Getting Rid of the Slave Woman [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
You don’t have to help the promises of God come true. The author of the promise is also the finisher of it.
“Now you, like Isaac, are children of promise.” Galatians 4:28
It was by God’s sovereign grace that he made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis. “I’m going to bless you. I’m going to make your name great. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars are in the heavens.” But despite the fact that Abraham and Sarah were given this great promise, ten years later they still had no baby.
The promise had not changed, but at some point Abraham and Sarah decided they needed to take matters into their own hands. It wasn’t like they were turning against God - they simply decided that they needed to do something to make God’s promise come to pass. The temptation for us, too, is not to turn totally away from God. The temptation is to distort the gospel, believing that God’s grace somehow requires our hard work.
So Abraham and Sarah brought their maidservant, Hagar, to become a surrogate mother. Abraham thought he was doing the right thing, and Hagar did bear a son. But God reaffirmed His original promise that Sarah would have a son. Abraham laughed at the prospect. He was willing to settle for Ishmael, the son of the slave woman, but God had something far better. God would send Isaac, whose name meant laughter, so that Abraham and Sarah could remember that the joy of the Lord was their strength.
Sometimes, though we start our Christian lives excited by grace, we begin to hear the gospel incorrectly and start thinking that it is all about our self-effort in order to live a righteous life. God has something better! God wants your life to be fueled by laughter. God wants you to be motivated not by the tyranny of following the law but by the freedom that comes from the promise. The joy of the Lord is your strength. And that’s the Gospel!
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