Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.1-4
Recall the last chapter where God not only spoke to Abram, but He put him in a deep sleep while making a one-sided covenant with him. This covenant (contract) said that God would give Abram a son and make him into great big nation. He said He would make a lasting covenant that would bear fruit forever. Abram was 85 years old and Sarai was 75; there was still no baby. Clearly Sarai's child-bearing years had past. Sarai decided she was too old, so she thought God meant this child would come through some other woman than herself. So she tells Abram to sleep with her Egyptian maid-servant Hagar.
I imagine that Hagar must have been close to Sarai, as the Scriptures tell us she was Sarai's servant. I'm sure she thought well of who she chose to try to bring about God's promise before time. God impregnating Sarai seemed way too impossible at this point, so she thinks, "maybe He meant..." Where else do we see this twist of the truth? Even though the Bible doesn't talk about satan clearly here, but we can sense him at work behind this scene. This was clearly a lie, and satan is the "father of all lies." Satan appearing to Eve in the garden... Satan was able to get Eve to question what God really said. Can't you hear satan in both incidents, "maybe He meant..." Then in nearly an instant Eve and Sarai sin, disobeying God. Sarai disobeyed God by not waiting on HIM to bring about the promise. Instead she took matters into her own hands, and it backfires. Not only does she have Hagar sleep with Abram, but she has them married too. I believe that she loses a friend by turning hate towards Hagar. Her sin was telling her to take her husband. The iniquities of the sin was the hatred by kicking her out, and a baby outside of their marriage. And... still no "promised" son. But I love how gracious our God is, as an angel of the Lord comes to Hagar's side in our next lesson.
The iniquities of this sin are nearly just as detrimental as the original sin, Eve's sin. Eve and Sarai led their husbands into sin as their husbands were quick to obey them. Regardless of who goes first here, all four turned their backs to God and did what they thought was best for themselves. All sin starts with the works of the enemy and selfishness.
Don't you hear it? Those words that you never thought would come into your mind are piercing strong. It's the enemy in your ear. "You don't need him anymore." "Everyone else is doing it. I have to fit in." "Did God really mean that?" "I'm not fit to do what He called me to do." "How can I quit? The pull is too strong." "I'm too busy to read the Bible." "Church is just not for me." "I don't want to go to church and be judged." "Let's not talk to her, she's weird." And on and on...
Lies Lies Lies
And then comes the point, the point where the thought is carried out by our selfishness. THIS is where it goes from temptation to sin. So, what happens next? You gain the temporary fix, but the long term effects are devastating. The sin solves the dilemma for a moment, but the iniquity is lasting. Some sins may have short term effects, but many sins have effects on your children, children's children, and so on, lasting up to four generations!
The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.' Numbers 14:18
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:14-16
So what, you ask? "What should I do if the thoughts are strong and I feel like there's no other way than to gratify myself? I mean, it is all about me, right? Love myself not my neighbor? Or maybe my neighbor too... if they are nice and fit in with me."
This is what the Lord says:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
In order to get the long lasting joy and eternal life rewards that God promises us, then we should be taking all of those thoughts captive to Christ. This means that you should hold up every single one of those statements to God's word, and in doing this, you will make the demons leave. State a Bible verse out loud that counters the lie.
Lie: "I hate her; she cheated with my husband."
Truth: "Pray for even your enemies." - Matthew 5:44
Lie "She's prettier than me."
Truth " God says I'm fearfully and wonderfully made." - Psalm 139:14
Lie "All religions lead to the same God"
Truth "Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him" John 14:6
Lie "God doesn't love me. Bad things continue to happen to me."
Truth "God died for you on the cross, in order to give you eternal life." John 3:16 | "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:45
Lie "I don't need God. I have everything I want."
Truth "You do not have the love of God in your heart, because you do not accept Jesus. But you accept others that come in their own name. How could you believe? You accept glory from one another but not glory from God. John 5:41-44
Solution "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
Lie "I need pride to get anywhere in this life."
Truth "Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
Lie "I have to sleep with him to see if we are compatible."
Truth “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4
Lie "I'm not giving money to the church. That's all they do is take money."
Truth "Everything on this earth is God's, even my money." Psalm 24:1 Honor God with your money and your best, then He will more than supply for your needs and wants. Proverbs 3:9-10 "Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments." Psalm 112:1
Lie "I don't need to read my Bible, I go to church."
Truth "God tells me to meditate on His Word day and night." Joshua 1:8 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Partial truth "Don't judge them. That's what the Bible says."
Truth: Don't judge them. Get rid of your sinfulness, then you can help your brother or sister with their sin. Matthew 7:1-5 . The Bible says A LOT about not judging others. But it also says to judge those within the church. "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:12,13
Lie "Success is how much money I make, and getting to the top of fame."
Truth "If you want to be great, you must serve others. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve others, and give up His life for us." Matthew 20:26-28
Lie "Wisdom is gaining knowledge, and prestige through academics"
Truth "The righteous speak wisdom and justice" Psalm 37:30 - Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18
Lie "Well she/he did it to me, so I'll do it back to her/him."
Truth “It was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek. If anyone sues you for your shirt, give them your coat also. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
Lie "I want to be what they are and have what they have. It's not fair"
Truth Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud 1 Corinthians 13:4 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40