January 5, 2007
Thought for the day:
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- Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
- And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
- And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
- And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
- And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
- But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
- And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
- And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
- And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
- And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
- And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
- And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
- And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
- Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
- And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
- And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
- And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
- And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
- And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
- As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
- Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
- And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
- And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
- And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
- And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
- This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
- And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
- And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
- He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
- And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
- And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
- And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
- Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
- And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
- And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
- And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
- But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
- And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
- And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
- And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
- And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
- In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
- And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
- And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
- And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
- And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
- Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
- And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
- And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
- And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
- And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
- And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
- And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
- Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
- Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
- And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
- Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
- Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
- And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
- And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
- Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
- For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
- And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
- I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
- And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
- And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
- Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
- That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
- And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
- And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
- Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
- And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.
- And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
- And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.
- And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
- And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Thought for the day:
You may click on verses for Scripture
In chapter 16 we see the principle that decisions have lasting consequences. Abram had been promised a son by God, but no son had been born. Because of his advancing age, as well as that of his wife, Sarai devised a plan whereby they could "help" God to get His will accomplished. Sarai offered her maid Hagar to Abram, and conception took place. This was never God's plan, for Abram nor for anyone else. The principle of marriage is the husband cleaving to his wife and they two becoming one flesh (
). Because of this poor decision, serious consequences occurred.
First of all, Sarai was despised by Hagar
(16:4), and Hagar dwelt in the house with Sarai for the next 16 years
(21:9). That's a long time to have to put up with the constant reminder of your bad decision!
- Second, after Isaac was born, he was mocked by Hagar's son Ishmael, which would have been unpleasant for both Sarai and Abram
- Third, because of this mocking, Hagar and Ishmael are thrown out of the house, which was "very grievous in Abraham's sight"
(21:11), for he has now lost his first-born son whom I'm sure he loved dearly.
- Fourth, we read nothing about Ishmael again in Scripture until he helps to bury Abraham
That was over 70 years later! He married an Egyptian, and his people settled away from Abraham and Isaac. Certainly it is probable that Abram saw very little of his son over those years.
- Fifth, it was prophesied of Ishmael that he would be "a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him,"
(16:12). Thus, Ishmael himself suffered for his parents' poor decision.
- Finally, the descendents of Isaac have suffered because of the descendents of Ishmael. According to Smiths's Bible Dictionary, "The sons of Ishmael peopled the north and west of the Arabian peninsula, and eventually formed the chief element of the Arab nation, the wandering Bedouin tribes. They are now mostly Mohammedans who look to him as their spiritual father, as the Jews look to Abraham."
So, as a result of one bad decision which was made by well-meaning people who were simply unable to trust God to do what He said He would do, Sarai suffers, Isaac suffers, Abram suffers, Hagar suffers, Ishmael suffers, and the Jewish nation suffers. In fact, I believe that it could honestly be said today that the whole world is in some way paying the price for Abraham's poor choice.
When God says something, believe it. Always do what God says, regardless of how "right" another decision may seem. And remember, decisions which take place in a moment of time can have consequences that last for generations.