The “clock” was running out (so they thought). Sarai was naturally too old to have a child. So Sarai convinces her husband Abram to go in to her maidservant Hagar in order to have children. It’s an absolute tragedy that Sarai and Abram refused to wait on the LORD. They decided to go the way of the world, of the flesh, and “help” God out. Hagar did indeed get pregnant, but immediately the unnecessary troubles began.
God help us to wait on Him, to trust the LORD to fulfill His plans for our lives in His timing. The descendants of Ishmael would eventually become the Arab nations. (Click HERE for more on this)
Warren Wiersbe, “Faith and patience always go together (Heb. 6:12; James 1:1–5). Isaiah declared, “Whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16). We must trust God not only for His plan but also for His timing. Before He could send the promised son, God had to wait until Abram and Sarai were as good as dead (Rom. 4:19–21; Heb. 11:11–12). Sarai leaned on human understanding instead of God’s promises (Prov. 3:5–6). She trusted a woman from Egypt instead of the God of heaven.”
The LORD loves everyone involved, so when Hagar runs away He pursues her and convinces her to return to Sarai with a heart of submission. How gracious and personal God is! Hagar realizes this and even referred to the LORD as “El Roi” which means “The God-Who-Sees” (Genesis 16:13). The well nearby was then called “Beer Lahai Roi” which literally means, “The One Who lives and sees me.”
As we experience the the hard times in life, we need to remember, our way is not hidden from the Lord, He really does see and will act on our behalf…wait on Him (Isaiah 40:27-31).
Abram was 86-years-old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). God appeared to him 13 years later (Genesis 17:1).
God changed his name from Abram ( high or exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Again, God promised Abraham the Land, and again God promised Abraham many descendants. God then instituted circumcision as a covenant between them which symbolized the cutting away of the flesh (the fallen sin nature). God promised a son to Abraham through his wife and changed her name from Sarai (she that strives) to Sarah (princess, a woman of high rank).
When the LORD promised a son to this couple, Abraham laughed and doubted. Sarah later laughed as well (Genesis 17:17; 18:12), so much for their amazing faith. I find it encouraging as a parent that Abraham had been praying for Ishmael and God said He had heard those prayers (Genesis 17:20). Abraham assumed Ishmael was the child of promise, but God said no, His covenant would be through Isaac (his name means laughter). Doesn’t that bring a smile to your heart?
Why the delay? Many factors are involved in God’s timing but ultimately when Isaac was born, there would be absolutely no doubt about it – this son is a miracle!
Hebrews 11:12 (NKJV) “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
“When you do a charitable deed…” (Matthew 6:2)
“When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5)
“When you fast…” (Matthew 6:16)
These are things Jesus assumes we will do as His children. May we do so almost secretly, obediently, and with sincerity, not to be seen by others so they’d think we’re godly. Let’s repent of the desire to impress others, let’s live only to bless God.
In Matthew 6:9-13 we have what’s been called a “Model Prayer.” When we pray may we have reverence for Our Father, may we seek His Kingdom and His will. He is the Giver of the Bread of Life, every day of our lives. As we ask for forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed against God we MUST also be sure to forgive those who have wronged us. And how important it is to ask the Lord to protect and deliver us from temptation and the evil one.
One last thing about this prayer. Did you notice that when you pray this prayer you’re praying for the entire church? (notice the words “US” and “WE” are found 5 times in this prayer)
God help us to invest our time, talents, and treasures towards His Kingdom, towards the things that are everlasting. People try, but no one is able to serve both God and money. Eventually our loyalty will be tested and revealed.
Warren Wiersbe, “We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom. It means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important. It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control and our one desire is to glorify Him.”
Is my eye good? (Matthew 6:22) When our eyes are looking at good things, our entire life will benefit. Seek after God, read the Word, watch good studies and movies, look at everyone and everything through the lenses of Lord. But if our eyes are “bad” looking and lusting after the things of this world, our life will suffer the consequences (see Proverbs 17:24).
Once again, David prays for deliverance. I can’t even begin to imagine the “wars” he went through. David was being persecuted and asked God to deliver him, to save him from it, lest they tear him like lions. The devil is described as a lion in:
1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
David’s sobriety and vigilance was prayer.
