Genesis 16

Following in the Footsteps of faith: Learning to Actually Trust a Trustworthy God

Abraham, Sarah & Hagar. Unknown artist, 1897

(Read the series.)

Ever hear one of these guys on the radio (usually on ESPN Saturday mornings) giving you the betting lines on games and “guaranteeing” that his picks will make you money? I am not suggesting that anyone should gamble money on football games. But I want to point out the terminology.

It seems like everything today is a guarantee. “I guarantee it” is one of the most overused slogans in our country (I guarantee it!). But the question I always want to ask is, “What if you’re wrong?” Because they are—lots of times. Do they lose their job? Do they get a pay cut? Nope, they just start taping next week’s “guaranteed, locked-in, easy money” choices and the cycle starts all over again.

But God isn’t like that. We saw in Genesis 15 that Yahweh makes promises and He guarantees them with His very life (try that, prognosticators!). The only area of doubt when God makes a promise lies on our end—the end that is fallen, sinful, and prone to wander into bad thinking about just about everything.

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Caving In

One rare but serious problem during a rainy-weather graveside services is the danger of a cave in. I know a funeral director who heard the rumblings of a cave-in and ordered everyone away from the tented area; a moment later the ground gave way! The reason the ground caved in is because the foundational soil had become too soft.

The term “cave-in” has become the up-to-date term for what we used to call “compromise.” It is a picturesque replacement and especially accurate. Compromise sometimes can be good thing, especially in relationships. Compromise is an art to develop (ideally before marriage). “Caving in,” however, implies making an improper concession because of pressure; we surrender a conviction, for example.

This kind of surrender is particularly bad when the conviction originates from a straightforward interpretation of Scripture. Sadly, many agenda-driven scholars work diligently to persuade us that the straightforward meaning of Scripture is not what is really intended. They are trying to pave the way so that we cave in with a clear conscience. Our answer must be, “Thanks, but no thanks!”

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