Genesis 067 – Unforeseen ConsequencesGenesis 16:7-14 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 23, 2022 • Genesis
Well, good morning everybody! Let’s take our Bibles if we could this morning and open them up to the book of Genesis chapter 16 and verse 7 (Gen 16:7). The title of our message this morning is “Unforeseen Consequences”, Unforeseen Consequences. See if we can make it through verse 14 today and maybe, who knows, maybe a little beyond that.
We continue on with our study of the book of Genesis, having completed part 1, Genesis, 1 through 11 featuring four events: Creation, fall, flood, national dispersion where a promise of a coming Messiah is being traced through that section; and it really is not until you get to the second part of Genesis beginning in chapter 12 that we learn of a special nation that is going to bring this Messiah to the earth. A nation that God brought into existence called the nation of Israel and that’s the significance of the life of Abraham. Abraham was the tool that God decided to use to bring forth the special nation which would ultimately bring forth His Messiah and so that’s why we are focused on, as of recent, the life of this man Abraham, a very pivotal character; and Abraham whose name is still Abram at this point has been the recipient of tremendous promises from God. Of course the problem from the human perspective is, okay Lord, you gave me the promise, when are you going to act on fulfilling your promise? Cause it’s been ten years; and Abram was promised a child through his body, Abram and Sarai and ten years had passed and they just got tired of waiting on God. Have you ever been in that position? And so God needs a little help I guess and so they come up with this plan. We saw it last week in verses 1 through 6 (Gen 16: 1-6) where Abram impregnates Hagar, a bond servant in Abram’s home and from that unholy union comes forth… they want to bring forth a child named Ishmael, whose name will be called Ishmael and we’re going to say, God you’ve got to work that way, you’ve got to work through Ishmael. 3:15
So, these are people that were of God. We will see Abram and Sarai in heaven but they made a blunder here because they tried to help God, as if, poor God needs help; and so what comes out of that is not only does Hagar conceive, but what comes out of it is a bunch of unforeseen consequences that they never anticipated. Many of those consequences are still plaguing the nation of Israel to the present day; and when we move off into our own direction and do things our own way, one of the things we never think about are the consequences. It’s like Satan never gives us the consequences on the front end. As we like to say, you can pick your sin but you can’t pick the consequences. The consequences come up and boy! do they start to pile up here in verses 7 through 14 (Gen 16:7-14). So this plan is executed through human power in verses 1 through 6, we saw that last week and now here come the consequences.
Hagar flees as we saw last week and this is where we pick up the story as the conversation begins to take place between Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and someone called the angel of the Lord. 4:57
So, here’s that one, we’re going to work through as we try to look at verses 7 through 14 at least today.
Notice first of all this entity or this personage called the angel of the Lord and notice if you will Genesis chapter 16 and notice if you will verse 7 (Gen 16:7) it says: Now the angel of the LORD found her… Now, in a moment, I’m going to try to tell you that the angel of the Lord is Jesus, a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ Himself, more on that in just a second, but notice that the angel of the Lord is pursuing Hagar. It doesn’t say Hagar found the angel of the Lord, it says the angel of the Lord found Hagar and that is such a beautiful picture of the work of God amongst fallen people. Luke, 19 and verse 10 (Luke 19:10) says: For the Son of God has come to seek and save that which was lost… You know, for many years I thought, well, one day I woke up and I decided to pursue Jesus and I got saved. The problem is when you look back in hindsight, which is 2020, you can see the circumstances involved and you can actually see that it was God creating the conditions, God creating the conversations, God creating the contacts through which I would be saved and God brought me to the point of decision. In hindsight, I really wasn’t seeking God, God was seeking me and this is what is happening with Hagar. She is fleeing and God is seeking her and it’s interesting that Hagar is the beginning of a line through Ishmael that wouldn’t even lead to the Messiah. This is the non-Jewish, non-Hebrew line and yet God loved Hagar enough to pursue her even though she wasn’t from the right line leading to Jesus. 7:28