He also checked his own life. As far as he could see, he was living a life of integrity. David spoke with God and basically said, “If I’m in sin, if I’m at fault…”
Psalm 7:5 (NKJV) “Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; yes, let him trample my life to the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah”
That’s a heavy prayer! I don’t think I can pray a prayer like that, for I do fail and fall short, every day and in every area of my life.
David prayed for God to deal with his enemies.
With New Testament light we realize that our battle is not against people, but it’s against the demons behind them (Ephesians 6:12). We are to love our enemies and pray for them to be saved – we give it all to God, praying for wisdom and then let Him handle it (He always does a better job).
As God’s people, when it’s all said and done – we will praise Him. We have peace and confidence. That’s how David ends this Psalm – yes almost all the Psalms end on a high-note, on an “up” beat (Psalm 7:17). Yours should too.
As we find ourselves traveling through tough and trying times, may we do our best to look up.
Proverbs 2:1–4 (NKJV) My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
I. The Pursuit of Wisdom (1-4)
In verses 1-4 we see 8 imperatives (commands) and 3 “ifs”
“If” you receive my words (v. 1) – – we must be open to it
V. 3 “If” you cry out for discernment – we must be praying for it
V. 4 “If” you seek her as silver – we must be searching for it
The word “If” may be small, but it makes ALL the difference in the world
(see 2 Chronicles 7:14)
We can go way back to the book of Genesis 4:6-7, “So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? IF you do well, will you not be accepted? And IF you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
You should do well; the choice is yours.
Some people blame it all on God, acknowledging only His powerful sovereignty, but we must also look to ourselves and rise to our personal responsibility.
IF you receive God’s Word
IF you cry out for discernment
IF you seek her as silver
3 “Ifs” and 8 imperatives (commands)
1. Receive (1a)
2. Treasure (1b)
Do we treasure His truth? Is that how we view and value the Bible?
The Hebrew word translated treasure (tsaw-fan’) literally means “to hide.” And it’s the same word used in:
Psalms 119:11 (NKJV) “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”
3. Incline (2a)
You incline your ear. You know how it is, when you live in an apartment, and you’re having problems making out the exact words being used in the argument that the next-door neighbors are having, and so you put a cup to the wall, you tell the kids to be quiet, shhhh, I’m trying to hear what they’re saying so I know how to pray for them.
To incline your ear is when your spiritual antennas are up; you’re tuned-in to that station of revelation.
4. Apply (2b)
Through the ears and into the mind – but that’s not enough, you want it to land in your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.
You’re not like those people Jesus spoke of in:
Matthew 15:8 (NKJV) “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”
The NLT says, they “concentrate on understanding.”
When your heart is IN IT; applications means we learn it to live it
5. Cry out (3a)
Not just praying nominally, this is a cry for wisdom, a cry of desperation.
(Solomon asked for wisdom)
James 1:5 (NKJV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
6. Lift up your voice (3b)
(Crying out = desperation; Lifting up our voice = direction)
Psalms 121:1-2, “<<A Song of Ascents.>> I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”
There are those times when a moment of silence is not enough, hands folded, eyes closed; no, there are those times, when we are to pray passionately, out loud, lifting our voice, our hands, lifting our eyes to the One who hears our cries.
7. Seek (4a)
8. Search (4b)
There’s nothing more valuable and it won’t be found with a nominal, casual, glance here and there every once in a while.
It’s more important than looking for lost keys, or a misplaced wallet or wedding ring.
Proverbs 16:16 (NKJV) “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
But Manny, we need wealth to live; true, but we need wisdom to live spiritually; not just below but above, not just in time but eternity.
That’s why we have this first point: I. The Pursuit of Wisdom (1-4)
I was studying the life of King Edward VI, and I was so impressed by this young King of England born in 1537, how as a young man – a teenager he would stand whenever he heard the Word of God, he would take detailed notes, and then afterwards he would peruse those notes, he would study them carefully, vigorously, and thoroughly and then he would seal the deal, by spending time in meditation. Even though he died young, the history books tell us that, “The transformation of the Church of England into a recognizably Protestant body occurred under King Edward VI, who took great interest in Spiritual matters.
It was the Pursuit of Wisdom
II. The Person of Wisdom
Proverbs 2:5 (NKJV) “Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”
1. Wisdom is synonymous with the Fear of the LORD (v. 5a)
2. Wisdom is synonymous with Finding the LORD (v. 5b)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.