Genesis 083 – Overturning Roe; The God of All Comfort-pt. 1Genesis 21:8-10 • Dr. Andy Woods • June 26, 2022 • Genesis
Genesis 083 – Overturning Roe / The God of All Comfort Pt. 1
By Dr Andy Woods – 06/26/2022
Good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, as the children are being dismissed and let’s open them to the book of Genesis chapter 21, and verse 8 (Gen 21:8). The title of our message this morning is “The God of All Comfort.” A lot of conservative churches, evangelical churches, Bible churches, this morning will sadly just go right on with business as usual without stopping for a minute to reflect on the fact that history was just made on Friday. This church from its inception, in the whole controversy pro-life, pro-abortion, has taken a position.
SLBC Position Statements # 1
SANCTITY OF LIFE – We believe that the fetus, from the moment of conception, is a person (Psalm 139:13-18). We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of age, health, function and/or condition of dependency.
This was part of our position statements long before I got here. But you’ll see this in position statement number one. It says: We believe that the fetus from the moment of conception is a person and it quotes there psalm, 139, verses 13 through 18 (Psa 139:13-18). In other words, it’s a child and not a choice. We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of age, health, function and/or condition of dependency. This is a viewpoint that we think is best espoused from the Bible, it’s called “the sanctity of life perspective.” We do not take here a quality of life perspective, we take a sanctity of life perspective, meaning that all life is valuable, even life within the womb of the mother and no doubt you’ve heard that our Supreme Court on Friday, after 50 years of wrong-headed jurisprudence reversed the infamous Roe versus Wade decision. There’s been a lot of talk in the culture about it, a lot of commentary about it. I would just want to take a couple of moments to explain to you why we think this not only is a positive decision, but it’s the obvious hand of God in the United States. I’ll have to admit this, one of the private sins that I have committed is writing the epitaph, if you will, the decline of America thinking that God is finished with America faster than God is writing it. It’s very obvious that God is not finished with the United States of America and God’s hand is alive and well in our culture. 3:35
Let me just briefly explain because I’ve had the chance to appear on a few media sources, I’ve had a chance to contribute to a few podcasts since Friday and people have wanted to know my perspective, our perspective on this and I want to share this with you. I had a chance to share this in the Sunday school hour. We believe that this is a victory for four reasons. Number one, it’s a victory for the United States constitution and you have to understand that when you take yourself back to 1972, 1973 there was a man named Harry Blackman. He wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, the vote was seven to two and he wrote the opinion, which essentially is now known as Roe versus Wade, which said that an unborn child is not a person within the meaning of our constitution. A lot of people have compared that decision to another decision that lives in infamy in American history, the Dred Scott decision, where Justice Taney at that point in time, very similarly said that a slave is not a person within the meaning of our constitution. Very sadly, the United States Supreme Court never reversed the Dred Scott decision; that decision had to be corrected through a bloody Civil War, it had to be corrected through three post-Civil War constitutional amendments. They are the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments which reversed what Justice Taney wrote in the Dred Scott decision and something similar has just happened. Our United States Supreme Court in 1972 and 1973 said, unborn children are not protected under our constitution and what you just saw on Friday is the Supreme Court reversing itself, which by the way, the United States Supreme Court has done two hundred times. People, if you listen to them talk, think as if some great legal travesty has just transpired. That’s nonsense, the court usually does a good job but frequently gets it wrong and will reverse itself which it has done two hundred times in American history. For example, there was a decision on the books called Plessy versus Ferguson, which says segregation, separate but equal, is constitutional. The United States Supreme Court in a later case called Brown versus Board of Education said, you know what? We got that one wrong, we are reversing ourselves. For many, many years we have been praying, studying, praying that what the court did in Roe versus Wade would somehow be reversed. To be honest with you, I just didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime. But I am so grateful for the fact that God has allowed me to live long enough to see it actually happen. 7:23
When Harry Blackman wrote the decision, he took the United States constitution and he changed it, because when you look at the United States constitution you will not find anything in the United States constitution about a constitutional right to have an abortion. In fact, when the Fourteenth Amendment, which is the part of the constitution that Harry Blackman said contains this right to have an abortion, when the fourteenth amendment was passed, every state that passed the Fourteenth Amendment had laws on its books preventing abortion and so for Harry Blackman to find a constitutional right to have an abortion, which is what the Roe versus Wade decision is all about, he really had to what we would call strain at a gnat or strain at gnats and in the process, he took the United States constitution as a an unelected member of the judiciary, members of the federal judiciary, you might be aware of the fact that they are appointed for life, meaning if you don’t like what they did, you don’t have any recourse against them via the ballot box. He took the United States constitution and he changed it and in the process he got around article 5 of the United States