that "Jesus knew what was in the heart of a man... He trusted no man..." I take that to mean He did not PUT His trust in men. I keep having to communicate this to my 12 year old. Only Christ will never disappoint you; therefore, we must practice grace and forgiveness, and look to Him alone for satisfaction.

Great lesson! There's so much to learn, and the journey is long. I am thankful for the refreshment He sends along the way, aren't you?

Mommy Dot Com said...

We have five girls and we haven't yet named a one of them Hagar. Aren't you proud?