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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Staying Plugged in

But we forget.

Genesis 16:1–3

Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.

This will turn into one of the most disastrous schemes in human history. But whose fault is it? Sarai’s or Abram’s?

It’s Abram’s fault. Only Abram had first-hand knowledge of the covenant God cut with him. When Sarai hatched this scheme, Abram should have shot it down instantly. Instead, as the ESV Study Bible notes, Abram “obeyed” Sarah.

Something must have clouded Abram’s mind. Gee, what could that possibly have been? Sarai is now 75 and Abram 85 (cf. Genesis 12:4, 5, 16:16, and 17:17). Hagar is probably young enough to be their grandchild. Getting a green light to take Hagar as a wife must have been very tempting.

But the bigger mistake here is their presumption to “help” God fulfill his own promises. That’s likely to backfire (as it does) because they’re not omniscient and thus make clueless plans.

But that’s nothing compared to how bad things would get if such a “helping” scheme were to succeed. The pride that would produce would be pure hell.

Self-reliance is poisonous, especially in God’s service.

What’s mind-boggling about all this is that one of the most “plugged in” guys in history somehow forgets to check with God before launching this madcap scheme. Abram is in touch with God constantly. How could he possibly be out of touch this time?

We can guess. He is a guy, after all.

But we’re just as bad. We “forget” God too. Staying plugged in is a learned behavior. That’s why we publish the DEEP. Regular quiet times remind us of who we are and who we serve. By getting on the right wavelength on a regular basis, we practice being in touch with God.

Think of some reminders you can use to help keep you plugged in. Yes, these are crutches—and not needing crutches would be great—but anything that builds the right habits is a good thing.

And, most importantly, those reminders help you stay alert for His guidance.

In everything ask, “Is God telling me something here? How does He want me to handle this?”

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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