Faith is Messy | The Savings Wife

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Faith is Messy

Faith is messy, Faith is, now faith is, hebrews

In church a lady made the comment that "Faith is Messy" you can't tie it up in a neat little package.  That often we might know where the end of our road lies but don't know the steps to get there.  Often we just try and make our steps up a we go and we find ourselves with consequences we don't like.  Lets take a closer look at one of those paths from the Bible.

The person we are going to look at is Sarah (called Sarah early on) from Genesis.  Sarah is the wife of Abraham.  God made a promise to Abraham that he was going to have a child.  Although Abraham believed God, Sarah needs the mess that happened to get her to the point of believing. Up until she has the baby she believes having a child or not having a child is in her control. Let's take a look at how it all started.

Genesis 12: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

The Story:

Abraham and Sarah are already getting up in there years and at first Abraham (75) and Sarah (65)  may have tried to conceive a child. Abraham believed God even though he could not see how this was going to be accomplished.  Sarah just seems to be following the command of her husband.

They move to Egypt, Sarah told by her husband to only claim that she was his sister because she was a beautiful woman and he didn't want to be killed.
Genesis 20:13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”
Sarah agree's and She winds up in the bed of Pharaoh.  Pharaoh had even paid a dowry to Abraham for her. Because she was now Pharaoh's wife God sent a plague on the Egyptian people to get Sarah out of the situation Abraham had created with his lie.

I wonder after this happened to Sarah how she felt now being returned to Abraham and being thrown out of the country.  Maybe she wonders why God allowed her to be with another man and why does Abraham still benefit?  Maybe she looks at her husband differently now knowing he couldn't save her and keep her from harm.  I know I would have been a little ticked off at my husband and would have been amazed that God was the only one who intervened with a plague.  She may even has not even noticed the plague was sent by God only that she was back with her husband.

Sarah still isn't pregnant.  Abraham is still growing in power and riches and she now goes off to war to rescue their nephew Lot.  Abraham see's the priest of God.

Genesis 14: 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Then Abraham has a vision from God where he is once again promised children and an that he would live to a good old age.

He comes home and I would like to think he told Sarah about what had happened while he was away. Abraham again believed God. Maybe she looked at him like he is crazy?  She is still waiting for this promised baby.

Sarah is now 76 years old, a full 11 years since the last time her husband received the first promise. When Sarah can't seem to get pregnant she does the only thing a desperate woman of that time does.  Their is No I.V.F. at that time so she seeks a surrogate to have a baby for her.  She grabs probably the woman closest to her Hagar, her slave girl.

When Hagar get pregnant she despises Sarah and Sarah gets jealous.  In her anger she mistreats Hagar bad enough for her to run away.  Hagar comes back at Gods promise that her son will also receive an inheritance and gives birth to a son.

Maybe Sarah feels as though she has been replaced in her husbands affections since she does not have a child of her own.  I'm sure fears of worthlessness, betrayal, and even position have arose within her.  Maybe she doesn't even know herself even more due to the anger and resentment that have made it's way into her heart.

Time continues to pass and now Sarah is 89 years old.  It look as though the 13 year old Ishmael will be the promised child and Hagar his mother.

She is probably thinking well that settles that.  She will just live out the duration of her life childless and someone else's son will have the inheritance.   

Then God appears to Abraham and tells him that Sarah is to have a child.  That although Ishmael isn't the one that the promise was for Ishmael will also receive the same blessing.  Then all the males in the camp get circumcised.

Now Abraham is bringing all the hurt up again and maybe he turns back his affections to his wife. Does she dare believe that maybe it really is possible to love him again and return his advances or does he only love her because of the promise of a child.

After a while 3 mean appear, the Lord and two messengers.  Abraham invites them in to the house and has Sarah make them dinner.

Genesis 18: 9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing
So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Now she has made God angry and she wonders will he show her mercy.  Will she indeed bring a child into this world?  She allows herself to feel again and maybe even to hope since she has now heard the promise.

You would think the story would be over but God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah and then Abraham does it again.  They move and he is again afraid and lets his wife be taken by another man.  God inter-veins this time before Sarah is touched and comes to her captor in a dream.  At the fear of death he lets Sarah return to her husband.

I can bet when she is taken she really questions his promise and maybe even calls out to God now what. Then maybe she remembers that he rescued her from this situation before and maybe if she calls out to him he can do it again.  God does he keeps another man from touching her.  She is returned whole to her husband. 

Sarah gets pregnant at the age of 90 a full 35 years since the original promise.

I can't even imagine the look on her face when she realizes she is actually pregnant and the morning sickness sets in.   God has finally full-filled his promise and she had nothing to do with it. 
Genesis 21: 1 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. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Sarah would live to be 127 years old before she died.

Although the promise was made it didn't mean that everything would be easy or the path would be clear. Abraham Believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.  Sarah struggled also on this path.  The point she believed was at the birth of her son.

God never punished them for believing in the promise or trying to make it happen their own way.  They did however have to endure the consequences in their lack of trust decisions. Hagar was a constant thorn in Sarah's side.  God helped Sarah's faith grow along the way.  He does that for me and you also.  While some of us will believe immediately like Abraham some of us take much more convincing like Sarah.

He only gives us the answers we need and we just have to trust him to accomplish them in his time and in his way.

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