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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #10 “Not Wavering Through Unbelief!” (A Study of Romans 4:20-21)

23 Dec

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 4 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

I will be the first to admit that there is much in the Old Testament that I do not understand. I’m not claiming to understand all of the New Testament, by the way.

But I don’t understand how Paul could write these words in Romans 4:20-21 –

As I read Genesis 16, Abram obeys his wife Sarai (who had borne him no children) and sleeps with Hagar, her Egyptian slave. Sarai’s reasoning is “The Lord has kept me from having children. . . . Perhaps I can build a family through her” (v. 2).

Abram agrees and Sarai gives Hagar to Abram and he sleeps with her and she conceives. I don’t know that he had to sleep only once with her. Perhaps it was multiple times over a significant time period. But Hagar becomes pregnant.

We know the rest of the story. Hagar begins to despise Sarai (v. 4). Sarai gives Abram the gears and says, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering! . . . May the Lord judge between you and me” (v. 5). Ouch.

Abram gives Sarai permission to do to Hagar whatever she thinks best. And Sarai mistreats Hagar who flees to a spring in the desert.

The angel of the Lord meets Hagar there, tells her to go back and submit to Sarai, and that the Lord would give her innumerable descendants. Hagar names the Lord who spoke to her (note: “angel of the Lord” = “the Lord”) “the One who sees me” (v. 13).

Hagar bears Abram (at the ripe old age of 86) a son whom he names Ismael.

This whole episode sure sounds like Abram is, indeed, wavering through unbelief regarding the promise of God. Or am I missing something?

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2020 in Genesis 4

 

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