Genesis 16:1-16 Helping Out God

Introduction: God made promises four times to Abraham, and then delayed in fulfilling them. Anxious to have her husband experience all that God had promised, Sarah steps in – and Abraham accepts her plan. Abraham had a full knowledge of the promises of God – the question was not WHAT, but WHEN! Abraham saw the faithfulness of God to him – the question was not WHO, but HOW!

Key Principle: When we seek to “help out” God by performing FOR Him, and not BY, THROUGH and IN Him, we create a terrible mess out of His great promises!

Seven Observations on Overcoming Failure:

  1. Some are caused by our nature overcoming our walk with God: Sarah tried to fulfill God’s promise (16:1). Following our natural desires to fulfill a role that God should fulfill will bring us pain, not fulfillment!
  2. Some are caused by “mis-focusing” our efforts: Abraham was passive in the leadership of his home. (16:2). A failure to fulfill the role God currently has given you, will further delay God’s blessing on your future roles and promises!
  3. All failures are enhanced by flesh performance: Neither Abraham nor Sarah consulted God in their plan (16:3-4). A believer can do what “feels right” or will “seem to work” and create greater pain and trouble!
  4. Failures cannot be overcome without identifying the real underlying problem: Neither Abraham nor Sarah detected the true problem when troubles materialize (16:5-6). The underlying deception must be rooted out to truly solve the problem!
  5. Many (not just ME!) suffer from my failures: Hagar ended up stripped of her dignity, despised and on the run (16:7-8). Wrong assumptions and poor choices lead to victimization in those who were not a part of our problem – until we dragged them in.
  6. God is not afraid of stepping in to failure scenarios: The angel directed Hagar’s return (16:9). The beginning of blessing is submission to God’s Word!
  7. God does see the inequities, and is able to put something great together even in the midst of pain: Hagar received promises that encouraged her (16:10-16). God builds up, even standing with us in the dump of all the destruction we have experienced on our way to Him!

Bill Borden (of the famous dairy family) left his fortune to be a missionary in China. He left the note: “No retreat, no return, no regrets.” Victory is being where God tells you to be, doing what God tells you to do. There is no greater call.