1. Abram misunderstood. The time lapse is often misinterpreted as a “NO.” Waiting is part of God’s instruction. We teach our children to wait. We always want God to fix things NOW! He is refining us.
In my own life, I often make assumptions about details. Abram could have asked God if His promise included Sarah or would the mother of his offspring be someone else? Or he could have just asked before he got Hagar involved.
I’m trying to remember to look out for assumptions and ask God before creating Ishmael’s in my own life.
I also like the analogy of the vultures representing the discouragers who come along while we are waiting on God.
2. Beginning on page 2 the last paragraph about our relationship with God – Psalm 62:8 Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). (AMP)
“Pour out your hearts before Him” really jumped out at me. This week I began writing my prayers in the morning. I “pour out” better in writing. It also gives me a record for later review.
3. a. Sarai recommended that Abram have intercourse with Hagar, her Egyptian maid. I don’t see anything in the verses that suggests Sarai did this because she believed God’s promise. She does, however, believe that God has prevented her from becoming pregnant. The focus seems to be on herself not Abram. She says “so I can obtain children by her.” Genesis 16:2
b. Genesis 15:4 …a son coming from your own body will be your heir. (There was no mention of Sarai in this word from the Lord.)
c. Abram agreed to Sarai’s plan because he had a promise that he would have a son from his own body. Abram showed doubt by agreeing to a plan that was other than God’s best.
Sarai doubted in her own ability to conceive, assuming it was her, despite no evidence to prove this was incorrect. (Perhaps since she did not conceive during her time with the Egyptian Pharaoh, who did have other offspring, she assumed it was her. However, God said He prevented anyone in Pharaoh’s harem from conceiving during that time.)
4. a. Immediate results – Hagar looked on Sarai with contempt and despised her. Sarai mistreated her. Sarai admits to her own wrongdoing but puts the blame on Abram. So this turn of events caused a rift between Sarai and Abram and Sarai and Hagar.
b. Due to feeling unloved, children and adults turn to all sorts of sexual relationships or substance abuse to fill the void. Due to financial need and greed, people steal, lie, or cheat others to get what they need or want. The desire for political power leads people to mislead, lie, commit voter fraud, form alliances with unscrupulous individuals, etc.
c. Oh, let me count the ways.
5. a. Hagar’s status changed when she became Abram’s secondary wife. When she readily conceived, she likely felt superior to Sarai in that way. She now despised Sarai and was no longer content as Sarai’s servant. Sarai did not anticipate this change in their relationship. I can only imagine when the two women looked into each others eyes after the first time Abram and Hagar had been together. Sarai was likely jealous – realizing that the Abram and Hagar now shared a bond that had been hers alone. Previously, Sarai likely viewed Hagar as less than human. Hagar’s act of bearing her a child was just another act of service. Now, Sarai realizes Hagar considers this baby her own child and considers herself one of Abram’s wives.
Or perhaps Hagar felt Sarai had taken advantage of her good nature and gone too far. Sleeping with this old man may have been repulsive to her. Now she was pregnant and expected to give up this baby now growing inside her.
b. When Hagar ran away, she was now alone in the wilderness. She had no means of support. Her only plan was to flee from an intolerable situation. Beyond that, she had no plan.
c. The promise that she would have many descendents. The angel of the Lord confirmed her worth as a human by saying that God saw and heard her misery.
6. The angel of the Lord is likely the Lord Jesus himself. In Genesis 16:10 He says, “I will so increase your descendants…” rather than God will or He will.
In Isaiah 63:9, He is called “the angel of His presence” and it is said “He redeemed them…”
In Judges 13:18-22 Monoah’s wife realizes that they have seen God and lived. In verse 18, the angel of the Lord says his name is wonderful.
7. a. We should be humble and submit ourselves to one another as unto the Lord. In reading some additional references that contained the word “submit” I realized that we are all submitting ourselves to something. We either submit ourselves to God and His ways, or we submit ourselves to the ways of the world. The world’s ways suggest we should give in to our selfish desires. It is pride that keeps us from submitting ourselves to others.
b. The challenge continues – remain patient and confident that God will do all that He has promised in regard to my sons.
8. a. Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
b. Ten years
c. Like Abram and Sarai, Christians face the temptation to take matters into our own hands when we believe God is taking too long to answer our prayer or fulfill a promise.
d. Do not pay attention to the advice of others who encourage us to do the above. And do not succumb to the temptation to devise our own plan to hurry things along.
9. a. Word studies (from AMP) on the words translated as be blameless, perfect, sins wiped out, etc. are as follows:
Genesis 17:1 – blameless, wholehearted, complete
Matthew 4:48 – growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity
Acts 3:19 – So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean)…
Philippians 3:12 – Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own….
Philippians 3:15 – spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.
Colossians 1:28 – …wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect)…
Hebrews 6:1 – advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity
I think the verse in Hebrews sums it up best.
b. walk and live habitually before Almighty God
- multiply him exceedingly
- father of many nations
- exceedingly fruitful
- father of kings
- deed to the land of Canaan for ever
- everlasting covenant
b. Genesis 17:8 And I will give to you and to your posterity after you the land in which you are a stranger [going from place to place], all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
11. Deuteronomy 30:6 – It represents what God is doing in their hearts so that they would love the Lord their God with all their [mind and] heart and with all their being.
Ezekiel 44:7 – Circumcision represents the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendents. Lack of physical circumcision also represents a lack of circumcision of the heart, a breach of proper fellowship with God.
Romans 2:28-29 – [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter] (AMP)
12. a. Christians are symbolically circumcised in baptism which represents our old carnal nature being buried and completely forgiven new man is raised up with the resurrected Christ. In Christ we are a new creation set free from the law and the principalities and powers that fought against us.
b. The woe is me syndrome
13. Genesis 17:21 – by this time next year. On that same day, Abraham was obedient in circumcising every male in his household.
14. I’m beginning to really get the idea of resting in Him. It’s all about trusting Him. REALLY trusting.
The world teaches us to assert ourselves.
Make a plan.
Make it happen.
That works for some things, but not when it comes to submitting ourselves to one another or trying to help God answer our prayers. We can easily get into witchcraft by trying to control others.
These BSF study question posts are updated daily (ideally) until all the questions are answered.
AMP = Amplified Bible Version
Constructive comments are encouraged.