A woman shared with me recently how her husband made a purchase that was well outside their budgeting possibilities.
Another revealed how her power was shut off because he wouldn’t pay the bills.
And yet another woman tearfully shared how her husband was having an affair with a woman at work.
And I can’t even begin to describe the conversations I have with women whose husbands have emotionally abandoned them, are verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive towards them or their kids.
Men who have failed to act like men have been around for centuries.
Abram (Genesis 12) was one of them. Not once, but TWICE, he gave his wife, Sarai, to a ruler and she was added to the ruler’s harem.
Now mind you, Sarai was not perfect, either. In Genesis 16 we see her take matters into her own hands, has her husband impregnate her maidservant, Hagar, then gets angry at her husband saying, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” (verse 16:5) When Abram tells her to do with Hagar what she wants, her response is to mistreat her – so much so that Hagar actually fled.
Think about that for a moment.
I wonder about the phrase, “mistreat.” I’m guessing it was pretty bad because Hagar left. And human nature would indicate that Sarai was taking out her anger and hurt at herself and her husband on Hagar.
Are we really any different?
Don’t we often blame others instead of looking to ourselves and God for what we need to do differently?
How many times have we stepped in front of God because He wasn’t moving fast enough, at least in our opinion? Or taken things in our own hands, instead of following His leading because we thought we knew more? Or how about blamed others for situations we’ve created? I find it interesting that of the stories in The Respect Dare, the one with the most criticism on Amazon is one where a child gets hurt – some people think that we can and should protect our kids from literally everything, regardless of what God is saying.
What is also interesting to me in these verses is Hagar is told by God to go back and submit to her mistress.
In other words, don’t run away, don’t avoid, but go back and deal with it.
And she does. But not before she named the well where God spoke to her, “Beer Lahai Roi,” in honor of El Roi, “the God who sees me.” If you are a guy, here’s a great blog that might inspire you – same thoughts, but written from a man’s perspective.
So these three bible “greats” are a complete mess from the very beginning. Abram is passive, Sarai is controlling and mean, and Hagar is fearful. Eventually everyone does the right thing, but not before more drama. Hagar had the earliest demonstration of courage and obedience. But Sarai and Abram eventually get things right, too. More on that later this week.
But when we look at the bible, we need to remember a few things – it’s not a book of perfect people behaving well. There’s but One person in the story that gets it right, and that’s Christ. The rest of the book is filled with a bunch of misfits and imperfect people just like us, who somehow are granted righteousness – just by believing God. Genesis 15:6 reveals that it was Abram’s heart, his faith, not his actions, that made him righteous. And the New Testament tells us that when we make Christ Lord of our lives, believing Who He is, and what He did, we are then saved.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
And while it is true that as we mature in Christ, more of His character is revealed through us, and yet…
In Romans 7:15, we hear Paul describe similar experiences to Abram’s: 15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
Last week, we talked about how we are saints with a sin problem and will always be.
So know that these other people who claim to follow Christ will make decisions that impact your life – decisions that are wrong, sinful, and against what God has told you and them. Even if they are saved, they are still going to sin – and so will you. Stop being surprised, however, when these things happen. Know you and I both are doing the same, just like Abram. Just like Sarai.
There’s nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new “? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.…
It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what country you are from, or what generation you live in. People have always been the same selfish lot.
The bible is the story of redemption from beginning to end, of a people who struggled with the same terrible choices we do – and find Truth along the way. We are blessed in that we get to learn from their mistakes, if we are wise.
And perhaps the biggest question we can ask ourselves is simply, “When it doesn’t look like things are going well, will I trust God with even this?”
And don’t read, “allow your husband to abuse you,” or, “don’t confront him when he sins against you or your kids,” in what I’m saying. But like a number of the stories in The Respect Dare, God has a specific direction for us in the various situations in our lives – and there’s no “formula,” or “if-this-then-that” pat answers, no matter how desperately we want them, or try to force them.
What I’m daring you to do today is to spend some time reading His Word, and then ask Him, “Where do I try to control? Where am I resisting You?” then expectantly wait for Him to answer you. He might in just a few moments, or it might take longer, maybe even later in the day – but be looking for an answer.
Our God is always speaking.
We just need to learn to listen better. As for me, I’m trying to hold my kids loosely. I know you know what I mean.
So glad you are on the journey with us!
Love to you,
What about you? What are you dealing with these days that is a challenge for you to trust Him?
P.S. We need your help!!! We’re trying to raise money to finish getting Daughters of Sarah on DVD. If you feel blessed by anything you’ve ever read here, or in The Respect Dare, or on our Facebook page, know we’d seriously appreciate the help. 100% of our staff (including me) is volunteer. You can donate here.
EVERY little bit helps! We are nearly halfway to our matching gift of $5000 – making this goal will seriously help with getting Daughters of Sarah on DVD this year. We are so close! 🙂