This should not surprise us because God loves everybody. After all, John chapter 3, verse 16 (John 3:16) says: For God so loved the… Nation of Israel, it doesn’t say that, so… For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life… John in his little epistle describing the nature of God says this, in 1st John, 4, verse 8 (1 John 4:8): … God is love… He doesn’t even say God is loving, which is true, which would be true. He says: …God is love… God can’t help but be loving because his core nature is that of love and God loves Israel, God loves Sarai, God loves Abram, but He also loves Hagar and He also loves Ishmael and one of the things we need to avoid in Christianity is creating an “Us vs Them” mindset because a lot of us are involved in the culture war and we’re trying to protect the culture and that in and of itself can be a good thing but if you’re not careful with that, what you’ll start to see is the other side, the other people that don’t think the way we think, as the enemy. Folks, they are not the enemy. They are the mission field. They are souls for whom Christ died and it’s very frustrating to see, you know, progressive types marching, protesting, jamming their perspective upon us in the schools, in government and it’s very tempting to get angry with them and forget the fact that they are souls for whom Christ died, because God died for everyone and God loves everyone. I’m not saying, don’t defend the culture, don’t speak up in the culture war. What I’m saying is be careful about the attitude, because if you’re not careful, you’ll start to develop an attitude like Jonah. Jonah, of course, was told to preach the grace of God to Nineveh, the lead city of that time of the Assyrians and he appreciated his assignment so much that he went the opposite direction. I mean, God said go east, when he looked at the map he went to Tarshish which is modern day Spain, he went west. He was 100% out of the will of God and the reason that he went the wrong direction was not an accident. He did not like the idea of the love of God going to the enemy, the Assyrians, who were a group of people that did not share Jonah’s values, his morals, his ethics, the right way, he thinks, a country should go. The Assyrians were the opposite of that and he went the opposite way when God called him to preach love to the Assyrians and the story of the book of Jonah is how God brings grace to the Assyrians at Nineveh and the story of Jonah sort of concludes not with the praising prophet, praise God for what God just did, but with the pouting prophet and Jonah says to God, I knew you were going to do this. I knew you were going to shed grace and love on these people and it’s almost as if he is upset about the whole thing; and I have to be honest with you, I can get that way myself because I don’t like what’s happening in the country any more than you do and you can develop very quickly a hardened heart towards people that don’t share our values and you start to treat them like the enemy when the Bible says, they are not the enemy, they are the mission field. So, in the attempt to rescue America, which may not be a bad thing to do, let’s not get our eyes of the ultimate mission, which is the Great Commission and here you see the angel of the Lord pursuing the non-Hebraic, non-Israeli lineage, pursuing this woman named Hagar because God loves everybody. 12:28
Now, this expression here, the angel of the Lord, is the first appearance that we’ve had in the whole book of Genesis of the angel of the Lord. Who is the angel of the Lord? Well, I’m of the perspective that the angel of the Lord is the eternally existent second member of the trinity, God the Son.
This is an example of what we would call a Theophany or a Christophany or Christ before the manger, Christ before the incarnation. Many examples of this in the Bible, one of the most prominent ones is Joshua, 5, about verses 13 through 16 (Josh 5:13-16) where Joshua worships the angel of the Lord and if that were a normal angel, the angel would have told Joshua to stop it because John does that twice at the end of the book of Revelation, he worships the angel, he worships the tool that God uses rather than God and the angel two times, not once but twice at the end of the book of Revelation says stop it and yet the angel of the Lord would not do that with Joshua. So obviously we’re not dealing with an ordinary angel here, we’re dealing with a special angel and I think this is another example of this and why do I think that? Because this angel talks in a way that an ordinary angel doesn’t talk. For example if you look at verse 10 (Gen 16:10), it says: Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, I will multiply your descendants… Kind of sounds like something God does. If you look at verse 9 (Gen 16:9) it says: …the angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority… Giving a command. Kind of sounds like something God does. When you go to verses 11 and 12 (Gen 16:11-12) which we’ll be looking at a little later, this angel of the Lord makes some stunning predictions about what is going to come forth from Ishmael’s lineage. So you have an angel of the Lord that has express will, that makes commands or gives commands, I should say, and makes predictions. Sounds like not just an ordinary angel to me, it sounds like the preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus would say to the Pharisees, Abram saw my day and was glad; and they’re looking at Jesus saying, what is He talking about? Jesus is saying, I was there at the story of Abram. It will be clear in Genesis, 18, I think this is our first example of it here, all the way back in Genesis, 16. In fact, if you look at verse 13 (Gen 16:13), it says: Then she… That’s Hagar… called the name of the LORD who spoke to her… Hagar thought it was the Lord, and so that’s who I think this angel of the Lord is. 15:44
So, we have this angel of the Lord, now the second part of verse 7 (Gen 16:7) we have the location where the angel of the Lord pursued Hagar, it says: Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to a place called Shur… So this is the first mention of a fountain or a spring in the entire Bible as far as I can tell. This is something that transpired, we believed in the Negev desert or wilderness.
