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Lenten Devotion for February 23, 2024 "The Way of God"

[Read Genesis 16: 1-6]

Somewhere in the bible it is written: “God helps those who help themselves.” Except it isn’t! In actuality, that quotation is taken from Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richards Almanac of 1757.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have had those words quoted to me as being scripture. The problem goes beyond the source of the quotation being extrabiblical; the premise itself is false. A more modern version of the same underlying theology is to make the “Lord is your copilot.”

Such statements ask God to bless and follow us. But God’s word says, If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25, CSB) The Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 6:13). Faith begins in promise and is experienced in faithfulness of action. God leads and we follow. This is where Sarai and Abram got off track. They believed the promise but then chose their own plan of action.

Sarai said, “’Since the LORD has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.’ And Abram agreed to what Sarai said” (Gen. 16:3). God’s promise was good:  Your offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. So, she devised a plan to make God’s promises come true. Sarai and Abram carried the plan out. But once Hagar was pregnant, she treated Sarai with contempt and Sarai became extremely jealous of her. Sarai badly mistreated Hagar until she finally ran away.

The way of God is never one of moral compromise. It never leaves us to devise our own schemes. Faith is not our making a plan and then asking God to bless it. Faith has us listen to God and follow Him.

You must follow the Lord your God and fear him. You must keep his commands and listen to him; you must worship him and remain faithful to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4, CSB)


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