constitution, where our founding fathers were wise enough to understand that in the course of time the document, that by the way has given more people more economic and political and religious freedom than any other document in human history. If you want to change it, there’s a way to do that; it’s called the amendment process. The amendment process is deliberately difficult by design because it places it in the hands of those changing the document, it places it in the hands of the state governments, which is the layer of government which is closest to the people. That way, if I don’t like how my state legislators are changing the document, I have recourse against them through the ballot box. Harry Blackman circumvented that. He, as an unelected federal member of the judiciary the United States Supreme Court, rewrote the constitution in the Roe versus Wade decision and he, in the process, said to the people you’re not going to be able to resolve this issue, I’ll resolve it for you. What was he trying to resolve? The most controversial issue of our time period, when does life begin. He took it upon himself and six colleagues to answer that question for us. There was never a debate on it, there was never a vote on it. There were never any factual trials or hearings on it, he just said I’ll take care of the issue for you, I’ll rewrite the constitution, I’ll make having an abortion a constitutional right and in the process he altered the constitution. That has been the law of the land in the United States of America for fifty years. 10:59
I find it very interesting that in the Bible, there’s something called the year of Jubilee, where in the forty ninth year debts are to be released in preparation for the fiftieth year and I find it very interesting that God sovereignly and providentially worked in history to allow this decision to be reversed on that exact time schedule, the year of Jubilee. It is undeniable that the hand of God is in this. One of the reasons I say that is you just have to think back to 2016, where we had a presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You might remember that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Trump won the electoral vote, which makes Trump 2016, the president of the United States. Donald Trump filled three United States Supreme Court vacancies; one of the first was a man named Neil Gorsuch, the second one was a man named Brett Kavanaugh and you might remember the attempt by the progressive left to derail his nomination. You might also be aware of the fact that there has been and I would call it this, an attempted assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh. Much of the mainstream media is not reporting it but a man showed up at his house armed with the means and the intent to assassinate a Supreme Court justice; and then there was the third appointment somebody named Amy Coney Barrett and I’m here to tell you that, had those three Supreme Court justices not been appointed, had that election in 2016 gone the opposite direction the decision that we saw on Friday wouldn’t exist. So one of the reasons that we at Sugar Land Bible Church are declaring victory is this is a huge victory for the United States constitution. It reverses an injustice that was done fifty years ago.
There’s a second reason why we believe that this is a victory; number 2, it’s a victory for the people, because under the Roe versus Wade paradigm, the American people were never allowed to have a say, they were never allowed to have a vote, they were never allowed to have a voice on one of the most controversial issues of our time period, when does life begin. That’s what happens when the Supreme Court over reaches, amends the constitution from the bench in circumvention of article 5, is they take an explosive issue and they federalized it and there have been many, many attempts to, at the state level to stop abortion, regulate abortion, restrict abortion but under Roe versus Wade all of those attempts or many of them were thwarted or stopped. I remember when our representative in the house, Texas house, Rick Miller, asked me and some others, I see Bruce and Cindy Bond here to come to Austin to testify in favor of a committee that was seeking to put regulations on abortion clinics in the state of Texas. I remember staying up, must have been midnight, one in the morning before I had a chance to testify and they only let you speak for three minutes. So, you knew I was in pain, right? I remember going through all of those hurdles, all of those procedures that you have to go through to get a law into effect, only to have a court knock everything we tried to do down, because Roe versus Wade didn’t allow it. That’s what Roe versus Wade did. Roe versus Wade took the power out of the hands of the people, out of the hands of the elected representatives and said you might make the wrong decision so we will make the decision for you. That’s what happens when the court federalizes an issue that’s not found in the United States constitution and guess what? With Roe’s overturn on Friday, the issue now goes right back to where it should have been at the beginning, the individual state governments, which means that we the people can have a say in the process. We couldn’t have a say before, which means, as many are tempted to think, the controversy versus pro-life and pro-abortion, that’s over, right? No, it’s not over, it’s just starting and for the first time God has seen providentially and sovereignly to give you a voice in the matter, because your Bible over and over and over and over again says speak out for the innocent, plead the case of the helpless. You couldn’t do that under Roe versus Wade, but now you have the ability to do that. It’s almost as if the handcuffs have been taken off and by the way, the Bible says to whom much is given much is what? Much is required. The truth of the matter is if you go to sleep now and abortion on demand continues on and on in American culture, you have no one to blame but yourself. Under Roe versus Wade you can always say, well, the United States Supreme Court has ruled, what can little old me do? That just got taken away. The power is placed now in the hands of we, the people where it