Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, April 23, 2016
Today’s Scripture Focus: Genesis 16
We are focusing on sin recovery principle number one of 12: “We admit that we are powerless against sin and thus we cannot manage our lives without God’s miraculous intervention.”
This story is chock-full of lessons, but I am going to do my best to target our sin recovery principle here.
Abram and Sarai were in an apparently impossible situation. They could not have children, yet God promised that they would. This is why I said that they were in an “apparently” impossible situation. Remember with us, especially when it comes to salvation and victory over sin, all we face are impossibilities. But with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Not only did God promise the unfruitful, elderly couple that they would have a child, but that child would become the ancestor of Messiah, through whom all nations of the world would be blessed. Messiah would save His people from their sins—another miracle (Matthew 1:21).
Do you realize what happened here? When God told them that He was going to perform a miracle in their lives, which would bless so many others, their unbelief thrust them into self-preservation mode. So they enacted Sarai’s ridiculous plan to enhance God’s ability to keep His own promise. Lest you think I am being hard on them, I am not willing to give them a pass simply because I can relate or might have made a similar blunder. We must be honest and call sin by its right name even if by doing so we indict our own behaviors. It was a ridiculous plan. Abram took the bait and followed Sarai’s plan much like Adam did when Eve offered him that infamous bite of fruit in Eden. Neither Adam nor Abram were driven by lust per se, but they both chose the sin route instead of awaiting God’s power to manifest His miracle. Abram had sex with Hagar so they could produce a child who, in their minds, would become the miracle God promised. And we all continue to experience the fall out from that decision. There is deadly contention between Isaac and Ishmael’s descendants as you read this post all because Abram and Sarai chose to trust their own abilities rather than God’s Word. I will not go through the entire story. Please go back and read it again when you have an opportunity.
What drove Abram and Sarai’s powerlessness was their lack of trust in God to do exactly what He said He would. In other words, they did not believe His Word. Hello? Are you getting this? Whenever we choose to second-guess God’s Word, we forfeit our ability to do what He commands. We forfeit our victory over sin. The power to live holy lives is in God’s Word! He said that we must be holy as He is holy. That’s His Word. What if we second-guess it? He said that there is no temptation that He has neglected to empower us to resist. That is His Word. What if we second-guess it? He said that we could do all things through His Son who gives us strength. That is His word! What if we second-guess it? He said that the devil is cast down and defeated. That is God’s Word! What if we second-guess it? Do you see the kind of power we forfeit when we second-guess God’s Word?
So today we need to take an honest inventory of our lives and admit the times we have neglected to study, share, and have faith in God’s Word. We need to honestly admit that we are powerless to overcome our sin habits without God’s miraculous intervention. We need to forfeit our right to invent alternate sin recovery plans and submit to God’s instead. It is then and only then that we will receive the miracles God promised as He gives us new hearts and a right spirit. When we begin to trust Him fully, we are well on our way to a full recovery from our sinful condition.