Reading through the story of Abraham in Genesis has brought me into a deep truth. There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death. Think about it for a minute. Abraham was given a promise from God. He seemed to be taking too long to fulfill it so Sarah and Abraham use their human reasoning powers to hatch a plan. Sarah had an Egyptian handmaiden named Hagar, so she tells Abraham to go into her to have a child. I guess she thought, well, maybe that’s how God is going to fulfill His promise. Of course for those that know the story, you know this wasn’t the way God had in mind and it hasn’t turned out well for the world since. While the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar is sufficient on a surface level to teach us plenty, it has come to my attention there is quite a deeper lesson here.
The book of proverbs describes for us two women, the Wisdom of God and the harlot of natural reasoning. James teaches us mere human wisdom is earthly, natural and even demonic. In the story of Abraham we can clearly tell which is which can’t we? Although Sarah is the one to suggest Hagar to her husband, in the end she represents the wisdom of God and Hagar is the harlot. You see Sarah was the means by which God was going to bring forth the child of promise not Hagar.
According to the Galatians letter these two women represented two covenants. Hagar was a slave representing the Old Covenant and slavery to religion, the flesh, the Law and so on. Sarah, on the other hand, represented the New Covenant, grace and freedom. In other words Hagar was an earthy woman representing earthly, natural, demonic wisdom. Sarah represented the wisdom of God because she was going to be the one by which God brought forth the child of promise but it was through no help from her, seeing how her womb was barren. You see it seemed right to Abraham that Hagar might be the way God fulfilled His promise, but natural reasoning can never produce the life God intends.
If you think back with me a bit you’ll see that the choice between these two women, or wisdom’s, started in the Garden which were represented by the two trees. On the one hand the tree of Life, or the Wisdom of God, and on the other the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or earthly, natural reasoning, and we know the choice Adam made don’t we?
Ever since that fateful decision in the Garden, mankind has struggled to walk in God’s Wisdom. Mankind has fallen so far Paul said, “their god is their belly” and others have said they are like “unreasoning animals” (2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10).
It’s humorous in a way because my first reading in the Bible after I was born again was 1 Corinthians, and in it I immediately read how “the natural man cannot know the things of God because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). But God does in fact reveal things to us by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10). Even though these are some of the very first verses I learned it has still taken me 14 years to see this in the way I see it today. There is so much deception and blindness that came with the fall of man. Although God can reveal the truth to us in a flash, it may take years for us to really see. I thank God He never stops pulling the blinders off and as long we don’t let natural reasoning overrun God’s wisdom, we will see Him as He really is, and we will know even as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
The following three brief videos explore the idea of Christians and whether or not they are Biblically called to self examination. Take a few minutes to view and let me know what you think.