Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sarah & Abraham: God cares

I have been reading in Genesis.  And I've been stuck on the same few chapters for about a week now.  Stuck?  I keep rereading them - learning something new each time.

First there is Sarah (Sarai initially).  I find it amazing she was so outspoken.  It seems (at least what *I* have been taught) is that Biblical women tend to be quiet women, doing as they are supposed to.  They walk around with their heads bowed and hands folded in solemn reverence.  Right?  Sarah?  Not so much - she is fiery and opinionated.  Since I have a similar temperament (as did my namesake...hmmm) I can really identify with her.

After waiting for (what probably seemed like forever), Sarah thought she'd help God out with His promised child. (Gen 16)  I've done this.  I've taken a promise from God, looked around and figured out how He could fulfill it and chase after it.  It didn't particularly matter whether that was really how He was going to do it or not.  Historically I've not been very good at waiting.  I'm getting better - but it can still be hard.  Gen 16:3 says Abraham had been living in Caanan for 10 years - waiting for this promise.  10 years is a long time to wait.  We tried for 7 months before getting pregnant with Peter - and THAT seemed like forever.  I can't imagine what Sarah thought after 10.  Perhaps forgotten?

And the result was a huge mess.  Hagar became pregnant right away.  This reality I'm sure was a blow to Sarah's ego.  The result of the immediate pregnancy would point to Sarah's brokenness. Facing the reality is a very difficult thing.  Some people handle it with grace - Sarah not so much.  And while Hagar was not an innocent bystander, the resulting mistreatment (Gen 16:6) was more mess on top of the already huge mess.

The grace exhibited here is absolutely only something God could do.  He stepped in and cleaned it all up.  There was no reproach of lectures, no "get yourself out".  God just took care of it.

God comforted Hagar.  Running away isn't going to help.  God promises Hagar that she isn't forgotten.  And in His promises to Hagar God tells her this:
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.

~Genesis 16:12
 How would you like to be promised that your son would (basically) be an outcast?  But Hagar replies "You are the God who sees me" (Gen 16:13).  God sees us no matter where we are at or what is going on.  And even though we screw up, He loves and cares about us anyway.

And for that, I'm thankful to call Him friend.

More on Sarah to come. :)

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