When God Speaks, Listen!

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. Genesis 16:1-2

My devotions have been a series on Abram (Abraham).  God considered him a righteous person. It is so interesting to read the events of his life. He gets Sarai to say she is his sister, not his wife, so he won’t be killed when he passes through countries. Sarai is such a beautiful woman, even in her later years. The Pharaoh of Egypt gave Abram gifts on account of Sarai, and told Abram to leave the country.

This happens again, that Abram tells a king that Sarai is his sister.  Abimelech, King of Gerar, has a fancy for Sarai, and takes her to be with him. Before he has the chance to make her his wife, he has a dream that God tells him Sarai is Abram’s wife.  If he should take her to be his wife, he would die.  Abimelech tells God, he intended to take Sarai as his wife with integrity, because he thought she was Abram’s sister.  

God tells Abimelech that he knows he acted with integrity, and that it was God who stopped him from going too far with Sarai. God tells Abimelech to take Sarai back to Abram, because he is a Prophet, and to ask his forgiveness so he won’t die, and his people won’t suffer for what has been done.  Abimelech is such a great king, that he brings gifts of sheep and oxen, menservants, and womenservants, and a thousand pieces of silver.  He tells Abram he can live on his land anywhere he chooses.  Abraham (Abram) prayed for God to heal Abimelech and his people. This story is told in Genesis 20.

Sarai, she seems to be a very capable woman, so much in fact, that she thinks of a plan for God to help her have children.  She even gets Abram to go along with it. She will use her slave as a surrogate mother.  But things don’t quite work out the way Sarai thinks. Hagar, when she becomes pregnant, despises Sarai.  Sarai then becomes very bitter towards Hagar, and wants her to leave.  Hagar leaves home. As she stops by a fountain of water in the wilderness, an angel appears, and tells her to return to Sarai.  The angel gives her instructions, telling her to name her son Ishmael, and that God will multiply his children exceedingly. He also said that Ishmael would be a wild man, that his hand would be against every man, and every man’s hand would be against him, and he would dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

There are a lot of details that God gives Abram, Lot, Sarai, and Hagar about their lives.  God seems to have taken a special interest in Abram and his family. Every time God spoke to Abram, or gave him a vision, or sent a messenger, Abram recognized it for what it was.  He listened to God.

Maybe if we would acknowledge God and listen to Him, He would reveal great things to us.  I think we have to be aware that He is near to each one of us.  When we err in our ways, like Abimelech almost taking Sarai to be his wife, not knowing she was already married, God stopped him before he went too far.  Like Paul, when he was killing Christians, God blinded him on the road to Damascus, and showed him the light and truth of Jesus Christ.  Like the donkey that spoke to his master, because an angel was blocking the road, it saved Balaam’s life.  There are other stories of God speaking to people like Moses in a burning bush; the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary; a vision appearing to Joseph, Mary’s husband to tell him to marry her, even though she was with child, and to tell the family to leave Nazareth to go to Egypt, because Herod was trying to kill the child.

God speaks to people. We have to recognize His voice, and to be prepared for things we might not understand, like a speaking burning bush, or a glowing white messenger of God. We have become so dismissive of anything “outside the box” of normal, that we miss having the opportunity to see God’s miracles at work. His ways are not our ways!

God does things in His own time, and in His own way.  When He reveals things to us, like he did with Sarai, telling her she would have a son, it took a long time in human years, probably fifteen or more for it to happen. Sometimes thing happen rapidly, but be prepared for a “long haul”. 

God still tells people things, and we just have to be willing to hear and believe and have patience. We have to be right with God, be seeking for Him, and be willing to listen to that still small voice within us. Sometimes we are like Sarai, and want God to prove himself now.  If we have patience, I believe in His time, He will reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

Lord, Your word says that if we draw close to You, You will draw close to us.  Please be near me today, and help me to hear Your voice.  Help me to obey Your commands.  Thank you for revealing Yourself in such an amazing way through Your Word.



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