Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sunday Sermon, August 11th -- Abraham's Faith, Sarah and Hagar (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

In Hebrews 11, St Paul presets Abraham as a model of faith. Abraham received God's threefold promise of a land, many descendants, and that through his descendant a blessing would be given to all the nations (this is the promise of a Messiah). Abraham heard and believed.

However, there is a rather troubling moment in Abraham's life in which he takes his wife's servant as his "wife" and begets a child with her. How is this not an act of adultery against Sarah? How is Abraham's begetting of Ishmael through Hagar not a lack of faith in God's promise?

We must maintain that Abraham is no adulterer, neither did he lack faith. Indeed, if we follow this passage of Genesis closely, keeping in mind the culture in which Abraham lived and the progressive degrees whereby God restored marriage to its original dignity, we will see that Abraham and Sarah did nothing wrong in this incident - neither did Abraham in any way doubt God's plan.

God had promised Abraham would have many children, but he had not yet specified through Sarah, therefore, it was entirely reasonable that Abraham would have thought it would be through his wife's servant. Further, Abraham is a model husband who is so good to his wife, and it was not considered adultery for him to take Hagar as a second wife (furthermore, he did not do this out of lust, but following the customs of the time by which a man might increase his family). Certainly, this is not God's plan for marriage and it immediately caused all sorts of problems for Abraham and Sarah, but it would be unjust to accuse Abraham of sin.

Listen online [here]!


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