Runaway Genesis 16:7-16

Big Idea: God leaves heaven to find His runaway children.

I.  He will FIND you where you’re at in your life. 7-8

7 Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

A.  The Lord knows where you are at in life at every moment.

B.  The Lord knows who you are.

C.  The Lord knows what you’ve been through.

D.  He knows what and where you’re running from.

E.  He knows where you’re trying to get to.

II.  He will DIRECT you into His plan for your life. 9

9 Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”

Restated: Knowing you have suffered, perhaps at the hands of those who call themselves His people, God challenges you to dare to trust again.

III.  He will BLESS you and CHANGE your life. 10-16

A.  He will bless 10-12

1.  Blessed with a fantastic destiny: the matriarch of a vast, innumerable ethnic group: the Ishmaelites 10

10 Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.”

2.  Blessed with Ishmael, her son 11-12

11 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, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.

His character qualities

  • untamable

12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,

  • oppositional to all


His hand will be against everyone,

  • opposed by all


And everyone’s hand will be against him;

  • independent and alienated from family


And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

B.  He will change your life 13-16

1.  A changed, deepened relationship with God: personal 13-14


13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

2.  A changed relationship with people: confident, independent 15-16


15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

  • She would keep her child; name him, live with him—NOT Sarai!  God did not “sign-off” on the culturally acceptable practice of using Hagar as a surrogate, and so it appears that Hagar and Abram raised the boy.
  • Ishmael would be blessed mightily, loved by God and Abram.
  • Her descendants would be “too many to count”
  • Ishmael = “God hears” First time in the Bible that God names an unborn baby.

“God’s Will…MY Way!” Genesis 16: 1-6

Big Idea: When we pursue God’s will and blessing our way…we accomplish neither.

The downward spiral of pursuing God’s Will…OUR Way:

  1. It starts with DISTRUST in God 1-2a

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children.

Restated: Behind every willful sin against God is the assumption that God is not true to His Word, and so cannot be trusted…

  1. We DEVISE a strategy to get what God has failed to give 2b-3

2b …please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife.

Restated: When we tire of waiting for God to come through, we then figure out our own, man-centered way to meet our needs and desires.

  1. We are DISMAYED when our plans blow up in our face 4

4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.

Restated: Despite the initial illusions of success, our sin begins to produce bitter, unexpected fruit.

  1. We DECLARE our innocence, and DISTRIBUTE blame to others 5-6

5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.”

Restated: When we face the consequences of our choices to pursue God’s will, our way—we often argue for our own innocence while pointing a finger at others…

  1. We DENY the surrounding culture a chance to see God’s faithfulness to always keep His promises

So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence

Restated: When God’s people demonstrate the shabbiness of their faith instead of the power of our God, the world, understandably, flees from such hypocrisy.

Genesis 15:7-21 How Will I Know?


Introduction: The LORD promised Abram THE land. 7

I.  The Land Covenant Ceremony 8-11

A.  Abram asked for assurance of the promise of the Land 8

B.  God instructed Abram to prepare a covenant ceremony 9-10

1.  Abram prepared the covenant ceremony 10-11

2.  He assembled, slaughtered, and arranged the required animals 10

3.  He protected the carcasses from vultures 11

II  Clarification of the Covenant 12-16

A.  How the Land would be given: through troubles, deliverance, and finally, blessing 12-14

B.  To Whom the Land would be given: NOT Abram, but his descendants 15, 18a

C.  When the Land would be given, and, why a 400-year delay? 16

  • Leviticus 18:24 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.
  • “By the time of the invasion of the nation of Israel (430 years after this covenant was made) Canaanite religion had denigrated in its form, artistically, morally, and administratively.  It was at its lowest point ever. When Joshua led the nation of Israel over the Jordan River he was leading them into the worst religious environment imaginable.  Human sacrifice, cultic prostitution, enslavement of women, and the coarsest idolatry so offended the invading Israelites that they nearly completely destroyed all traces of it in the land.”

III.  Ratification of the Covenant: Symbolic and Unilateral 17

A.  The Symbols of the LORD: furnace and flame 17

1.  The smoking furnace: divine presence and protection 17a

2.  The flaming torch: divine leadership and illumination in darkness 17b

B.  The covenant was ratified unilaterally

  • 2 Peter 3   9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
  • As Abram did not himself participate in the actual covenant ratification, the entire responsibility to keep the covenant rested on the only One who had walked through the pieces: the LORD God.

C.  Identification of the geographical/ethnic boundaries of the Promised Land  18-21

Genesis 15:1-6 Trust is Enough

I. God assured Abram of protection and reward 1

15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”

A. Protection: it is likely that Abram lived in fear of retaliation by Chedorlaomer
B. Reward: Abram had declined the material rewards of victory in battle, and staked his hope on the promises God had made to him
II. Abram freely expressed his deep concern and disappointment at being childless 2-3

2 Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless,

A. “I don’t have a child” 2a
• Childless = stripped to nothing
• Heir = son of acquisition = legal heir of Abram’s possessions, livestock, etc.
• Eliezer of Damascus = a servant
B. “Since You have not given me a son, I’ve settled for an adopted heir.” 2b-3

…and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”

III. The LORD clarified and illustrated His promise of a son to Abram. 4-5
A. Clarification of the Promise 4

4 Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”

B. Illustration of the Promise 5

5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

Restated: Abram LISTENED to the WORD of God, and LOOKED at the WORKS of God—and believed…
IV. Theological Commentary: Abram’s belief in God was counted by God as righteousness 6

6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Conclusion: God still is delighted when we trust Him today…
1. Gen 15:6: THE foundational passage on the possibility of pleasing God apart from works and good deeds…
2. EVERY god/idol has its price for salvation, protection, reward…
A. …these gods all are deceptive and dishonest, though—their full prices are never displayed. Only the promises are made—but the prices are demanded with the ruthless, unbending severity of a Mafia bagman.
B. …their price is always what is more precious to you than the thing they originally offered, and often, their price is your future, and often, your children.
3. …ONLY the LORD God of the Bible is radically, incomparably different:
• He tells the price—a death.
• He pays the price—the death of His Son.
• All that is left is for us to either believe, or not believe—there is no in between.