PATHS In Bible Chapters

Genesis 16
Theme: The Wisdom Of Man
Key Text: Verse 2


            Abraham was now living in spiritual realms. The Lord had not only called him from the old life, but had also given him “exceeding great and precious promises” which continued to help him forsake all “the corruption that is in the world” (2 Pet. 1:4). Yet, there was undiscovered corruption within himself - - fleshly ways that opposed the true faith-life. Like all of us, Abraham had to learn that divine matters cannot be accomplished through human means. As Paul explained to the Corinthians, faith is not to stand “in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5).


1. Foolish Decisions
            The Lord had given the promise of the seed, and had reaffirmed it to the patriarch. But, how would it come to pass? Abraham and Sarah began to desperately explore the human possibilities. Rashly, she said to him, “I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her” (16: 2). Perhaps, she was trying to please her husband or her own longings for a child. Either way, we know that it didn’t please the Lord, because “without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6), But, the father of faith unwisely agreed with her and “went in unto Hagar, and she conceived” (16:4).


2. Fleshly Divisions
            Because things were not done God’s way, this  Christian home was filled with “envying, and strife, and divisions” (1 Cor. 3:3). First, when Hagar “saw she had conceived,” she felt superior to her mistress and “despised” Sarah (16:4). Then, following Mother Eve’s example, Sarah blamed everything on Abraham, saying, “My wrong be upon thee” (16:5). Before it was over, there were a lot of hurt feelings, and poor Hagar had run away (see 16:6). This scene of  pride, bitterness, and rejection, was everything but the result of faith “which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6). What a reminder for us to always walk by faith and not by sight!


3. Favorable Dimensions
            As is always the case, when we are at our worst, God is still at His best! Abraham and Sarah miserably failed, “but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20)! And this grace was so abundant that it overflowed its banks and reached Hagar. What a blessed illustration of God’s amazing grace! We are told that the Lord graciously sought and “found her . . . in the wilderness” (16:7). Upon finding her, His favor was further manifested by allowing her to “return” (16:9) to Abraham and Sarah. Then, in the vastness of His loving kindness, the Lord promised to multiply her seed “exceedingly” (16:10).



            Years ago, Dr. James M. Gray was  asked a very unusual question. A young Bible College student  inquired of him, “Can a bird with a broken pinion ever fly as high again?” Very busy at the time, Dr. Gray had the young man make an appointment and met with him later in his office. When the time arrived, after thinking through the question, he answered, “Yes, the bird with the broken pinion can fly as high again, but only if the Lord does the healing!” Thank God! There is hope for us in the Lord’s  restoring grace!