- Sermon Notes
Waiting for God’s Best
June 21, 2020
1. Waiting! No one likes to wait. Why? Because we want everything now.
2. How many bad decisions have been made due to impatience?
ILLUS – Buying my first car
3. In Genesis 15, we are told that God promised Abraham that an heir would come from his own body, even though he was very old.
4. After considering God’s promise, his old age, and the character of the One who promised, we are told that. . .
Genesis 15:6, Abram believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
5. Genesis 15 could be characterized as Abraham’s “mountain-top experience with God.”
6. But quickly we’re brought to the “valley of testing” in Genesis 16.
7. In fact, the impact of the decision made in Genesis 16 is felt to this very day. Why?
8. Because Abraham and Sarah failed to wait for God’s best.
9. From this passage, we will uncover faith-building principles to help us “Wait for God’s Best.”
I. God Knows Our Pain (1)
A. Sarah’s Pain: No Child
1. For Sarah, Abraham’s wife, it was being childless, that was her deepest wound.
2. For Abraham, the matter was settled in Genesis 15; he would have a son from his own, old body.
3. For Sarah, the matter was unresolved in her heart.
4. Abraham was specifically mentioned, but Sarah was not.
5. Yet, it is implied, taken for granted that Sarah was included.
a. Note: Emphasis on “Abram’s wife.” (1)
b. Conclusion: Sarah is included.
6. Children are a blessing from God.
7. In that day, there was great stigma for those who were childless.
a. No child? “There must be sin in your life.”
b. No child? “You must be cursed by God.”
8. Their culture believed that parents lived on through their children. So, you were cursed with extinction if childless.
APPL – Whatever the issue, struggle, or pain; God knows your pain and God cares for you. You can bring your deepest wounds, anxieties, and fears to your Father in heaven.
1 Peter 5:6-7, Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
B. Sarah’s Temptation: Hagar’s available
1. Hagar was an Egyptian maid.
a. She was young and beautiful.
b. She was loyal and trusted, it appeared.
c. But as an Egyptian, Hagar was outside of the covenant that God established with Abraham.
d. Hagar was acquired because of compromise: Abram’s words to Sarai, “Say you are my sister so that it may go well with me.” (Gen 12:10-20)
Genesis 12:15-16, Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.
APPL – Notice that one compromise sets the stage for the next compromise.
James 1:14-15, But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
APPL – All of us are tempted. Temptation is not sin.
Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
• It’s what we do with the temptation that determines victory or defeat.
2 Corinthians 10:5, We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
2. By the way, God struck Pharaoh’s house with a plague to protect Sarah and His promise to Abraham through her. But the table was set for the next compromise.
II. God Wants Our Faith, Not Our Help (2-3)
A. Sarah’s Assessment: “It’s God’s fault!”
1. Sarah told Abraham, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children.” (2)
a. God closes the womb.
b. In 1 Samuel 1:5-6, it is mentioned twice in two verses that “the Lord had closed” Hannah’s womb.
c. But God also opens the womb.
Psalm 113:9, He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!
2. KEY: Sarah was hurting and filled with doubt. If only Sarah could have seen that she was. . .
a. Barren but not because of sin in her life.
b. Barren but not cursed of God.
c. Barren but right in the middle of God’s will.
APPL – God’s delays are not God’s denials.
APPL – Compare the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden; Satan questioned God’s character, power, and love.
Genesis 3:5, For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
APPL – I wonder how many bad decisions have been made while “waiting for God’s best” because of a wrong interpretation of God’s delay. If God makes a promise, He will always keep it.
Psalm 25:3, No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame (NIV)
B. Sarah’s Solution: “Please go in to my maid”
1. How desperate Sarah must have been.
a. Willing to give her husband to another woman.
b. It is dangerous to be in a place when you want someone or something so bad that you will go to any length to get it.
2. Sarah’s plan was a culturally accepted and legally practiced; build your family through a surrogate.
3. Beware! Just because a practice is legal or culturally acceptable does not mean it is God’s best.
APPL – Whenever we think God needs our help, our liuves will suddenly feel out of control.
• God does not need our help; He wants our trust.
• We can depend on God and be confident that He will fail us.
• We can patiently wait for God until He says, “It is time to go.”
APPL – But trying to help God is tempting. We must remember that God’s promises are never realized through human effort alone. They are. . .
• Supernatural, not natural.
• Undeniably from God so that God is glorified.
APPL – Why did God make Abraham and Sarah wait?
• Why does God make us wait?
• God was waiting for Abraham and Sarah to be “as good as dead” so that they would receive a child because they believed in God for a son.
Hebrews 11:11-12, By faith even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised; therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
APPL – There is a big lesson in this for us.
• Sometimes we are waiting because God is waiting for us.
• God waits for us to come to the end of our resources, to be “as good as dead.”
C. “Abram listened to the voice of Sarai”
1. Sarah made some true statements.
2. Sarah’s plan seemed reasonable.
3. Sarah’s plan was culturally acceptable.
APPL – We must prayerfully test all messages, even from ‘trusted’ sources. We must never let the opinions of others rise above God’s Word.
APPL – Abraham is linked to Adam when he fell in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:17, Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”
APPL – We must carefully listen to what is said.
• Abraham listened to Sarah’s voice, but he did not hear her heart; what she was really saying.
• If Abraham had been listening, he would have told Sarah…
o You’re my wife.
o My covenant is with you and our God.
o Let’s seek God and wait for His best.
III. God’s Blessings Come Without Regret (4-6)
A. “Abraham went in to Hagar” (4)
1. Their marriage bed was defiled.
Hebrews 13:4, Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
2. Hagar conceived.
3. Hagar despised Sarah.
a. The loyal, trusted maid became an arrogant enemy.
b. All thought Hagar was blessed and Sarah was cursed.
c. Hagar was doted on, Sarah was ignored.
d. It did not turn out as Sarah had planned.
APPL – What was God showing Abraham, Sarah, and us as well?
• We cannot fulfill God’s promises according to our schedules.
• We cannot fulfill God’s promises by our power.
• We cannot fulfill God’s promises through our wisdom.
• When we try, the consequences are often regrettable.
B. Life fell apart for Abraham and Sarah (5-6)
1. Sarah blamed Abraham.
a. Even though he followed her plan. It looks very similar to the blame game after the Fall.
b. She was suspicious of Abraham, insinuating that he caused the change in Hagar’s attitude.
2. Abraham passively deferred to Sarah.
a. No leadership.
b. No repentance.
c. No reconciliation.
3. Sarah harshly treated Hagar until she ran away.
APPL – When we try to help God, we often make a mess where there would not have been one.
• That new mess will quickly spread.
• That new mess impacts not only us but those around us.
ILLUS – Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
APPL – Consider the following questions before you move ahead with a plan:
1. Will this choice contradict a principle from God’s Word?
Psalm 25:12, Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
2. Will this choice honor God?
1 Corinthians 10:31, Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
3. Do I truly have peace about this decision?
Romans 8:6, For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace
4. Am I waiting patiently for the Lord, giving Him room to move on your behalf?
Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
• Are you waiting for an answer or a breakthrough?
• God loves you. Wait for Him. He will do it.
• God is worth the wait.
Genesis 16:1-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will [a]obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 After Abram had [b]lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. 4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your [c]arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her [d]sight. May the Lord judge between [e]you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your [f]power; do to her what is good in your [g]sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.