You’ll see that area there circled, that’s probably where generally speaking where these things transpired; and Hagar, where was she going? She was going, it says there in verse 7, the way to Shur. Now, that’s a famous major highway in the ancient world connecting the land of Canaan, where Hagar was fleeing from, and Egypt; and why was she going back to Egypt? Cause that’s where she came from and that’s what she knew. We saw a little bit of that last week at the end of verse 6. She is actually being persecuted by Sarai, you recall from last week and she flees to what she knew, which was Egypt and that’s when the angel of the Lord actually pursues her. So this took place somewhere between Sinai and Egypt, as Hagar is on the way back to Egypt.
In fact, if you look back at chapter 16 and verse 1 (Gen 16:1), it tells you there that Hagar was an Egyptian. So she’s going back to what she knows and understands because she’s being persecuted and that’s where the angel of the Lord catches up with her because God loves everybody; and that leads the angel of the Lord to ask questions. 17:54
It’s right there in verse 8 (Gen 16:8): He… that’s the angel of the Lord… said Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?… Asks two questions, where are you fleeing from? Question number one. Question number two, where are you going? That’s kind of another clue that this angel of the Lord could be Jesus Christ, a preincarnate appearance of Jesus cause that’s what Jesus was into. If you ever watch Jesus teach and interact with people, He’s constantly asking questions. He is not so much giving lectures or speeches, of course He does that too, and the sermon on the mount, but His teaching style is much like a question and answer session. Jesus in Matthew, 16 and verse 13 (Matt 16:13) says: He was asking His disciples, Who do people say that I am?… He says in Matthew, 16, verse 15 (Matt 16:15) after they all cough up the different opinions: Who do you say that I am? And You have to ask yourself why would God ask questions? Is the question for God? As if God doesn’t know what’s going on? You know when Adam and Eve sinned, God said where are you? As if poor God, you know, lost control of things. God doesn’t ask questions cause He doesn’t know, He knows everything. These are what you call rhetorical questions. A question which is designed to elicit some kind of response in the person to whom the question is aimed, rhetorical questions. Jesus uses this style of teaching constantly; and that’s what’s happening here. Two questions for you Hagar, where do you come from? And where are you going? And what follows is the answer and she only answers one question. She doesn’t answer both of them. It’s there at the end of verse 8, it says: …And she said, I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai… Hagar conceived, she is pregnant with Ishmael, that led her to sort of despise, as we saw last week, or ridicule Sarai, who was barren. Sarai didn’t like that, she complained to her husband Abram and Abram said, treat Hagar the way you want to treat her and she did that. She treated her harshly by way of retaliation and Hagar fled back to what she knew, Egypt. 20:49
It’s kind of interesting that she answers question one, where do you come from? But she doesn’t answer question two, where are you going? Why is that? Because if you don’t know Jesus, you have no idea where you are going. That’s what the life without Christ is like. You may know your origins, you may know where you came from but you have no idea what’s in front of you. The book of Ephesians chapter 2, verse 12 (Eph 2:12) says of us formerly, before we were saved: …having no hope and without God in the world… I shudder to think about what I would be today if I did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the light of Scripture. I would probably, knowing myself, be overdosing on cable television and talk radio round the clock. Angry, fretting, concerned about the decline of civilization and how different it is when you look at those subjects in light of God’s word. When you learn that Satan gets his kingdom first and then Jesus gets His kingdom after that, basic prophecy, which you can only learn through studying God’s word. It gives you a completely different outlook on life, it takes away the anger and the perpetual frustration and gives you a life of hope and optimism and if you don’t have Christ in your life and if you don’t have His word in your life, you have no basis for looking forward into the future with hope and optimism. Only the Christian can do that. You might know where you came from but you have no idea what the future holds. So you’re left to kind of invent it as you go, because thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. The word of God functions as a light and think how frustrating it is to sort of grope around in the darkness when the light’s not on. In fact, when we moved here to the Houston area about ten years ago, we were in our house and I came out about four in the morning to get a drink of water and the light wasn’t on and there was a moving box that hadn’t been unpacked and I tripped on it cause I couldn’t see it and went… I mean, literally, right over and almost reinjured a subluxated shoulder that I had all the way back from my basketball days and I’m lying there on the ground in the dark and I say to myself, you are such an idiot, why didn’t you turn the light on? I mean, if the light is on, the whole problem is fixed and that is how most people live. They have no light, they don’t have the Holy Spirit, they don’t have the Scripture and they’re just kind of fumbling around in the darkness. That’s why she can’t answer the question where are you going? She doesn’t know where she’s going. She’s going back to what she knows. She doesn’t know what her future holds. She does know where she has come from but she doesn’t know where she’s going and it’s interesting that this angel of the Lord now gives her a command. That’s why I think this angel of the Lord must be God Himself. 24:30