belongs, because the truth of the matter is United States Supreme Court justices, although they all graduated from Harvard and they look very official with their robes and so forth, they don’t have any qualifications to answer the question when life begins. That’s a matter for the biblicists, that’s a matter for the theologian, that’s a matter for the philosopher, that’s a matter for the medical experts and now with the issue going back to the state level, we get to hear all the evidence and we get to decide state by state, should abortion be limited or not. We have some visitors today from Missouri and I’m happy to report that Missouri is the first state in the union that is now officially a pro-life state because of what happened on Friday and if you listen to Attorney General Paxton, he’s very optimistic that Texas would become number two and in fact, even some of the restrictions that Texas is thinking of implementing, could be tightened and strengthened, if we the people speak up. There’s no doubt that the United States, some states in the union, will pass restrictions on abortions, others like my native state of California will continue with liberal abortion on demand policies, but it is a day of rejoicing because now at least the people can have something to say about it, which was an impossibility for fifty years under Roe versus Wade. 20:02
Number one, this is a victory for the United States constitution for reasons I’ve tried to explain. Number two, it’s a victory for the people, we, the people. Number 3, it’s a victory for science. You have to understand something about Roe versus Wade and many legal commentators that I’ve read over the years, left and right. Liberal and conservative say the same thing; they say the Roe decision was made in a scientific vacuum. It was made when a lot of the science that we have today about what is actually happening in the womb of the mother by the time she knows she is pregnant, a lot of that science was not available in 1972 and in 1973 but guess what, it’s available now. This is why you see so many young people interestingly enough moving to the pro-life position, because they have the internet, they have all of the apps on their phones, they know where to look and they know what’s happening within the womb of a mother, that that’s a life. This is not something you have to be a Christian to embrace. Of course, the Bible is pro-life, Psalm, 139, verses 13 through 18 (Psa 139:13-18) is pro-life, but you can today have absolutely no knowledge of this book and just have a basic understanding of science through technology and you can see what is happening within the womb of a mother by the time she knows she is pregnant, is in fact a life. If Roe versus Wade had continued on, all of the science would have been excluded because the decision was already made for us in 1972 and 1973, but what happened on Friday with the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe through the Dobbs’ decision is a pro people, pro scientific ruling, because now all of the data, all of the science can be examined. We’re going to have hearings, we’re going to hear experts testifying at all the different fifty state governments. Something that did not and could not happen during Roe versus Wade. So this is a victory for the constitution, this is a victory for the people, it’s a victory for science and the last thing I’ll leave you with here is it’s a victory for the children. Abortion is a human rights issue. Should there be laws on the books protecting people who cannot protect themselves? The Biblical position, the Christian position is yes. Those that are pro-abortion will reject that and they will say no, but now, thanks to the overturning of Roe versus Wade, you could start to conceivably see many, many states moving in the direction with legislation protecting the helpless. Protecting those who cannot help themselves and it is interesting that when a society moves away from a sanctity of life understanding to a quality of life understanding, which is the type of culture you’re living in, where life has value, not because it’s life, life has value because it’s useful. Useful if a person has no mental defects, their life is useful. If a person does have mental defects or is handicapped in some way, then their life is not useful. When a society rejects sanctity of life, which is what our society is doing and moves to a quality of life understanding, the first two people scheduled for elimination are the two groups that don’t have usefulness anymore in society. Those are (a) the unborn and (b) the elderly. That’s why in quality of life societies, abortion and euthanasia, an early exit for the elderly, are high priorities, but let me tell you something about the elderly. The elderly in the United States of America know how to politically organize. They know how to donate money to political campaigns, they know how to fight back. The unborn don’t have that option, do they? So the elderly survive and thrive in the United States of America but the unborn do not and Roe versus Wade sort of served as cover, it sort of served as interference for fifty years preventing state governments from stopping the taking of life in a womb and all that is gone now. God worked in history to reverse that horrific decision which is really on par with the Dred Scott decision and now we have the ability to pass laws, to speak out for those who cannot speak out, to protect those who need protection. So not only is this a victory for the constitution, not only is it a victory for the people, not only is it a victory for science but it is a victory for the children. 26:26
