Sermon by Rev. Richard Jones
Sermon Series: The Story of Abraham
FAILURE AND FUTURE
Genesis, Chapters 20 & 21:1-21
DECEPTION AND A DREAM
Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV)
1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar.
2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”
4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people?
5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
REBUKE FOR THE RUSE
Genesis 20:8-18 (ESV)
8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid.
9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.”
10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?”
11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’
12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.
13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him.
15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.”
16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.
18 For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
Proverbs 29:25 (ESV)
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
Proverbs 28:13 (ESV)
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
THE BIRTH OF BLESSING
Genesis 21:1-7 (ESV)
1 The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.
2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.
3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”
7 And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Hebrews 6:10-12 (ESV)
10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,
12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
SEPARATE THE SONS
Genesis 21:8-14 (ESV)
8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.
10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”
11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.
12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.
13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Galatians 4:21-31 (ESV)
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.
23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.
25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”
28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”
31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
HEARING FROM HEAVEN
Genesis 21:15-21 (ESV)
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes.
16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.
17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow.
21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
1. God loves us even in our mistakes.
2. Sin has an impact beyond ourselves.
3. What God has promised He will deliver.
4. The flesh and the Spirit can never live in peace.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.