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.
Saul’s downward progression to his ultimate demise is evident in his story from the beginning of his kingly reign to its end. In particular, 1 Samuel unveils at least five downward turns in his fall to the depths of spiritual, mental and emotional decline when he consulted the dead for guidance. Of course, Saul’s slide could never happen to any of us today – right?
In his song, Only the Good Die Young, Billy Joel sang: I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun. If you feel the way Billy Joel feels you just may have a coronary if you listen to this sermon. So, consider this warning: What you are about to hear might be too radical to take seriously. At the same time, what you hear is the key to fulfillment, happiness and success.
Sarah’s adamant posture may be seen as the rock. God telling Abraham to let Hagar and Ismael go is to be seen as the hard place. Abraham would have to go against Sarah or go against God. What decision did Abraham make? As we find ourselves between similar rocks and hard places, we are faced with the same dilemma faced by Abraham. Will we go with God or against God? Is there any room for middle ground or negotiation? Can we be content to be a distant speck in the rearview mirror?
God has given us a treasure house of promises, and on each of those promises is a name. What name? Your name and mine, and precisely when the time is right He brings those promises to fruition. Consequently, life is often a celebration for the believer, but once in a while life for the believer can seem more like a shootout at the OK Corral. It happened to Abraham and it can happen to us.
In Genesis 17 and 18, we saw Abraham as a champion of the Lord. He had risen to a spiritual height from which it seemed he would never descend. Yet, in Genesis 20, our high-flying champion comes crashing to the ground. We will see in these 18 verses that the power of evil still lurks within the heart of even the most consecrated men and women of God. We are ever to remain aware of the possibility to fall short of the mark set for us in Jesus Christ. If we follow Abraham to the altitudes of loftiness, be careful to avoid following him to the depths of despair