The only physician that I know of in the Bible is a man named Luke. You’ll see his medical credentials given there in Colossians, 4 and it is very interesting to me that doctor Luke, as I sometimes refer to him, who wrote the gospel of Luke, in Luke chapter 1, and verse 41 (Luke 1:41), as John the Baptist was leaping for joy in his mother’s womb, Luke used the Greek word brephos to describe that baby and then Luke, one chapter later, in Luke chapter 2, verse 12 (Luke 2:12) concerning the baby Jesus outside of His mother’s womb in the manger, uses the identical word brephos to describe Jesus. In other words, Dr Luke through his use of the Greek word brephos saw no distinction between born and unborn. To move into a distinction between born and unborn, born is alive unborn is not alive, is number one to reject sanctity of life and to move towards a quality of life understanding, but it’s number two, to fly right in the face of this book that we call the Bible, God’s word and so God has seen fit that this decision has, just like that, disappeared. You can thank God or you can credit people for this. A lot of people in the pro-life community have been working very hard to see this day. I don’t want to undervalue their contributions, but when you just step back and look at God’s work in American history recently, you see very clearly that this is a God thing and it may be just a little too early to write America off, because apparently God hasn’t. I understand fully well that when I talk this way, it’s sort of a dangerous divisive subject, because of the onslaught of abortion. You have to understand how many people have, actually, because of Roe versus Wade, lost their lives. It’s my understanding that more lives have been lost through abortion subsequent to Roe versus Wade than in all of American wars, including the Civil War where we were killing each other, several times over. Roe versus Wade has been so infamous that you might want to describe it this way. In a country like ours of what? Six hundred and twenty million, three hundred and thirty million people, imagine that one out of every six or one out of every five people just like that disappeared. That help us conceptualize the body count that has transpired in the United States of America subsequent to Roe versus Wade and given the magnitude of the number, there’s no doubt that many people within the sound of my voice or people in the building or people listening online or people listening via archive after the fact have been involved in an abortion, had an abortion, financed an abortion and so whenever I move in this pro-life sort of direction, I also want to emphasize that if you’ve been involved in procuring an abortion, the grace of God is available. The grace of God is so deep that it will even cover a sin which is as egregious as taking someone else’s life. I’ll remind us all that three of God’s choicest servants in the Bible had blood on their hands. One of them was a man named Moses. The second one was a man named David. If you don’t think that God can forgive the sin of murder, then you might as well take most of your Psalms and just tear them out of your Bible. David, having written many if not most of those Psalms, after he committed that terrible sin of murdering Uriah the Hittite. And then you move into the New Testament and you have the greatest theologian and missionary that the world has ever seen. A man who wrote one third of our New Testament epistles, a man named the apostle Paul, you have to understand that what Paul was doing, before he got saved on the Damascus road, is he was persecuting the church to the point of murder. In fact, he, when you study the end of Act, 7, very clearly or carefully, was actually involved in holding the coats, if you will, of the stone throwers, who threw rocks at the first martyr of the church age, a man named Steven, that’s who Paul was, this is who Moses was, this is who David was. There is no sin beyond the grace of God. Abortion is a terrible thing to think about, it obviously brings conviction into a lot of people’s lives and so if you find yourself today in those circumstances, I would say that the grace of God is available for you and not just that sin but any sin. What happened Friday is historic, it’s something I never thought I would see. A great injustice has been done away with and a tremendous victory has been brought forth for (a) the constitution; (b) the people; (c ) the science and (d) not the least of which, the innocent unborn children. 33:44
It’s kind of interesting that when you look at polling data, you know, they’re always coming out with these polls. Don’t you understand that 53 % of the American people favor abortion on demand, favor at life as it was once known. In the Roe versus Wade era, I find it very interesting that those polls never polled the unborn. I would think they’d be pro-life, I would think that, concerning the fact that abortion is violent and it inflicts fetal pain and I would think that would tip the decision or tip the poll the opposite direction. That perspective never comes out. Well, you know, pastor, you really need to be careful because they’re protesting right now. There’s violence going on. Are you surprised by that? Are you shocked by that? I’m not surprised by it at all. I am not surprised that the people that are in favor of Roe versus Wade and abortion on demand, there is absolutely no shock in my mind that they would be violent because that’s what abortion is. It’s violence. Every time an abortion occurs, a heart stops beating. Every time an abortion occurs, brain waves stop functioning. It is one of the most murderous, barbaric things that, I think, has ever been foisted on the human race and to be honest with you, in my prayer life, I would just say the Lord, I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that this is part of the judicial thinking of the United States of America. Lord, I don’t have any right to ask you to bless the United States of America when this kind of thing is going on. After all, Your own Word says with the first murder in human history, Cain murdering Abel, it says it there in Genesis, 4, I want to say around verse 7, right in there, that your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. How in the world could God, who said that, look the other way at the onslaught on the unborn and for many, many years in my prayer life I’ve just had to go to the Lord and say, I’m embarrassed. I don’t have any right to ask you to bless our country because of something that Harry Blackman did fifty years ago and with the stroke of a pen, in a nanosecond, God on Friday corrected an injustice. Nobody could have done it but God. Nobody gets credit but God and I think at this time we ought to applaud and give the Lord a thank offering.
