Good morning and welcome to “Moments of Truth”, a weekly broadcast brought to you by the brethren of the Pekin church of Christ located at the corner of First Street and Karnes Court in Pekin, Indiana.
Each week, we endeavor to present a portion of God’s Word to help you to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). This morning I am joined by my good friend and brother in Christ, Jonathan Adams. He will be doing all of our Scripture reading for us this morning. We also cordially invite you to come and study God’s Word with us. We have Bible Classes for all ages! They begin at 9:45 and are followed by our 10:30 AM Worship and 5 PM Worship. All are invited to come and worship with us. We continue to utilize our Facebook “Live-Stream” capability for all our services. Don’t forget about our daily “Bible Point to Ponder” which is also “Live Streaming” on our Facebook Page at 9 AM Monday through Friday. We hope you will be able to take advantage of all these opportunities to study more of God’s Word.
As well we would also like to ask that you do all you can to remain righteous before God so that your prayers will be heard and answered. James tells us in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
And when you pray, we ask that you remember to pray for all men as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
If you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or 812-896-6613. You can also contact us through our web site at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. We’d also like to offer you a Home Bible study at your convenience as well as a free Bible correspondence course. Our desire is to help you with your walk with God.
Last week we began a journey through the entire Bible to help us see the entire Bible is designed to help the Christian to lead. Beginning with the Book of Genesis we see the fact that the Bible is the book on leadership and It All Began with God the Ultimate Leader! So today we continue our journey through the book of Genesis in the Bible, and we examine: Leadership During the Time of Abraham Which Includes His Wife Sarah.
From God’s connection with Abram to Abraham seizing the God-Given Vision, to Abraham “Going the Distance” and His “Taking the High Road” with his nephew Lot, we want to make sure we also learn from Sarah, Abraham’s Wife. She was a big part of Abraham’s journey with God and plays a role everyone can learn from, not just ladies.
Turning to Genesis 16:1-16 we get to learn another leadership trait: Problem Solving. The thing with Sarah when it comes to leadership is we get to learn Problem Solving when Sarah’s Attempts to Do God’s will Her way! Let’s read this section of Scripture and then discuss it, “Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. 5 Then Sarai
said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me." 6 So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence. 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 And He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." 9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand." 10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude." 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her: "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." 13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?" 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.”
Those who master problem solving find that it’s one of the fastest ways to gain leadership in any group. Anyone who can solve problems will never lack influence. But the influence gained is not always positive.
So, we consider the case of Sarah. God told her husband, Abraham, that his offspring would grow as numerous as the sands of the seashore and the stars in the sky. But there was a problem: Sarah was barren and past the age of childbearing. As the years passed, God’s promise didn’t appear any closer to fulfillment.
Sarah faced a problem and felt compelled to solve it. Lacking the patience to trust God to keep His promise, Sarah looked to her own methods. After waiting more than a decade for a son, she felt she had waited long enough and unwisely attempted to fulfill God’s will in her way, through an Egyptian servant named Hagar.
Sarah’s solution, however, gave her no peace. When Hagar became pregnant by Abraham and bore a son named Ishmael, Sarah despised both Hagar and her newborn son. Hagar had done what she was asked, but satisfaction eluded Sarah.
The true problem facing Sarah was not a need for offspring, but her own impatience. Sarah wanted control – something that has afflicted many leaders throughout history! Instead of trusting God, Sarah tried to make the promise come true by using her own methods and according to her own timetable. She depended upon her own strength when she should have leaned on Almighty God. She illustrates what happens when an insecure leaders tries to work independently of God. You see insecure leaders:
1. Believe God is inattentive, absent, or even against them.
2. Allow their circumstances to determine their understanding of God’s character.
3. See life through a perspective of scarcity rather than abundance.
4. Become self-seeking and manipulative.
5. Feel intimidated and deal with others through intimidation.
6. Resent the success of others and angrily turn on them.
7. Think that if one person succeeds, someone else must lose.
8. Blame others for their dilemmas.
9. See themselves as martyrs.
10. Conclude that attempts at control seem more logical than trusting God.
So, let’s ask ourselves some questions: Do we identify with Sarah? Do we struggle with a desire to control problems rather than doing things God’s way? If so, we need to ask God to reveal how He would have us deal with our problems in a way that honors him!
Now, with that lesson concerning problem solving learned from Sarah. Let’s learn from her some more by turning to Genesis 18:9-15 and Genesis 21:1-7. In these two sections of Scripture, we get to see that God Had the Last Laugh. First let’s read these two sections. This section of Scripture begins with Abraham sitting in his tent door in the heat of the day by the terebinth trees of Mamre when he lifted up his eyes and three men were standing by him. As Abraham went to prepare and care for his guests, we get to see the dialogue begin, “Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" So he said, "Here, in the tent." 10 And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" 13 And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' 14 "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!" Now we turn to Genesis 21:1-7, “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him-whom Sarah bore to him-Isaac. 4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now
Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." 7 She also said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
From this section of Scripture it is revealed that God saw Sarah’s laughter and he knew what she was thinking. The elderly woman heard the Lord tell her husband, the even older Abraham, that within a year she would bear him a son. How could this be? She wondered. To her ears it sound implausible, preposterous. How could an 89-year old woman and a 00-year-old man have a child? Wishing a thing does not make it so, she may have thought.
