Posts Tagged ‘Hagar’

Genesis 25:1-4 – HOW TO LEAVE A LIFECHANGING LEGACY?

Leaving a Lifechanging Legacy

The artwork and design of my wife’s book on her family tree is magnificent. The storyline is clear and so interesting. Hours and hours of work, a labour of love. I am so proud of her. A legacy for generations to come.

In the prologue of her book, Julie writes “It seems a strange thing, almost a disrespectful thing, to reduce the lifetime of one person to a page, a line or just a photo in a book. If only we could go back in time and spend an hour, a day, with each of our forebears, and listen to each one express their lives in their own words – the highs and lows, the challenges and accomplishments, the disappointments and surprises, the heartaches and celebrations – not only would we know more about them, we could appreciate more of the valuable contribution each made to following generations, and understand more about who we are ourselves.”

In Julie’s family tree we can trace back a history of ten generations and a history of faith in Christ for at least five generations. Who knows how many generations to come will seek to find a relationship with Jesus Christ as part of their family heritage? Others in the family tree we know very little about, however.

Everyone knows about Sarah and Hagar in the story of Abraham, but very few know that he also had another wife. In Genesis 25, Abraham Marries Keturah.

We all know he had trouble having children with Sarah. God healed both Sarah and Abraham in order for them to have children, so by the time he marries Keturah all those problems are long gone. Did you know that he had SIX MORE SONS, as well as Ishmael and Isaac?

Psalms 92:12-15 (NLT) says that “the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” This is certainly true of Abraham.

What is the story with these other sons and grandsons of Abraham? They are given generous gifts and sent away. Strange names like Zimran, Ishbak, Ashur, (We named a cat Ashur. I wonder what ever happened to Ashur?) and Letush (great name for a market gardener), and Dedan (the trail goes dead with Dedan), and more. We never really find out? The line is followed only through Isaac, the promised son, not though these other sons.

It is strange to get a mention in Abraham’s family tree and then disappear into OBSCURITY. It seems they do nothing of any real significance worth mentioning. These other sons and grandsons made no real contribution to God’s purposes on the earth except to fulfil a promise made to Abraham of numerous descendents. Why are they mentioned by name at all? Perhaps God deliberately CONTRASTS them with those who follow the believing line which runs through Isaac. Will I leave a lasting Legacy or disappear into obscurity?

Abraham was a very wealthy man and at the time of his death Isaac inherits a huge fortune, everything Abraham has. But the HERITAGE OF FAITH that I give to my children is worth more than all my possessions. We have no idea of the difference we make when we believe in the promises of God and pass them on to our children. Genesis 25:11 (NLT) says “After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac” (see also Genesis 17:19).

The choices Abraham makes in his life give me an invitation to explore what it would look like if I believed in the promises of God. What if I, like Abraham, believed in the promise that one day through Abraham the nations of the world would be blessed. Isaac will continue the LINE OF FAITH that one day will lead to the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. What if I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died for my sins?

Genesis 25 is not about Abraham’s death. It’s about LEAVING A LEGACY. I choose to believe in Christ and LEAVE A LIFECHANGING LEGACY of faith for generations to come. What about you?

Pastor Ross

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Part 3 – Genesis 21:14-21 – MY KINGDOM FOR A GPS!

Destination Straight Ahead!

When we left to Pastor a Church in the Whitsundays we left our children, Ben and Rachel, behind in Sydney. Rachel was still in her late teens, but both of them were already involved in Hillsong Church and did not want to leave. We remember the pain of driving off without them and for the next 10 years we commuted between the Whitsundays and Sydney every opportunity we had. It’s so strange leaving home WITHOUT YOUR KIDS. It is normally the other way around. In Genesis 21 Abraham’s pain must have been so much worse as he realised he would never see Ishmael again.

“So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he SENT HER AWAY with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba.” (Genesis 21:14 NLT).

Abraham gives her JUST ENOUGH supplies for a journey to the NEXT WELL. He doesn’t send them away with a caravan of supplies, just food enough to carry on her back. HOW CRUEL IS THIS? (Abraham really doesn’t know how to treat women well). How does he expect her to survive in the desert? He doesn’t give her a plan on what she can do with her life now, but hopefully he tells her how to get to the next well. The tension and emotion in the air as they leave must be thick.

DIVORCE is never pleasant, especially when children are involved, but Abraham doesn’t count on them getting lost. Most people don’t stop to think about the consequences of divorce or how much it will effect the next generations.

Hagar is now a HOMELESS SINGLE MUM with no resources in a hopeless situation and there’s no women’s shelter in sight. Like so many REFUGEES today she has been through a conflict that has led to her being deprived of a husband, with devastating results.

She heads in the general direction of her old home in Egypt, but sure enough, without a GPS, she MISSES THE NEXT WELL. “When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.” (Genesis 21:15 NLT) 

Perhaps Ismael is thinking of the fun he had made of baby Isaac and the consequences of his actions which has led them into this desert, but whatever it is, all laughter and cynicism is gone and He begins to cry out to God. In Genesis 21:17 it says that “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” 

God of course already knows what is wrong but he wants Hagar to articulate to Him what she knows of her situation so he sends an angel with these questions. GOD’S INTERVENTION INTO MY CIRCUMSTANCES IS SO OFTEN ACTIVATED BY MY CONFESSIONS. “What wrong? Don’t be afraid. Speak to Me. Trust Me”. It’s a good policy Just keep speaking to God when life isn’t working out as you planned.

It seems Hagars GPS wasn’t broken afterall – GOD’S POSITIONING SYSTEM. All of sudden Hagar sees the well. So often the answers I need are right in front of me but I can’t see them until I pray (Genesis 21:18-19). Hagar is sent to encourage Ishmael with WORDS OF LIFE AND PRACTICAL HELP.

God bless you Church as you do as 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) says – “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” I recited this verse to a woman some time ago and she said “I couldn’t do that. Why would God be interested in my worries and cares.” HE IS! Romans 8:35-37 (NLT) says, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” 

Ishmael “became a skillful archer,” (I once was given the mechanism for a crossbow. I wonder what happened to it?) Anyway, “he settled in the wilderness of Paran (Arabia). His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt.” and they all lived in conflict with Israel sadly ever after.  

Pastor Ross