Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Genesis 21: Wisdom of women; How God acts in history; God's tender heart

There are several neat nuggets of impact in Genesis 21.

Nugget 1: Us men ought to embrace women as sources of wisdom. In Genesis 21:12, God tells Abraham that Sara's word is the voice of wisdom. Obey it. Obviously, not everybody, man or woman, is wise; but there is wisdom in both sexes. Never close your ears to anybody's thinking based upon their sex (gender). If men will not listen to the wisdom of women, they are limiting their available wisdom by half (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6). It is not shameful for a man to obey a wise woman leader.

Nugget 2: God adapts his plans as reality changes. Ishmael was not in God's plan; but Ishmael was now a reality. God adapted (Genesis 21:13).

Nugget 3 has to do with how God responds to people's emotion. Check this out:
Gen 21:15-19
When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.
I am fascinated by what motivated God to act. All this sadness going on at the scene and God responds to the crying of the boy! It is interesting that God heard the voice of somebody who was NOT praying and God responded to it. We have seen this kind of sensitivity in God in at least two other places in the book of Genesis: Genesis 4:10; 18:20 (c.f., Deuteronomy 15:9; 24:15)! God is tenderhearted. God is sensitive to people's sadness.

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