I usually do my patriotic preaching on 4 of July weekend, which is next week, so you can kind of take this as the first fruits of the things yet to come. But believe it or not, we’re actually scheduled today to talk about the book of Genesis. Can you guys transition with me for twenty minutes or so remaining into the book of Genesis? We are sort of at a part there in the book of Genesis related to the fact that Isaac, Genesis, 21, verses 1 through 7 (Gen 21:7) has been miraculously born.
We’ve studied that last week and every time there’s a blessing, we’ve even seen it in this church as sometimes our staff members talk amongst ourselves, every time there’s a blessing there’s some kind of problem that comes up. There’s some kind of opposition that comes up. In fact, as we’re living now for the first time in a post Roe versus Wade world, I can tell you this much, Satan does not like what happened on Friday and hell itself to a very large extent has the potential of being released, because when you have a victory, there’s typically a problem. You can find this theme all the way through the Bible, you see it right there in Genesis, 21, verses 1 through 71 (Gen 21:1-7) An amazing victory just happened, a child was born to a woman who was ninety years old in fulfillment of God’s promises. Without that child you don’t have the lineage leading to Jesus or the nation of Israel and you would think that there would be time and opportunity to just sort of relax and enjoy the victory but that does not happen as you move to verses 8 through 21 (Gen 21:8-21), you see an expulsion of Ishmael. The Hagar-Ishmael line does not like what just happened with the Abraham-Isaac line and so as we start to work our way through this passage, here is the outline that we’re going to try to work through, of course that’s a big laugh, we’ll never get through all of that today, maybe a point or two. 40:17
Genesis 21:8-21 Ishmael’s Expulsion
- Isaac’s weaning (Gen 21:8)
- Ishmael’s mocking (Gen 21:9)
- Sarah’s demand (Gen 21:10)
- Abraham’s grief (Gen 21:11)
- God comforts Abraham (Gen 21:12-13)
- Expulsion (Gen 21:14)
- Hagar’s anguish (Gen 21:15-16)
- God’s comfort (Gen 21:17-18)
- God’s provision (Gen 21:19)
- Ishmael’s development (Gen 21:20)
- Ishmael’s marriage (Gen 21:21)
Notice, if you will, verse 8 (Gen 21:8) Isaac’s weaning, it says in verse 8, Genesis 21: The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned… So the child Isaac has been miraculously born for 7 verses of Genesis 21 and now we have a ceremony, a feast, a weaning party if you will, and it is generally believed that Isaac by this time is about somewhere, if we factor in when this normally occurs in the Hebrew or Jewish tradition, he was he was probably about age 3 to age 5 when these events begin to unfold and you move from there from Isaac’s weaning into Ishmael’s mocking. Look at verse 9, Genesis 21 (Gen 21:9) it says: Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking… Notice that she is called Hagar the Egyptian. Where did Hagar come from? Hagar, of course, came into the household of Abraham when Abraham, then Abram in Genesis, 12, sort of really didn’t believe God’s promises and kept moving from the land of Canaan down south into Egypt you remember that he lied at that point, told a half-lie, told Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister. God reverses that and it’s at that point it’s largely believed that Hagar the Egyptian joined the household of Abraham and then you get over to Genesis chapter 16 and you basically learn that Abraham and Sarah got tired of waiting on God. I’ve been there. God, it’s taking you so long to fulfill your promises. I’m going to try to help you out. I mean, after all Lord, Roe versus Wade will never be overturned. Can’t tell you how many times in my life I thought that, particularly when the Casey case came out and reaffirmed the Harry Blackman principles of Roe versus Wade. It’ll never be overturned and yet God, as only God can do, is always working in history to fulfill His word right on time, right down to the forty ninth and fiftieth year. Who could ever thought of such a thing other than God Himself and so they got tired of waiting upon God and Sarah says to then, Abram, I want you to go and have a sexual relationship with Hagar. I notice Abram isn’t arguing with her too much there and he impregnates Hagar and Ishmael is born and Ishmael is the product of human works, the product of helping God, the product of impatience with God. Had Abram just waited on God, he would have eventually gotten to Genesis, 21 where Isaac would have been born but they just got tired of waiting upon God, they tried to help God and Ishmael comes into the picture and Ishmael, the product of works and religiosity, does not like the birth of Isaac. In fact, he isaacs Isaac. 44:30
Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes:
Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum – The Book of Genesis, 341
“What she saw him doing was mocking. The Hebrew word for Isaac and the Hebrew word for mocking is the same root, but appears here as a piel intensive. Here again there is a play upon words with Isaac’s name but this time in a negative sense. Ishmael took Isaac’s name and its meaning and reduced it to mockery; he was ‘isaacing’ Isaac. Nor was Ishmael just a young child. He was seventeen to twenty years old, and he was mocking someone who was between three and five years old.”