Verse 9 (Gen 16:9) it says: The angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress… who is Sarai, who had mistreated Hagar, and look at this… Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority… Now, here is a doctrine that has been completely lost in western evangelical Christianity. The idea that you, in some circumstances, are called by God to be in unfair situations and submit to those unfair circumstances. If you don’t think this is a Biblical doctrine, read the whole book of 1st Peter, that’s what it’s all about. In fact, 1st Peter chapter 2 and verse 18 (1 Pet 2:18) says: Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those that are harsh… Sarai was harsh to Hagar, the angel of the Lord says, go back and submit to her authority. That’s not the American version of Christianity. The American version of Christianity is, if you’re having trouble in any area of your life, go find something better, go find somewhere where you’re respected. I’ve heard a sermon title saying, go not to where you’re tolerated but where you’re celebrated; and it’s, you know, sounds good to hear all that. I’ve just not seen that in this passage here. I’m not against people, you know, if they feel they are being unfairly mistreated, in some circumstances, we live in a free country. You know, you can try to improve your circumstances, but the truth to the matter is there will be times in your life as a Christian where you will be treated completely unfairly and God will shut down opportunities all around you because He’s trying to teach us to submit to unfair treatment, because after all, isn’t that what Jesus did? I mean, there isn’t a man that was treated worse, in terms of justice, than Jesus Christ, and He submitted to that as an example for us to follow; and this kind of teaching is not going to pack out stadiums and fill up auditoriums. What people want to hear is your best life now. What they want to hear is you’re the kid of a king and so you’re entitled to a certain amount of rest, relaxation, leisure and wealth and power, the little gods doctrine, the health and wealth Gospel, name it and claim it, blab it and grab it as I like to say (laughs) and that’s what sells. This kind of thing here won’t sell and yet you could be in an unfair situation, have no way out of it and you could be directly in the will of God and God actually is going to teach you things there that He can’t teach you anywhere else. I think of the times in my life where I’ve been treated the worst by people, those are the times that I’ve grown the most. Wasn’t fun, didn’t enjoy it, but I’ll tell you, the book of 1st Peter sure comes alive. The book of 1st Peter. I mean, who would read that when things are good? Suddenly things are bad, Wow! 1st Peter, that’s got something to say. That’s Christianity. This is like an almost a normal expectation of the child of God living in the devil’s world. I hate abuse more than anybody else. I hate seeing people treated unfairly more than anybody else and yet the walk of the disciple can involve seasons in one’s life of unfair treatment and that’s what the angel of the Lord told Hagar to submit to. 28:59
You go back to verse 6 it says, so Sarai treated her harshly and so Hagar fled and the angel of the Lord, who I think is Jesus, says go right back under those circumstances but I’ll give you grace as you walk through it. That’s the difference. You’re going to learn to depend upon me and trust upon me in a way that you wouldn’t learn to do otherwise. You wouldn’t even see the need for grace in your life if you weren’t in those circumstances and boy, how the learning curve in terms of spiritual growth goes up when we’re there and so the command is followed by prophecies, verses 10 through 12 (Gen 16:10-12) and we can divide these prophecies up as the seed, prophecies to the seed Ishmael, the name Ishmael is prophetically given in advance and the nature of Ishmael is given in advance and notice first of all the seed, chapter 16 and notice verse 10 (Gen 16:10), it says: Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count… Aha! It’s not just harsh treatment, there’s a blessing in it. I’m going to put you in harsh treatment so that you can be blessed. I remember years ago, I did a short term mission trip to the Philippines and I remember talking to a missionary over there describing an injury in his body and as an American, the first thing I thought of was how can we alleviate his pain, how can we alleviate his problem and he said, no, no you don’t understand, this is a blessing. You know, God has blessed me through this bodily problem, because it’s that bodily problem that keeps me humble, dependent upon God, prayerful and usable. See if I was in the United States, this missionary told me, this would be looked at as a curse, but it’s not a curse. It’s my blessing pointing to his injury, he told me that. This is my blessing. Very different way of thinking. 31:22
So, a prophecy is made concerning the seed. Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count… and what it’s saying is from Ismael, who ultimately will come the Arabic people, you’re going to have through Ishmael, Hagar, innumerable descendants. Now, as far as I can tell, this is a promise that has never been given to a non-Hebrew nation, but it’s been given here in that sense. To the Jewish patriarchs, God has said as we’ve studied, you’re going to have descendants as the dust of the earth, you’re going to have descendants as the sand of the sea, you’re going to have descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and now God is saying this exact same thing to a non-Jewish, Hebrew patriarch and Oh, my goodness! He is saying it to a woman. All of these other promises, dust, sand, stars, men, men, men, Jewish men, Hebrew men; and here He’s saying it not only to a non-Hebrew but He is saying it to a woman and these are little things that need to be pointed out because the feminists of today will tell you that this book is a patriarchal book. They will tell you that this book, the Bible, is designed by men to oppress women. They teach this in the university system, public schools around the clock. So many young women will stay away from the Bible, stay away from Christianity because it’s the product of a patriarchal, chauvinistic men controlled world; and those men are out there just to control