Although called Patriarch, this is as much Sarah’s story as Abraham’s. And in this short episode we meet a woman battered by life, it’s expectations and apparently broken promises. A woman whose laugh is no longer carefree but cynical, who hides away in tents, awkward in social engagement and lost in faith. But a woman who the Lord knows, seeks out and believes in. A woman who was beginning a new journey of hope and fulfilled dreams. It may be a short podcast but it’s not a bad one!!
What’s it like to encounter God! Sometimes the Biblical accounts don’t help because they tell the whole story. Sure, they tell of the encounter themselves but we have to work out the state of mind of the people involved in the lead up and the context in which the supernatural invaded the natural. I’m not sure renaissance art helps either, beautiful though it is. My hunch is when Abraham met with the three supernatural visitors, it was just another hot lazy early afternoon. I guess by this time too, Sarah at least had grown tired and probably cynical in her faith. She would be truly remarkable not to have done so. And it is into the familiar, the mundane, the questioning, the pain, God loves to appear. It was true in 2000 BC, it was true in 0AD and it is true today. For you and me. So before you give up, give this podcast a listen. biblenovels.com F: Bible novels
Here’s the dream. What if our identity can be shaped by an intimate encounter with the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and our destiny be worked out in response to His call and direction. That is life in all its fulness. This episode of the story of Abraham tells how a life can be shaped and empowered by such an encounter. It isn’t in the Bible to tease us. The writer to the Hebrews when retelling the story of Abraham wraps up by saying: “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they [the old Testament saints] be made perfect.” (11v40). Dare you believe this is true? Listen with open ears and open hearts, and see!
Another reality check: teenagers! The harsh reality is they expose our every weakness as a parent. There can be no respite. And often they come into our lives at a time when we’re already dealing with too much other stuff. Doubts, disappointments and questions are beginning to take root as we hit middle age. Perhaps past certainties of faith have become blurred. We have little time or inclination for God, probably just when we need Him most. The good news is as we see in this podcast, however far we drift from God, is never too far. He waits patiently and when we’re ready, will reveal His love to us again. www.biblenovels.com
It’s hard for us to accept that characters like Abraham and Sarah were as human as you and me! Stress tested their marriage, and their faith would have had its ups and downs too. The Bible allows us to see the flaws of a David, Peter or James and John’s mum come to that! And it does so, because otherwise we tend to think we’re beyond hope; somehow not made of the material God used in the Biblical stained-glass window saints! The Prince of Lies would love us to give up on anything holy, like marriage or faith. He wants us to focus on our failings and poor decisions. Our Father wants us to focus on His faithfulness and restoration through Christ. This podcast isn’t action packed or feel good. It is though real, and I pray you will find hope through affinity. www.biblenovels.com
The story of God meeting a pregnant runaway slave dying in the desert and speaking faith, hope and love into her life is more remarkable than we can ever truly comprehend. As I narrate my meagre attempts to describe it, I’m reminded again just how inadequate my words are. We so take the incarnation of God in Christ for granted, that His love and grace have lost their mystery and wonder. Stories like God meeting Hagar at Beer Lahai Roi help re-affirm the glorious truth that God knows and loves us just as we are, and wants to save and transform us into who He purposed us to be. There is no mess or failing too big for the power of His love. By the way I love the fact that it is the servant girl who isthe first person He meets with after the fallout from Hagar’s pregnancy by Abram. He will meet with the Patriarch and Matriarch too, but He starts with the most insignificant and vulnerable. He doesn’t mince His words, and there are consequences to the chaos we create, but that is down the road. Right here and now, this is a story of revelation and love by the the Lord of Heaven to the lowliest maidservant.
This is the story of how sex and power can destroy relationships, how failure, hurt and humiliation ferment guilt, bitterness and pride, and of the brokenness and chaos that results. Desire once unleashed is hard to tame, weakness once exposed is hard to cover up, power once discovered is hard to control. Humanity may have advanced in so many ways, and modern culture may have increased expectations and aspirations; but when we put our heads on our pillows at the end of the day, the thoughts that race through our minds are probably not so very different from those of Abram, Sarai and Hagar. Their questions are very similar to ours, and the answers lie in the same place too, the one to whom the story of Abraham ultimately points: Christ, and Christ alone.
Our poor decisions tend not to just happen. Even the spur of the moment ones often have their origins in mindsets and habits of behavior formed over a lengthy period. Sarai and Abram’s decision, (and yes both must take ownership, because Abram really can’t say: The woman made me do it!) was probably formulated over time, justification fermenting the brew until it was ready. The impact on the three principle players must have been marked. However we may seek to explain things, we tend to know when we’re making a poor decision. It is just we make another poor decision to ignore what we really know. Then we have to deal with the consequences, most of which impact all those around us, and often impact those who come after us too. In Abraham’s case, it would impact all of history. Listen and reflect: what deicsions am I seeking to justify today and why. I pray it saves you and many others from deep pain.