"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
What Must We Do To Have Victory In The Midst of Adversity?
We Must Be Separated Unto The Lord!
, "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, [even] with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he [is] thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave [it] unto Hagar, putting [it] on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against [him] a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against [him], and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he [is]. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt."
I. Hagar Was A Prisoner of Circumstances Over Which She Had No Control.
A. As An Obedient Servant She:
1. Had a child conceived as the results of obedience to her masters.
2. Was cast out of the presence of those whom she loved and served.
B. She was forced By Her Un-Controllable Circumstances To:
1. Leave the familiar surroundings of her home.
2. Give up the security, position and very livelihood to which she had grown accustomed.
3. Be set adrift into a lonely and forsaken state in the wilderness.
II. It Is Difficult In The Beginning To Understand God's Purpose For Not Only Allowing This Act But To Actually Approve It.
A. Genesis 21:12, "And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called."
B. It is usually difficult to understand that this is Part of God's Divine Purpose And Plan For Her Life.
1. It Seems Cruel And Heartless for God to inflict upon one whom He loves, such difficult and sorrowful circumstances.
2. It seems Doubly Cruel To Involve Children in the struggle.
C. As heartless and cruel an act that it may seem, --- we are able to see later --- in Scripture --- the actual purpose in God's divine plan.
D. God's Plan For The Growth of A Nation Was Dependent upon these two individuals having to experience being cast away into a new life and existence.
III. As Hagar Is Cast Into The Wilderness, She Is Provided With Food And Water --- Which Is Soon Consumed.
A. We are sometimes cast into a Life of Barrenness and timelessness with seemingly no destination or purpose in sight.
1. At such a time we Tend To Rely Upon Natural Resources.
2. Worldly Substance and Fleshly Strength offer only meager fulfillment and contentment at best.
B. These are soon consumed and run out, as with Hagar (V. 15).
C. Then, there comes the Moment of Truth --- when she (we) realize that she (we) cannot go on.
D. V. 16, "She ... Lift Up Her Voice, And Wept." ---
V. 17, "And God Heard The Voice of The Lad."
1. The Key to an answer lies in the fact that Hagar Lifted Up Her Voice.
2. God will sometimes even Remove All Help from around us --- in order to Force Us To Look Up and receive the provisions that are available to us.
3. We must release the past and cry out to God for new vision of the future.
E. God loves us and will always listen to our call for help.
1. However, His Purpose And Plan Always Takes Priority.
2. We may call out to God for release from the circumstances but it is the ultimate purpose for the circumstances that takes priority.
3. Relief will generally come when we are willing to accept the will of God in the circumstances and look to the future for His glory.
F. V. 18, "For I will make him a great nation."
G. Enlightenment Will Follow Struggle And Submission.
IV. We May Cry As Long And As hard As We Can For Power And Blessings --- But Little Will Come of It Until --- We Are Willing To Undergo The Process of Separation.
A. We must separate ourselves unto the Lord.
1. We are not actually in true worship or fruitful service until we are separated.
2. Numbers 6 - 7 Gives Us A Moral Order:
a. Separation (6:1-12)
b. Worship (6:13-21)
c. Blessing (6:22-27)
d. Service (7:1-89)
3. Our failure to experience true worship and fruitful service is due to our unwillingness to take these steps.
B. In Leviticus 20:24, we have the promise of blessing due to separation --- also, that God Initiated This Separation:
Leviticus 20:24, "But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I [am] the LORD your God, which have separated you from [other] people." --- V. 26, "And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD [am] holy, and have severed you from [other] people, that ye should be mine."
C. II Corinthians 6:17-18, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
D. II Corinthians 7:1, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
E. There is a Twofold Separation:
--- UNTO Himself.
F. John Wesley, when he was eighty years of age, viewed the Stormy Years of His Marriage with the idea that if "Mrs. Wesley had been a better wife," He Might Have Been Unfaithful To The Great Work To Which God Had Called Him.
I Corinthians 7:32-34, "... He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please [his] wife. --- The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please [her] husband."
V. We Should Look To God For Direction.
A. Most of us look upon our lives in the context of What It Consists In The Present.
B. We are prone to look at our lives by seeing Our Immediate:
4. Desires ...
C. We need a Broader Scope --- a Panoramic View of our Past as well as our Future.
1. Our lives are Not Segmented as we usually see them --- but instead, are One Large Picture.
2. In order to gain a sense of direction and purpose, we must examine our lives and assets within that scope.
D. Prov. 29:18, "Where there is no vision (prophecy), the people cast off restraint;"
1. This Scripture is a picture of the person who has Not Found Purpose and Direction for their life.
2. He is set adrift By His Circumstances.
3. Without seeking God's direction and without realizing that his circumstances are divinely arranged by God --- he may Never Find A Fulfilling Purpose And Meaning In Life.
4. Without this vision to look toward, he may very well become completely Unmotivated and settle into a Dull And Lifeless Existence.
VI. How Can We Regain Purpose And Direction In Life?
A. We Must Realize That God's Timing Is Different From Ours.
1. Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
2. God has planned your life and has measured it in relation to eternity.
3. A delay of years may not be as great to God as to you.
B. Realize That Much of Your Experience In Life May Have Been Necessary Preparation.
C. Do Not Look At Your Immediate Circumstances When Contemplating The Fulfillment of A Vision.
1. God Wants To Receive The Glory from the vision that is brought alive by your circumstances.
2. That cannot be done except you allow God to bring its fulfillment about and trust Him in faith.
D. Realize That Your Life Has Been Planned By God And He Will Develop It If You Will Allow Him.
1. Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
2. I Thessalonians 5:24, "Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it]."
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