Let me start with a commonly known story for the search of living happily ever after.
Sarah is 25 she is smart and has a degree, and a good job. She has worked hard to get where she is., but Sarah desires love. She is single and has been hurt in the past but she has faith that there is someone out there that is perfect for her. With so many people in the world there must be at least ONE! Sarah has her eyes on a gentleman that works in her office. He’s handsome, hardworking; they get along well, and seem to have a good connection. Sarah talks to her friends about him, blushes when he’s around and dresses up just for him to notice her. One day he does, and they start dating. Shortly after dating they are sleeping together and staying at each other’s place overnight. They are both happy. They fall in love and everything seems to be perfect in Sarah’s life. Sarah can see a future with him although he it’s sure he wants to be married or have kids. Sarah puts everything into this relationship. She does everything she can to keep his attention on her, so that he won’t want to leave and will eventually see her as his bride. Sarah notices one day that there seems to be distance between her and her boyfriend. The distance between them grows and after a couple of weeks he breaks up with her. Sarah is devastated. A year later Sarah has labeled that relationship as” it wasn’t meant to be” and goes in search of the “right man”.
Does this story sound like something you have heard before? Maybe you are going through this right now. Maybe you have been the consoling friend rehashing why it didn’t work out over a cup of coffee. Or maybe you have watched women in your family search for love in the same manner. In this first chapter we are going to discuss the 4 steps of the Hollywood formula according to Chip Ingram. 1. Find the right person. 2. Fall in love 3. Fill your hopes and dreams on this person for your future fulfillment 4. If failure occurs repeat steps 1, 2, and 3. We don’t realize how much Hollywood, media, and fairy tales have influenced our thinking and trained us that this is the proper way to carry out a relationship. This week we will discuss what went wrong. Next week we will discuss how God wants us to make it right.
Verses for reflection
Song of Songs 2:1-7
Ephesians 1:4, 5:22-33
Sarah and Abram : It seemed like a good idea at the time!
Last week we discussed obedience and submission to God using the life of Sarah and Abram. We learned that fear cause them to sin against God but God still protected them and found favor in them .Today we will continue with that mindset and continue with Genesis 15:1-6.
Here God is making a promise to protect and provide an heir for Abram and Sarah. Abram discusses his future with the Lord and God tells him that his heir will not be from a servant maid (this was acceptable in society) but an heir will be born from him. Abram believes him and the covenant is made.
In chapter 16 Sarah does what she thinks is best and gives her maidservant to Abram so an heir can be born. She was old and this was probably a painful things to do. However, this action that was acceptable in their world was not acceptable to God. Abram does not take the lead in this situation and tell his wife that this is wrong, but we learn that he let her call the shots and went along with her plan forgetting what the Lord had said to him in Chapter 15:4. Abram sleeps with Hagar the maidservant and she becomes pregnant. Hagar becomes resentful and despises Sarah for this, and fights erupt in the marriage between Abram and Sarah. (16:5-7) Abram gives over control to Sarah completely and the result is Hagar getting mistreated and she runs away.
Hagar running away causes God to come down and speak to her as an angel. He comforts her and let her know that he seems what is going on and that she is hurting but also reassure her that he will protect her and her future son Ishmael. This is the first time we read of an angel talking to a woman and now doubt we all would have been awestruck. She was filled with the Spirit and returned to Sarah and Abram as God had said.
13 years later chapter 17. Where God once again comes to Abram and tells him that soon Sarah will have a son. And in light of this he changes Abram’s name to Abraham (100 y/o) and Sari’s to Sarah(89 y/o). As a sign of maturity and a sign of the promise that is about to come true. They will become the parents of a many nations.
Lastly, in chapter 20 we see God testing them once again in the same way that they were tested 25 years previous. But God stops, and protects them from their sin, and blesses them with land before the birth of Isaac. Which leads us into our next session…