A Baby to Complete Abram and Sarai
Abram and Sarai (aka Abraham and Sarah) wanted a baby to complete their lives. They were wealthy but childless and old. Who would carry on the family name? What would happen to all their wealth? Did they live meaningless lives?
Abram and Sarai needed God to make a difference with their childlessness. God hadn’t forgotten them, but He had plans they didn’t understand. His plans even included renaming them, Abraham and Sarah. Couples today may also feel they need a baby to complete their lives. But let’s revisit the Biblical story to see what we can learn.
Here’s a little of the story.
Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”Genesis 15:1–5 NLT
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)Genesis 16:1–3 NLT
Abram tried to help God out.
“The LORD spoke to Abram,” but still Abram followed a plan that he thought would help God out. Sarai’s proposal empowered his life while he sought the position of father of “descendants as numerous as the stars.” He hoped his possessions would continue to produce significance for his heirs. But first Abram and Sarai needed a baby.
There is nothing new about the idea that we look to people, positions, and possessions to empower and complete our lives. But the story of Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah cautions us to realize that we must continuously seek His way even if we decide we have a good plan. We need to find Christ relevant to our lives.
My plans are not always God’s plans.
Paul offers his life as an example of how frustrating it is to live outside a desperately dependent relationship with Christ.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 7:21–25 NLT
Only by connecting to Jesus Christ our Lord can we be free from the dominating struggle that threatens to consume us. When we are given a set of rules to follow, our sinful tendency is to rebel and assert our independence. But pursuing God frees us from the control of our sinful selves.
With our plans no longer at the forefront, we are now freed from the dominance of our desires. Therefore, we can follow God consistently and achieve His purpose. A fulfilling relationship emerges as God connects to us, we connect to God, and others experience the overflow of our divinely empowered connection.
Sarai’s perspective of childlessness
Sarai struggled with not being able to hold the position of mother and therefore viewed as a failure in her position as wife. Using her mistress’s position to seek fulfillment, Sarai turned to Abram, Hagar, and a baby to search for satisfaction. Believing that her possession of her servant could produce significance, Sarai manipulated Abram. They wanted a baby to complete and empower their lives.
Abram and Sarai could not comprehend the complete picture that God was producing in their lives. The false gods that permeated their culture needed human help to succeed, and they were still learning about their God, who had chosen them to fulfill His plan.
God has better plans than our plans.
As surrendered followers of Jesus Christ who live in desperate dependency upon Him, we are empowered by God to live beyond ourselves. The power to live Christ’s life on earth cannot be manufactured by our efforts. We are not even capable of conceptualizing the process. Human beings on a quest for their own best interest usually resort toward self-indulgence or self-promotion, thinking self-empowerment is somehow the solution to their powerless condition.
God is extending deliverance to us as we rely on Him.
It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.Zechariah 4:6 NLT
Only in our union with Christ are we complete.
God has no higher concern and espouses no greater agenda than to promote Jesus as preeminent within our lives.
Unfortunately, when we consider God’s job in our lives, we think we are merely saved from hell and destined for heaven. But God has provided so much more for us. The salvation Christ offers is not simply to escape from hell or membership in heaven. Instead, it is an invitation to a relationship with the living God! He enables us to experience abundant life now and an eternal inheritance beyond comprehension through His great and precious promises.
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.—1 Corinthians 2:9–12 NLT
How should these verses affect the way I live?
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.Isaiah 55:8–9 NLT
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
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Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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