Sarah doubted because she looked at her circumstances and not at the God who keeps His promises. The revelation just seemed too good to be true – so she laughed. Not out loud. And not enough so that anyone but God would notice (Gen. 18:12). She laughed quietly, in unbelieve and impatience, not uproariously, in faith and celebration.
Yet, God noticed, and God would have the last laugh. He challenged Sarah’s unbelief with a sharp, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (18:14).
The Bible tells us that a year after Sarah’s moments of unbelief and impatience, God brought her another kind of laughter, the kind that accompanies the joy of a promise kept – the only kind of promise God makes.
Impatient leaders need to learn what Sarah discovered that Day: God always keeps His promises, but in His timing and in His way.
Now, we have learned two lessons on leadership from Sarah, Problem Solving and a need for Patience and Trust in God to keep His promises. Let’s keep those close with the other lessons we’ve learned thus far. But let’s learn some more from Abraham.
We move on to Genesis 18:16-33 where we get to Learn from Abraham about Negotiation, for Abraham takes a stand with God, “Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 "since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." 20 And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 "Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." 27 Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 "Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it." 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said, "I will not do it for the sake of forty." 30 Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found
there?" So He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 And he said, "Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty." 32 Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”
In this section of Scripture, we get to see Abraham doing something incredible. When God revealed that he planned to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham confronted God, knowing that his nephew lived in Sodom and believing that God would never destroy the righteous citizens there. So he took a stand, as all good leaders are able to do, and negotiated how many people it would take for God to withhold His punishment. Abraham wasn’t afraid to use his resolve and his insight to ensure the safety of his family. This is an important lesson for us to pay attention too! We never know who we may have to take a stand with, in order to take care of those around us. In some cases, there are those who have no idea that they are in danger, and they need someone to look out for them and warn them. When you think about being a Christian, this is exactly our responsibility, to warn others concerning sin!
As we near the end of our time for our program today, let’s take a look at one more leadership trait from Abraham, the Law of Sacrifice and the fact that Abraham Pays a Price. When we turn to Genesis 22:1-18 we read this lesson, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey,
and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided." 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is
on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
Did you know that God provides tests as measures of progress and as proving grounds for every person He calls to lead? That’s what this section of Scripture reveals for us. A divine test for Abraham. As we read this story last week, it is necessary to look at it again from another perspective. As we know God calls Abraham to climb Mount Moriah and sacrifice his beloved son. If Abraham would resolve to give up Isaac, God knew he would be willing to do anything asked of him – and therefore would be a perfect candidate to become the father of the Hebrew people.
Leadership tests differ from one another, but all have a few things in common:
1. Leaders get tested at each stage of growth.
2. The leader’s goal is to pass the test.
3. Testing always precedes promotion.
4. Self-promotion or promotion by others can never replace divine promotion.
5. Promotion requires sacrifice.
While Abraham’s trial foreshadowed what God intended to do with His only begotten Son thousands of years later, it also provided a leadership test!
So, for today’s study we have seen Problem Solving and we learned from Sarah that we need to do things God’s Way and not try to do His Will in our Own way. That requires us to be patient and trust in Him. We also learned from Sarah, that God will have the last laugh. That He will always keep his promises, we have to realize he will keep his promises in His time and H
more from Abraham. The idea of negotiation. Abraham was willing to take a stand with God! On behalf of his family and the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. We also learned about being tested by God, concerning our growth. We looked again at Abraham’s test of sacrificing his only begotten son as God instructed him. That means we learned the Law of Sacrifice and that Abraham would pay a price for God. Each of these lessons we must pay close attention to in our walk for God. It is such a wonderful blessing the Lord has given us, His Holy Word. To learn His lessons for us to learn so that we may be the shining light and the salt of the earth he desires us to be!
Well, we come to another end of “Moments of Truth”, and we want to thank you for listening and studying God’s Word with us today. I also want to thank Damon for doing all of our Scripture reading. It is our hope that you have been encouraged and will continue your studies of God’s Holy Word and seek to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Next week we will pick up our study beginning in Genesis 25 and start learning from Jacob and Esau.
Remember also, if you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or visit our website at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. Please visit us on Facebook as well! Remember, we are providing our worship services “live streaming” on our Facebook page. The thing is, Scripture teaches in Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together…” Please recognize the importance of being with your brethren in worship. We all need to remember Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” Please hang on to and live by Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own
interests, but also for the interests of others.” Finally, we ask that you please remember, we want to help you with your walk with God.