I had a hard time this week. This was a chapter that tripped me up and made me realize once again that I don’t have all of the answers. Eventually I boiled it down to one word.
Authority. It can be a tough word to deal with can’t it? The human side of us likes to rebel a little, to have things our way. Bucking authority is inborn in us. I mean, how often have you watched a one-year-old, who doesn’t even know moral right from wrong yet, balk at a nap? A two-year-old use the word “no”? We like autonomy and making decisions for ourselves, don’t we?
And how much worse when it’s an authority that has wronged us or that places us in a bad position? Look at Genesis 16. Sarai and Abram take matters into their own hands an pull Hagar into the mix. God promised them He’d give Abram descendants and even said it would be through Sarai, but somewhere along the way, they decided they knew better. The immediate result? A woman is forced into the desert with her son, presumably to die. The long result? An ever-escalating war that we still fight today. Interesting though, that God doesn’t give Hagar a pass. As she sits in the desert waiting to die, He delivers a message to her.
Genesis 16:9 (GW)–The Messenger of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your owner, and place yourself under her authority.”
I’m not knowledgeable enough to go into the whole Islam thing here, so I won’t even begin to comment. But can we look at authority here? God had her go back and submit to Sarai, who had mistreated her? Why? We don’t know for sure, but God certainly had His reasons. The thing is, He knows what He’s doing, and sometimes, He has us submit to an authority that we don’t like.
I have to confess, I’m not for sure I like this verse. I don’t have all of the answers about it. But I do know it is there for a reason. Even Jesus talks later about submitting to authority over us. Why does God have us submit sometimes and step out at other times? Because He sees the bigger picture.
The key is walking close enough to Him to hear His voice when He speaks. Maybe that’s the take-away from this one. After all, God is our ultimate authority, not man. And the core of it all is being obedient to Him.
Even when it’s hard.
Even when it makes no sense.
Anyone else struggling with the chapter this week?