Sermon 6/25/2023: “Natural Consequences”

Listen here: “Natural Consequences

Genesis 16; 21:8-21; Romans 6:1-11

The story of Hagar and Ishmael is more complicated that the Lectionary presents it here. And it is important to understand the whole story, and not just part of it.

  • Genesis 16.
    • Sarah got ahead of the Lord and decided to help Him by telling Abraham to impregnate her servant to provide the promised son. She thought she was helping God.
    • The story is similar to Eve in the Garden, who thought she would help God by listening to the Serpent, who came to her as an angel or messenger of God, telling her what God was doing: “ For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).
      • Eve then “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6).
      • Eve thought that eating the forbidden fruit would result in godly wisdom, without the pain and hassle of learning the hard way. That’s what the Serpent told her.
  • The whole story of Abraham is about the religious change that God was bringing about through Abraham coming out of Ur.
    • Remember that Abraham grew up in Ur, and his family practiced the religion of Ur, which included human sacrifice.
    • Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, but God intervened by providing a substitute. God was ending the practice of human sacrifice. How?
    • First, God substituted animal sacrifice for human sacrifice, and that is the history of Israel and the Temple.

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