Think of that? A seventeen to twenty year old mocking, making fun of someone three to five years old and in fact, when you factor in Paul’s accounting of this story in the book of Galatians, which Paul does in Galatians, 4, he says a lot more than mocking. Ishmael and Hagar, Ishmael through Hagar, Ishmael was actually persecuting Isaac. A seventeen to twenty year old persecuting a three to five year old. Paul says in the book of Galatians chapter 4, and verse 29 (Gal 4:29), which I thought I had there on my little sheet, but I didn’t. Confession time. Galatians chapter 4 and verse 29 says: But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted… That’s a more intense word than mocking… him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also… What’s this persecuting and mocking going on here? Why is it going on? Ishmael was worried over the fact that he was now disinherited. As the only son, he would receive the inheritance. Now the rules have changed. The inheritance is going to Isaac, the natural born son. Charles Ryrie says of this verse:
Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible, page 27
Genesis 21:9 (RSB:NASB1995U): Genesis 21:9. “From the same Hebrew root as Isaac, though in an intensive form. The word is also used in 19:14 and 39:14–17. In Isaac, Ishmael saw all his hopes for an inheritance shattered.”
So that may explain his derisive mocking tone towards Isaac and why he would persecute such a young child. Sarah watches this and doesn’t like it and so she makes a demand. The demand is given in verse 10 (Gen 21:10), which says: Therefore she said to Abraham, Drive out this maid… Who by the way, we picked up in Genesis 12… Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac… There it is in print, I don’t want my son disinherited. So Sarah watches this persecution going on and Sarah goes to her husband and says get rid of Hagar and get rid of Ishmael. 48:18
Now, what’s interesting is archaeology of the day confirms this response. Arnaud Fruchtenbaum writes:
Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum – The Book of Genesis, 343
“The reason was: for the son of this handmaid shall not be the heir with my son, even with Isaac; Isaac was to be the heir, and Ishmael was to be disinherited. This again fits with the Nuzi Tablets and the Code of Hammurabi, in which the son of the wife has precedence over the son of a handmaid, even if the son of the wife was born later. The father was forbidden, however, to expel the son of the handmaid if the son of the wife had been born. Ishmael was to be disinherited, but he was not to be dishonored. Hence, God’s intervention would have to come into play for the expulsion to occur.”