you and they’ve created literature to keep you in subjection and yet, how can this be? How can that be? When God is making these promises to a woman. The Bible is not misogynistic, woman hating. The truth to the matter, and anybody that’s intellectually honest and reads this book in context will see that the Bible has done more to liberate women than any other book in human history. Right in the first page, where God said to them, Adam and Eve, rule, subdue. He didn’t just say it to Adam, He’d said it to both of them and He said in Genesis, 1, verse 27 (Gen 1:27) to Adam and Eve, you’re both my image bearers. He didn’t say the man is the image bearer of God and the woman is not. That’s not what the Bible says, they are both image bearers and it’s interesting that when you watch the life of Christ on the earth in John chapter, 4, and He goes out of his way to minister to a non-Jewish woman, a Samaritan, who by the way was sexually immoral and He goes out of His way to minister to her and it causes so much consternation in the disciples that they say, what are you talking to her for? I mean, they marveled that He was talking to such a person. A woman? A non-Jew? Sexually immoral? I mean, three strikes and you’re out, right? And yet, that’s who Jesus ministered to. In fact, when you study that account in John, 4, you see Jesus is in one geographical location and He goes completely out of His way to find her. Much like the angel of the Lord is seeking out Hagar. No, the Bible is not anti-women. Yes, God has called men and women to play different roles in the church, in marriage and sometimes we see those under attack, which they are, that we so aggressively react against the attack that we come across as if, you know, we hate woman and we’re trying to put woman in their place and all of these kinds of things and that’s an overreaction the other way; and we send this message to the world that God hates women. Nonsense. Basic Bible reading shows you the opposite. You’re seeing it right here in Genesis, 16 and verse 10 (Gen 16:10). God loves everybody, God is love, 1st John 4:8, for God so loved the world John 3:16, that he gave His only begotten son. God loves Jews, He loves Gentiles, He loves males, He loves females, He loves Republicans, He loves… (laughs) I can’t even get the words out of my mouth, look at that. He loves the other party, how’s that? (laughs) Cause that’s the nature of God; and then you have a prophecy about not just the seed but you have a prophecy about the name Ishmael. 37:18
Look at verse 11 (Gen 16:11) says: The angel of the LORD said to her further, Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael… Watch this… Because the LORD has given heed to your afflictions… She’s pregnant, she’s running, God says you’re going to have a son and identifies… the angel of the Lord identifies the gender, male. Number two, when that child is born you’re to give him the name Ishmael which means in Hebrew “God hears” because God has heard your afflictions. I hope you understand this today as I’m speaking that if you are afflicted and all of us living in a fallen world are afflicted to one degree or another, God hears that, God is a god that hears. Psalm, 56 and verse 8 (Psa 56:8) says: …put thou my tears into thy bottle… All of the tears that flow from oppressed humans, afflicted humans, God apparently metaphorically stores them in a bottle, He keeps a record of it. In fact, Ishmael, the very name, comes from the fact that God took notice of Hagar and how she was afflicted and so, before the child is born, God gives a prophecy, the angel of the Lord gives a prophecy, the name, the gender of the child. Now, this is not the only time in the Bible that God does this. In Genesis, 17, verse 19 (Gen 17:19) when Sarai is pregnant with Isaac, God will say, you shall call his name Isaac. He called out the name before the child was born. The same thing happened with Jesus, Matthew 1:21 when Mary was pregnant with Jesus: She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus… Luke 1:31 : And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus… Luke 1:13: But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zacharias… This is John the Baptist’s father… for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call his name John… So this idea of calling out the gender and calling out the name and calling out the identity of the child yet to be born, it’s happening here in verse 11 and it’s actually kind of common as you go through the Bible. God seems to do this quite frequently; and we move away from the prophecy about the name to, now we have prophecies from the angel of the Lord about Ishmael and his descendants and what kind of person is Ishmael going to be and the descendants coming from Ishmael, what are they going to be like? And you start to get into some interesting information about this group that ultimately would become the Arabic people groups of the earth. 41:02
The first thing that’s said here is Ishmael is going to be a roamer. You see there in verse 12 (Gen 16:12): He will be a wild donkey of a man… Now, everybody looks at that and says, isn’t it terrible that the angel of the Lord is calling names? And that’s not what’s happening here, it’s not name calling. It’s a prophecy about the character of the people that will come forth from Ishmael, they will be nomadic in other words, they will be roamers, they won’t be stationary; and then He goes on in verse 12 and he says, they will actually be the aggressors in many, many military conflicts, you’ll see that in verse 12 (Gen 16:12): His… that’s Ishmael and his descendants… His hand will be against everyone… So while roaming and meeting other desert groups, his tendency will be to attack them and the other people that are attacked aren’t going to like it and they’re going to retaliate back and you also see that there in verse 12: And everyone’s hand will be against him… So Ishmael and his descendants are going to roam, they’re going to be the aggressors. Those who he attacks will regroup and attack him by way of retaliation. In other words, Ishmael and his descendants with their aggressive nature will lead to retaliation against Ishmael and his descendants.
