In the ancient world, parents chose who their children would marry. Do you think going back to such a custom would be advisable today? Since parents no longer make such decisions, do parents bear any responsibility in the choices made by their children regarding a spouse? If so, what are they? Further, does the Bible offer any guidance for single adults who may be praying for and searching for a mate? Believe it or not, Abraham provides valuable direction not only for parents and single adults but also for those who want to be prepared to address such serious issues as they arise.
In John 8 a lengthy conversation took place between Jesus and the Temple officials, a discussion that addressed the significance of Abraham in the life of Judaism. At its conclusion the fissure had grown so wide that the Temple officials picked up stones to throw at Jesus with the intention to kill Him then and there. Why this huge chasm? Did the difference truly matter then and does it truly matter now? The theological scholars debating with Jesus thought they had it all figured out, especially when it came to Abraham, but did they? Do you?
Though believers cannot accept the lifestyles endorsed by much of the secular world, it is possible to live in peace. Genesis 21 provides a beautiful illustration of this possibility. The surprising thing, however, is that the difficulty is attributed to not to Abimelech, the unbeliever, but to Abraham, the believer. One might think it would be the other way, but not so.
There may be times when we simply do not know what to pray, times when words simply will not come. Yet, praying specifically is always a more effective way to pray. General praying receives general responses and makes for less energetic conversations with God. That may be one reason for dull prayer lives. Abraham had the audacity to ask God for the incredible, and he actually believed that his praying would make a difference. What about you? Do you pray for the incredible and believe that your praying actually makes a difference?
What will the future be? Will it be a life of running away from difficulty, even injustice? Or, will it be a life of hearing and seeing God in the midst of the difficulty and/or injustice? Will it be the futility of screaming against the difficulty and the injustices? Or, will it be the overflow of blessing to those around you while trusting the Lord to work out the rest?
In the first six verses of Genesis 16 we see injustice and unrighteousness. In verse 7 we see the beginning of justice and righteousness as God made movement toward the one whose value had been diminished. Do you suppose those in America today who think they have been treated unfairly and unrighteously and contemptibly have any awareness that the Lord is making movement toward them? What about you? In Genesis 16:7 God reveals the first step toward the resolution of injustice and unrighteousness on both a national scale as well as personal.