This is why Abraham is distressed. He’s distressed, I think, for a couple of reasons, Ishmael after all was his son, he has the legal power according to the code of Hammurabi and the Nuzi Tablets to disinherit Ishmael but he really doesn’t have the power to do what his wife wants him to do, is to kick the Hagar-Ishmael line completely out of the camp, so God has to intervene. Why bring this up? Because this happens over and over again in our studies in the book of Genesis. Our studies in the book of Genesis demonstrate that it fits the culture of the time period. It fits everything we know of extra biblical noncanonical material. Why bring it up? Because we’re living in a generation that wants you to believe that everything in early Genesis is a myth. It’s fictitious. I mean, nobody with any intellectual credibility would take this as history. That’s what our children are taught in public school, it’s what cable television screams at us all of the time, it’s what all the apps on our phones say. I mean, this is no different than “Jack and the Beanstalk”. This is no different than “VeggieTales” and unless you’re in a church that brings up these little historical facts, you’re swept into the tide of unbelief. This is history. These are real people. This happened exactly like it reads and it’s not something out of the box in terms of the history that we know of the time, it fits perfectly. Everything that’s happening here, not just in this story or this narrative but countless others that we have read fits the narrative. Now, what Sarah is saying is kick her out and kick him out. It is very interesting that Paul the apostle in the book of Galatians chapter 4, verses 24 and 25 (Gal 4:24-25) uses these two lines, the Isaac line and the Ishmael line to teach an allegory. Paul, when he does so, is not allegorizing what the Bible says, he is not de-historicizing what the Bible says, he, as an apostle writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, I’m going to use this historical account, this historical happenstance to teach a spiritual lesson. Now, one of the first extended studies that I did here when I came to Sugar Land Bible Church, I think this was before we actually started putting our presentations on video, you can find this on audio format, was a verse by verse study of the book of Galatians. Why in the world, Pastor, would you in your opening series at Sugar Land Bible church, after you’ve finished Ephesians, why would you talk about Galatians? Very simple reason, I was seeking to drive legalism out of our church. I was seeking, better said, to allow the Holy Spirit to use His words in His book, the book of Galatians, to drive legalism out of Sugar Land Bible Church because let me tell you something about legalism, it’s just as lethal as liberalism. Liberalism takes the Bible and wants it to mean less than it says. Legalism takes the Bible and adds more to what it says. Paul’s biggest conflict was with legalists. It was with people who were saying, you’ve got to go under the law of Moses in addition to faith, either to get saved, justified or to grow as a Christian. Paul responds to that by using the Sarah-Hagar, Isaac-Ishmael expulsion account to react against legalism. He does it in Galatians, 4, verses 22 through 26 (Gal 4:22-26) but he’s just focusing here on Galatians 4:24-25, he says: This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants… He doesn’t say these women didn’t exist, he is saying, I’m an apostle, I’m writing under the Holy Spirit, let me add a layer of meaning to what you’re reading about in Genesis, 21… One proceeding from Mount Sinai (that’s legalism) bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar… Now, this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem for she is in slavery with her children. Why am I allowed in the book of Galatians to adopt an allegorical meaning? Because Paul says that’s what he’s doing here through the word allegorically and when you see the word allegorically, you’re allowed to adopt an allegorical meaning to historical events in the Bible. In other words, a spiritual meaning beyond just the naked historical account and you’re allowed to do that because Paul uses the word allegory here and you’re not allowed to come up with your own allegory. You have to follow the allegory that Paul gave cause he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You aren’t an apostle. A lot of people come to the Bible and they want to use their sanctified imagination on everything. You can’t do that, you can allegorize when the Bible says so and you have to adopt the meaning that is given in the New Testament and not come up with your own meaning. Paul says, the Hagar-Ishmael line is legalism and that would fit because Ishmael was the product of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar getting together to come up with a human plan. That’s why Ishmael is the child of works, he was born not out of faith but of actually trying to manipulate the hand of God and helping God fulfill His word as if God needs any help. 56:40
In all of the hand wringing about Roe versus Wade that’s been going on for fifty years, apparently God didn’t need any help. He just took care of it in His timetable and God doesn’t need any help fulfilling His word, Isaac is going to be born, the nation of Israel is going to come through Isaac, Jesus the messiah is going to come through the nation of Israel. I’m going to execute this in My timing, I don’t need your help. What I want you to do is wait upon Me. Well, Abram-Hagar didn’t do that in Genesis, 16 but in Genesis, 21, they did. They learned a lesson. Those who wait upon the Lord will what? Renew their strength. The Eric Liddell verse, right? They will run and not grow weary, I think it says, or walk and not grow weary, they will run and not feel faint. You can fact check me on that when you want to see if I got that right, but it’s right there in Isaiah, 40, verse 31 (Isa 40:31). So the Ishmael line is the product of religiosity, the Isaac line is the product of faith. The Ishmael line is the product of trying to make God’s promises happen, the Isaac line is the product of faith and the miraculous and waiting upon God and I’ll just let you in on a little secret. It’s really not a secret at all, no extra charge for this, but your life as Christian is going to go a lot smoother when you fit into the pattern of Isaac and not Ishmael. As