“This principle has been frequently repeated in the years of Israel’s history since 1948. Arab aggression by means of war and terrorist attacks have led to heavy Israeli retaliation.”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes this: This principle has been frequently repeated in the years of Israel’s history since 1948. Arab aggression by means of war and terrorist attacks have led to heavy Israeli retaliation… I don’t think God is saying this is a good thing, God is not saying this is the way I want things, God says in the fallen world, this is how things are going to work out and it’s stunning how accurate these prophecies are happening throughout world history right up to the present hour; and then He makes a prophecy right here, the angel of the Lord, concerning Ishmael, not just the fact that he’s a roamer, not just he’s the aggressor, not just that he’ll be retaliated against but he will be against his brother. It’s there at the end of verse 12, it says: he… that’s Ishmael and his descendants… will live to the east of all his brothers… What brothers? Well, we’re going to have another son born later called Isaac, not from the same mother but from the same father and so he will be a descendant also of Abram and so in that sense, Ishmael and Isaac are brothers and it specifically says that Ishmael will leave side by side with Isaac; and as he lives side by side with Isaac, he will have a mindset of hostility towards Isaac and my goodness! Has that prophecy happened? 44:40
It’s interesting to me that Islam in the 7th Century AD, essentially, almost or did took over much of the people on that people group and they are living to the east of Israel just like the prophecy said and they would have a mindset of hostility towards Isaac, exactly what the prophecy says and that green area, of course, is Islamic countries and territories and that tiny little red dot is Israel. They will never show you this map on CNN because they want you to believe that Israel is the oppressor which is like transforming David into Goliath; and the world community says, if Israel just gave up a little bit more territory we’ll have peace in that region. I mean, that region is one of the hotspots on the earth, it’s one of the most explosive parts of the world and yet here it is predicted by the angel of the Lord, two thousand years before the time of Christ. You see, I guarantee you this much, when Abram and Sarai concocted this plan to help God through Hagar, leading to the birth of Ishmael because poor God, can’t fulfill His word, I guarantee you they weren’t thinking about this. They were not thinking about the unforeseen consequences and yet, that’s the nature of sin. You can pick your sin but you can’t pick the consequences. The consequences come up quick, they come up aggressive, they stick around a long time. We’re still dealing with this situation today and yet that’s how sin functions. That’s how sin works.
