Let’s start with some biblical history: God tells Abraham (Abram) that he will give him a son and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars and a great nation. Sarah, Abram’s wife, is very old and convinced that God has closed her womb, so she tells Abram to have sex with her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to birth a son. They did have a son, Ishmael, and Sarah was mad at Hagar for doing what she commanded her to do.
But God was still faithful and true and gave Abram a son through Sarah, Isaac, as his legitimate heir. Ishmael, not part of God’s plan for Israel, is sent away and fathers the Arab nations that today war against the Israelites. Instead of waiting on and trusting God, Abram birthed an “Ishmael” and all sorts of problems as a result.
Dave Wager joins us this morning to discuss how we as believers continue to “birth Ishmaels” in our lives, causing problems because we are outside of God’s will.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Almost 15 years ago, on a shoreline outside of Athens, Greece, I stood confident in my relationship with the Lord and my ministry trajectory. I was traveling the world on a private Gulfstream jet doing “gospel” ministry and enjoying every luxury money could buy. After a comfortable flight and my favorite meal (lasagna) made by our personal chef, we prepared for a ministry trip by resting at The Grand Resort: Lagonissi.
Boasting my very own ocean-view villa, complete with private pool and over 2,000 square feet of living space, I perched on the rocks above the water’s edge and rejoiced in the life I was living. After all, I was serving Jesus Christ and living the abundant life he promised.
Little did I know that this coastline was part of the Aegean Sea—the same body of water the apostle Paul sailed while spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. There was just one problem: We weren’t preaching the same gospel as Paul…