long as you’re in the Ishmael mindset, Gosh! I want to get married, I’ve got to make this happen as fast as I can, as an example. That’s the pathway to misery. The pathway to contentment in the Christian life, fulfillment in the Christian life, is waiting for God to do what He said He would do for you in any area of life and so this is why Sarah doesn’t like what’s happening there in verse 10 and she basically says, drive out Hagar and Ishmael, to the point where Abram is distressed about it and that’s what Paul says in the book of Galatians. He says get legalism out of your life. Learn to draw upon the resources of God not only to be justified but also to grow. It’s not going to happen through will power although that may play a role. It’s going to happen through the power of God that He’s put inside of you. He says in the book of Galatians chapter 3, verse 3 (Gal 3:3): Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit? But you’re now being perfected by the law, perfected by works, why in the world would you ever think that you’re saved completely on the basis of His grace and then somehow in the middle tense of your salvation, you’re going to have to white knuckle it, you’re going to have to rely upon your own power and you’re going to have to work it out and sweat it out. That would be schizophrenic to believe that. That would be like God contradicting Himself. You got saved by grace but boy you better put those rocks on your shoulders and you better walk up that mountain and you better pull this out by human power. That’s the foolishness that the Galatians were under and Paul says, just as Sarah kicked out Ishmael and Hagar, do the exact same thing with legalism. That’s why I started with the book of Galatians here. I wanted to pastor a church where God’s resources are highlighted and man’s manipulation is deemphasized and I’ll be honest with you, and I didn’t expect it at the time, but that message has alienated a lot of people. A lot of wonderful people have come into Sugar Land Bible Church but I’m here to tell you, a lot of people have left and you always want to know why did they leave? People leave for a lot of different reasons, but I would have to say, if I was ranking the reasons, the number one reason why people end up leaving is the doctrine of grace, unmerited favor, because when you tell them they’re not saved by works but faith, they’ll applaud you on that one and then, however, if you tell him, that once they’re born, they’re born, they can’t reverse that and so just as good works never got you in the door to begin with, good works don’t keep you in the door either. That’s the message they don’t want to hear. They want to think that somehow I’m saved by God’s grace but I’m kept through religion and human power. That’s not the doctrine of grace, the doctrine of grace says you’re kept by the same grace they got you in the door. What got you in the door was the grace of God and what keeps you in the door is the grace of God and you know what? Your life as a Christian may go off in a wonderful direction of fantastic good works or your life as a Christian may yield very little, if anything, but the person whose life is in exponential growth is kept by God’s grace, just like the person who’s yielding very little fruit. 1:03
The doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism go exactly the opposite of that. They say, well, if you’re not yielding any fruit maybe you were never saved to begin with, maybe you were never one of the elect, or the Armenian comes along and says, well, if you’re not producing good works, maybe you lost your salvation and most of Christendom, Christianity, labors under those two systems, because they didn’t do what Paul said. They didn’t cast out the bondwoman and her son. Now, don’t get me wrong folks. I’m not downplaying good works, I’m not downplaying the need to obey Christ as one of His children. What I’m saying is, if you are a blood-bought saint, your decision to do one or the other has absolutely nothing to do with your salvation. It has to do with your growth and your development and how useful or fruitful your life could be for God, it has to do with getting to the Bema Seat judgment of rewards and being fully rewarded and not looking back and suffering from grief because of poor decisions you made as a Christian. It has a lot to do with all that stuff but it has nothing to do with whether your name is written in the book of life, because you got in the door by grace and what keeps you in the door is grace. A lot of good works, you’re still kept by God’s grace. No good works, you’re still kept by God’s grace and people when they hear that will head for the exit as fast as they can, because it’s counter intuitive to the way we’re taught. If I’m going to have God’s love continuing to shine upon me, I’d better do right. If I don’t do right, well, maybe I’m not His child. That’s what most of the world of religion teaches, that’s not what God says, that’s not what the Bible says and so God, Sarah says, drive out this maid and her son. Paul says allegorically this is speaking of ridding your life of legalism. Verse 11, Abram is then brought to a place of grief and I’m actually at a place of grief right now because it’s 12:31.
So we will have to pick this up next Lord’s day. In fact, it won’t even be next Lord’s day cause next week is 4 of July Sunday, right? So as I told the Sunday school group, we’re going to have a fireside chat next week and I will supply the fire, Amen? If you’re visiting for the first time or you don’t know Jesus personally we would simply ask you to survey the wondrous cross where Jesus said, John, 19, verse 30 (John 19:30), His final words, it is finished. There’s nothing else for you to add other than you to trust, rest or rely upon what Jesus has done for you and you can become a Christian right now simply by doing that, faith alone. Trusting in Christ’s work alone not your good works so as to be saved. You can do that now as I’m speaking, if it’s something that you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk. Shall we pray? Father, we’re grateful for something that’s monumental in American history, for allowing us to see it. Help us to see your hand in it and the grace that you have bestowed to our country and beyond that, help us this week, Father, to walk in Your grace as Your people. 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.