Psalms, 103, verse 12 (Psa 103:12): As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us… Praise the Lord for that. I am justified before God through faith alone in Christ alone. Well, if I’m justified before God through faith alone in Christ alone, I guess I can just go out and live like the devil cause it’s not going to affect my security as a believer at all, right? Well, that’s true, but here’s what you are not thinking about, you’re not thinking about the temporal consequences. It’s like an alcoholic that comes to Christ and the alcoholic says, Jesus gave me a new nature but He never gave me a new liver. That consequence I’ve got to live with. That is how sin functions. There are consequences that show up in the life of the child of God that have nothing to do with justification. They have nothing to do with your ultimate arrival in heaven. They have to do with temporal consequences that we typically bear and walk our lives with because that’s how sin operates. You cannot negotiate with sin. Sin is such a potent powerful force that you can’t negotiate with, you can’t control it. 48:26
Do you recall what God said to Cain? The Lord said to Cain, Genesis 4:6, …Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it… Before it controls you, you’d better control it, because if it controls you, here come the consequences. But I’m going to heaven right? Yes you are. Does that mean you get an exemption from the temporal consequences of sin? Not it doesn’t, any more than a person who speeds can say to the police officer when they are pulled over, well, Gee officer, Romans, 8, verse 1 (Rom 8:1) says there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, try that on the police officer and see how that works (laughs). It’s like throwing yourself out of a building and having a broken arm or a broken leg or a broken whatever and then claiming that well, my sins are thrown as far as the east is from the west. Expiation, the permanent removal of sin’s eternal consequence positionally, doesn’t apply here. It applies in terms of justification but it does not apply in terms of consequences that we experience and the interesting thing about the consequences of sin is they last a lot longer than the momentary window of pleasure that sin gave us. I’m not going to lie to you, sin can be a lot of fun, but the book of Hebrews chapter 11 says it’s pleasure for a season. Gee, the venereal disease sticks around a lot longer than the one night stand; and this is why as a Christian, this mindset that I’m saved so I’m just going to go back into sin, that’s crazy, why would you do that? Look at all the problems you are already experiencing, do you want more? I mean, you’ve already got consequences that you’re bearing from your pre-Christ life, why add to that? And look at the life of David, look at the whirlwind that he reaped because of what he did in terms of lying, adultery and murder. His whole life changed, although when David died, his soul went right into the presence of God. Expiation does not apply to the temporal consequences of sin. Did God forgive Abram and Sarai for what they did? Of course God did, cause that’s who God is. Did… this sin that they committed, did it undo Genesis, 15, verse 6 (Gen 15:6) which says, Abram believed in the LORD; and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. No, it did not undo it but it brought in a lot of problems. Problems that the nation of Israel is still experiencing today. That’s why we’ve entitled this message the “Unforeseen Consequences”, but the power of prophecy, the ability of the angel of the Lord to see geopolitical conflict that’s on our news screens constantly and news feeds two thousand years before the time of Christ, I know of no book that does this. This is actually the thing that makes the Bible different. It predicts things that happen well in advance. Jesus in the upper room said this (John 13:19), from now on, I’m telling you that before this comes to pass, so that when it does you may believe that I am He. Look folks, I’m from a legal background, I can’t just believe something cause I’m reading it in a book. I got to see some evidence. God says, here’s your evidence. I’ve just given you a book that reveals the future more accurately than tomorrow’s headlines. Jesus repeats himself in John, 14, verse 29 (John 14:29): Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe… 53:00
You know there’s a lot of apologetic ministries out there that are very good on defending the resurrection, defending the accurate transmission of the Bible and they won’t say a single word about prophecy. In fact, they’re almost afraid of it. I’m here to tell you that if you jettison prophecy, history in advance, you are jettisoning one of the most potent powerful proofs that God ever gave to us that His word is true. It’s interesting the world system, they don’t want to hear a lot of what we have to say until you start talking about the middle east, you’ll get an audience that way. They give you a millimeter hearing; and you start explaining how things happening in the middle east are actually the product of an omniscient God who predicted these things long in advance, that’s a message they don’t get very often and they’ll listen to you on that. Don’t throw out the ammunition that God has given to the church in these last days to reach a lost and dying world.
So, we moved from the prophecies to the response, you’ll see the response there of Hagar, verse 13 (Gen 16:13) it says: Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her… Notice that Hagar knew that this was not just an angel. This was the angel of the Lord and it goes on and it says: You are a God who sees… The name, the God who sees is “El Roi”, I believe that’s how you pronounce that in Hebrew, the God of seeing, the God of sight; and that leads to sort of a question by Hagar, as this exchange is wrapping up, it says: …for she said, Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?… Remember what Moses said in Exodus, 33 and verse 20 (Exo 33:20): He further said… That’s rather God to Moses… You cannot see My face, for mankind shall not see Me and live!