/ Genesis 16 / Andrew Kerr

Anything you can do....

We are called to walk by faith, through which we are also justified. Far too often, believers including mature saints, even in top ecclesiastical posts, seek to further God's work by resorting to the flesh.

DIY salvation (adversely reviewed) is one of the main points of Genesis 16 - here the holy family, with Abram included and implicated, without jeopardizing his saved status, faithlessly and pragmatically, tosses a carnal spanner in God's Work.

A catastrophic lapse led to a failed attempt to give the LORD a helping hand in hurrying His world-blessing plan along: with no heir in sight, and beyond all human hope, Sarai's servant-surrogate Hagar, whom providence put within reach, offered an open door to sire, and adopt, an illicit to-be-son.

Certainly, we can sense the frustration of his wife whose womb Yahweh had shut, with perhaps a hint of blame? It was 10 years down the line from the night God launched His plan in Ur - impatience, sense, reason and sight gave the patriarch a nudge &, with echoes of Eden, Abram listened to his wife.

But, it really does matter how the plan of God moves forward - the Angel of the LORD, with his first appearance on-stage, indicates clearly that the One who sees all & knows the fact-file of our lives, is as interested both in the way of what we do as the what of Jehovah's work.

At the wellspring nearing Shur, between Kadesh and Bered, a string of salutary utterances are preached to put Hagar back on track: a U-turn is required, for it is rebellion and pride made her both a flight-risk and complicit in the scheme; and, however much sympathy we might have with her plight, the surrogate needed to repent, put things right, humble her hubris and allow the Living, Seeing, Lord to work His purpose out.

"Well of the Living One" is a fascinating phrase to describe the God Who Sees. It refers to the Creator (here the Agent Logos) who gave life to her son, already conceived in her womb, who numbered all his days and ways before Donkey Man began. Since He observes all, including hidden motives in the heart, He now moves to repair faith by eradication of her flesh.

How glad we are that the Messenger of the LORD, the Pre-Incarnate Son, sought the Egyptian slave and from evil brought out good. By timely intervention, in sovereign mercy and grace, if the mess was not entirely hoovered up, the whole family was rebuked: the household must wait for Jehovah to work His purpose out.

We are often tempted at critical points, when the work and witness of the Gospel is at stake, to act dubiously, pragmatically, carnally or sensually. Let us never forget key lessons we should have already learnt: to vacate solid granite of Scripture for shifting sands of feelings, impressions, hunches, emotions, sense, reason, circumstances, providences and signs, always results in a knot that is only untangled by grace.

Painful experience taught these believers, and reminds all saints who are facing a challenging choice, that most open doors are trap doors with warnings written in red: saints make strides forward not on flesh but on faith which rests on the Word. If we leave it with the Lord, and refuse to intrude flesh, we will ultimately discover anything we could do, He most certainly will do best.

Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Pastor of Ridgefield Park NJ (NYC Metro Area) - Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul & Andrew, Father-in-Law to Matt, Loves Skiing, Dog Walking. Passionate for Old Testament - in Deep Need of Grace

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