Weekly Thought – September 11, 2023
Fred hosted an informal gathering each Saturday for 3 years in his daughter’s home where he and Mary Alice lived in their latter days. Because he was in a hospital-style bed, the chairs were placed all around it. There were mornings when more than 30 jammed into the bedroom, and down the hall to hear him share what he had been thinking about during the week’s dialysis treatments. It became affectionately known as “Fred in the Bed.” Two devoted, faithful attendees were Donna Skell and JoyLynn Hailey Reed. They collaborated on a collection of notes from these sessions in 2004 and 2005.
One week he shared observations he had been making during the week on Genesis 16. Here are the points he made. These are simply notes taken and not from an edited manuscript therefore, the points are not fleshed out. This gives you a flavor of Fred in the Bed.
Looking at Genesis 16
As I look at the scripture, specifically Genesis 16, I see 9 meaningful principles. There is much more and we will look at them another week. For right now here is a start. Bring your thoughts and we will continue to “search the scriptures” as the faithful Bereans did.
1) Don’t manufacture a way of doing what God should do – God’s timing is never off. Don’t confuse what you can do and what only God can do. Sarah tired of trusting God’s promise and tried to help Him as if He had forgotten, or run out of time.
2) Don’t be irresponsible – Abraham should not have gone along with Sarah. His wife was in conflict with truth. Abraham also struggled between self-preservation and the truth. Ex: Abraham passed off Sarah as his sister; Hagar was a gift from the Egyptian pharaoh – she was part of his harem.
3) Don’t use another human as an object. When Abraham allowed this to happen with Hagar he was neglecting his responsibility.
4) Abraham’s actions with Hagar diminished his fellowship with God. Abraham went 13 years without hearing from God. He built walls from his circumstances.
5) Hagar’s pregnancy created hatred for Sarah. Her position as mother of Abraham’s son put enmity between Sarah and Hagar. Sin is not new. Will Menninger of the Menninger Clinic says sin is still her except we have renamed it as sickness. The desire to hurt others cannot be renamed – it is sin.
6) We must always leave room in the process for God’s intervention. Chambers says you dedicate your work to God and be willing to do what He tells you to do… in other words, give Him permission to intervene.
7) Hagar said “may the Lord judge between you and me.” The person who says that usually feels right and justified for whatever actions they are taking.
8) Hagar was haughty because Abraham backed her up. Sarah saw her as property, not as a woman with an intimate relationship with her husband. She failed to see the implications of their intimacy. Sex outside of marriage, even when culturally allowed, has negative implications.
9) The fight between Arabs and Jews began in chapter 16. Those two sons: Ishmael and Isaac were the beginning of the ongoing conflict. We also see that there were two sons: one born by process (Ishmael) and one born by promise (Isaac).
This week think about: 1) What principles do I see in Genesis 16? 2) What can I learn from Fred about ways to study? 3) If I were sitting around the room at Fred in the Bed, what question would I ask?
Words of Wisdom: “We are not to treat people as objects.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NET Bible)