… Hagar realizes what she’s dealing with here and she says, why am I even alive? I’ve seen God. Why has God spared my life after seeing Him? And she calls the angel of the Lord, a preincarnate appearance of Jesus as her seer. She says, I’ve seen my seer. The one who sees me, I see. Now, if there’s anything to understand about Jesus it’s that He is a seer. I mean, Jesus will look right into your heart and tell you exactly what’s going on in your heart. You can hide your true motives from everyone, you can put on an absolute facade and fool everybody. How do I know? I’ve done that myself at times in my life. Put on a completely different front to what was really happening inside of me and you can fool a lot of people but you can’t fool Jesus, cause Jesus is the God that sees. John 1:48, Nathanael said to Him, How do You know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you… John 2:24 – 25, But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them… Those are all of the people that had believed in Christ, He would not trust them by way of discipleship… But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them… Why?… for He knew all men… He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man… John, 4, verses 17 through 19 (John 4:17-19), the Samaritan woman at the well: The woman answered… Remember? Call your husband, a question… The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have correctly said, I have no husband for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you have is not your husband; this you have said truly… I mean, Jesus just looked into her heart and saw through the whole facade and told her exactly what was happening in her life and she gives this classic response, I love this response… The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet… You think? (laughs) But that’s what bound up in this expression, the God who sees. 59:03
So if God sees so clearly, why are we playing a game of trying to hide things from God. What foolishness is that? Why not just whatever is going on in your heart, come out to the Lord and ask Him to deal with you? I have to do that many times in my life as a Christian. Lord, all these people, they think I’m great. I said to my wife, you know, these people think I’m great. She says, well, they don’t have to live with you first of all (laughs). I said to the Lord, I’m not so great, can you help me? Why not just come out and be honest with God? It’s not like we’re getting away with much anyway, right? He sees everything; and then at the very end it sort of closes with the location of where these things happened. This is not Veggietales, this is not Jack and the Beanstalk, these are real geographical locations. You could find them probably on a Maps Go, back in the day and notice the geography there, verse 14 (Gen 16:14): Therefore the well is called Beer-lahai-roi… And what does that mean? It means the well of the living one who sees me. That’s what it means in Hebrew. It’s going to actually be the home of Isaac, down the road, you’ll find that in Genesis, 24, verse 64 (Gen 24:64) and Genesis, 25, verse 11 (Gen 25:11). You continue on at the very end of verse 14 (Gen 16:14) and it says: …behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered… Now, we know where Kadesh is.
Kadesh Barnea is the southern end of the nation of Israel. That’s where you’re going to see one of the greatest failures of the entire Bible by God’s people who couldn’t trust God. They… Numbers, 13 and 14, They had seen the miracles, they had seen the signs and wonders, they had seen the plagues, they had seen the liberation from Egypt, they had seen the mana in the wilderness, they had received the law of God at Mount Sinai and they just had eleven days to trust God and they were in. You’ll find Deuteronomy, 1, the expression eleven days I think it is and they couldn’t trust God with some giants. God says, I’m done, you’re still going to heaven but I’m not going to use you anymore. I’ll work with your kids. Boy, what a tragedy that is, to have so much unbelief and have seen the hand of God so faithfully that you just can’t trust Him for the present crisis. One of the worst failures recorded in the whole Bible, there at Kadish in Numbers, 13 and 14. This other name Bered, I think is how you pronounce that, Bered, that’s unknown, but this whole thing took place in the Negev between Sinai and Egypt where Hagar, the least likely of candidates, found God. It wasn’t Hagar looking for God, it was God looking for Hagar and she became the recipient of amazing promises and we’ll see the beginning, the fulfillment of those promises next week in verses 14 and 15. 1:03:16
I believe this, if you’re listening to my voice, that you’re not listening to it by accident. If you’re in the building, you’re not here by accident. If you’re listening to an archive after the fact, you’re not listening to it by accident. If suddenly this sermon pops-up on YouTube that you didn’t anticipate, I think God put it there, because God loves you and is pursuing you and is chasing you because He wants you to be His child. What kind of God is this? He is a God of love, God is love. God is not willing that any should perish, but all to come to repentance, but at the same time, God, who respects volition because we’re made in His image, is waiting for you to make a decision and the way you make a decision for God is you fulfill what the New Testament says 160 times to do, to be right with God which is to believe. It’s what Abram experienced in Genesis, 15, verse 6 (Gen 15:6). He heard the proclamation and he believed it. He didn’t say, ah, nice lesson, nice theology lesson and then just leave and act like you know, what was said has no consequence to his life, he actually trusted in it. So the proclamation is Jesus crucified, Jesus resurrected, Jesus ascended to fix a problem that I can’t fix in myself, which is sin. I might be able to fix a lot of problems in my life, I can’t fix that one. It’s too big. So God has to enter human history to fix it for us and He asks us, in fact, He commands us to be made right with Him and to become His child, is to believe or trust in the promise. It’s not just intellectual assent, it’s a place where the heart is relying upon what Jesus did and only Jesus and that’s the Gospel; and so if you’re here today and you’ve never done that or if you’re listening and you’ve never done that, you can do it right where you are seated. It’s not a matter of praying a prayer, walking an aisle, joining a church, giving money, it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord, where the Lord convicts and you respond by way of faith or trust in the provision of Jesus Christ. I hope people listening to this all over would be doing this and entering into a relationship with the God that made them. If it’s something that you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.
Shall we pray? Lord, we are grateful for Hagar, we’re grateful for the angel of the Lord, how He sought her out and the lessons that it teaches us even in the 21st Century. Make us good stewards of these truths this week as we walk these things out as your family. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, amen.