21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
How soon we forget the role we played in what we now despise, because it has become an incovenience to us. How soon we forget that what we now reject is what we thought we couldn’t live without and that God was too slow for our liking.
Genesis 16:2; 2 Samuel 13
As I read this all too familiar scripture, I began to reflect on the many ways this story could have been different. I thought about how different the story of Esau and Jacob could have been. How different the story of Joseph and his brothers could have been. How different most of our life stories could have been. If only we had the foresight or obedience to have done things God’s way. I thought about how different the world at large would have been IF ONLY. If only we had made better choices, wiser decisions, and been obedient.
I said out loud; “ Lord help me not leave behind any messes be it spiritual, personal or financial, for my children, grandchildren or great grandchildren to clean up!” Not everything can be smoothed over. Some things carry lasting consequences and affect nations. Families are having to live through the embarrassment of poor choices of fathers and mothers. Israel is living with the disobedience and impatience of Sarah 's wishes. It will take the second coming of Jesus to fix that mess.
Whether we are saved or unsaved, the choices we make now will certainly make life better or bitter for those we leave behind. So it is time to evaluate our lives, and with the help of God Almighty through His Son Jesus Christ, begin the process of cleaning up our mess. Sarah had a shortsighted view of what constituted inheritance, what all was involved in sending Ishmael away. She thought by simply removing him from their household, that her impetuousness would be atoned for. Little did she know that the act would create enmity between brothers for life. She thought she had gotten rid of her mess. I wonder what she is thinking now as she views her decision from heaven.
Regrets…we all have them. But most of our regrets are avoidable, some of us are in debt because of poor choices, and it is compounded because we refuse to obey the Word of God, owe no man anything but the debt of love. Romans 13:8. We want what we want, and we want it now! Some of us are in unhealthy relationships because we talk ourselves into the lies of societal norms. Singleness is not a disease. We end up most times, bringing children into our mess, creating a lifetime of mental and emotional struggles for our children. Want me to point out all the ways we have messed up our lives? Or have you gotten the picture? The Holy Spirit says “It is time to clean up our mess, so we don’t leave it for others to deal with.
Here’s a big one. Inconsistency in our Christian walk. This one act has left a trail of open rebellion against God and the Truth. Pastors, parents and religion as a whole have left deep wounds in the hearts and lives of seekers. Every time a minister of the gospel falls into sin and flagrant disobedience to the gospel they preach, masses are wounded. Some regrettably, turn to agnosticism, atheism, false religions or no religion at all. When our lives don’t measure up to our words we leave a messy trail of confusion of what Truth really is for others. How many children of “pastors or christian parents” are not living for Jesus today? Far too many. We are encouraged to walk circumspectly around ourselves Ephesians 5:15-20. This is the biblical way of saying find out where the mess is in our lives, and clean it up before it becomes a problem for someone else.
We can’t always send our problem away, or wish it away. Consequences don’t march to the beat of our drums. The Lord has a set of guidelines that if followed always leads to life. He also has judgment in place for those who want their own way. Sarah foolishly thought that sending Hagar and their son Ishmael away would bring peace, but we all know that this was wishful thinking. The wombs of countless women have become graveyards. Most believe that abortion is the end of their poor choices, but the emotional wounding, even though rarely reported, leaves a gaping hole only Jesus and His love can fill. It is time to clean up our mess!
What poor choices keep you up at night? What act of disobedience has left a trail behind you? Whose life or lives have been altered by your obstinance? What catastrophe are you leaving for your family to live through? Every time I see a go fund me page to bury someone, or pay their debt I wonder what has led to that even being someone else's problem. The scripture has really opened another perspective to me. The decisions we make in haste as adults have a long arm. It reaches into the future, as was Sarah’s hasty decision to help bring about God’s promise. We don’t always like what we think we can’t wait for or do without. If according to Jeremiah 29:11, God knows the plans He has for us, then doesn’t it make sense to wait on Him? Most of our regrets can be traced back to impatience.
So how do we effectively clean up our mess(es)?
The first step if you have not done so already, is to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. He said this.
““Come to Me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept My teachings and learn from Me, because I Am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives.”
Matthew 11:28-29 NCV
The next step is to seriously and contemplatively take an inventory of your life with the help of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to reveal everything that has been buried and is still causing you emotional and physical stress. Then confess them and allow God the Father through His Son Jesus to cleanse you from every dead work. He will remove the mess and restore you to a vibrant walk with Him. He has promised to remove the messes as far away as the east is from the west. They will never meet. As far as I know, maybe she did, but Sarah never asked for forgiveness concerning Ishmael, maybe that’s why there is still a conflict between Ismael and Isaac. This is just speculation on my part. But this story reminds us that not all disobedience has a clean ending. Some of us will have to live with the consequence into generations. It is unfortunate that some families are known by the messes of others. You are innocent but the stigma remains.
May we strive to stem the flow of poor choices to our children and grandchildren. May we live lives controlled by the Holy Spirit. May we leave a legacy of love, faithfulness and obedience as children of God. I pray that we will have a good name. That the memory of us will be blessed. Leading others to life and faith in the One True God. May no one stumble because of us. Endeavor to be imitators of God so all who come behind us will follow our footsteps to Christ Jesus. Cleaning up our mess takes honesty and authenticity on our part, but we can do it. With the help of Jesus we can do all things. Get out of debt! Don’t leave a legacy of poverty to your children. Make good godly plans for your future posterity. Leave a legacy they can be proud of. I will close with this scripture.
“A beautiful reputation is more to be desired than great riches, and to be esteemed by others is more honorable than to own immense investments. The rich and the poor have one thing in common: the Lord God created each one. A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it. But the senseless rush blindly forward and suffer the consequences. Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.”
Proverbs 22:1-4 TPT
As long as we have breath, we have the ability to change our future. It doesn’t matter what side of the tracks you were born on. We have this Truth to believe in. We just need to avoid the mess and live who we were created to be.
“We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!” Ephesians 2:10 TPT
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
April 28, 2023