When Promises Seem Far Away——

Abraham’s Journey of Faith Message No.9



《创世记》Genesis 16:1-6



Satan often tempts us with a very subtle strategy撒但用的诡计(来)试探我们的时候非常的微妙:he even knows how to quote from the《Bible》他甚至乎知道怎么引用《圣经》的经文的。Here,everything seems so reasonable 在这里我们看到他讲的的是合情合理的;Abram’s desire is to see God’s purposes fulfilled亚伯兰只不过想要看到上帝的计划实现出来而已嘛。After all,God has identified Abram as the father of the heir(《Genesis》15)上帝已向亚伯兰启示,后裔必是他亚伯兰亲生的——(《创世记》)Chapter15第十五章),but has not yet revealed that Sarai must be the mother但还没有启示说,必须是撒莱所生就是了。Plus,taking a concubine was socially acceptable而娶妾当时在社会上是可以被接纳的;however it was a shortcut可是这个是个捷径——Very reasonable非常合理,but shortcut 但是是走捷径。

Satan offers Jesus three shortcuts魔鬼给耶稣建议三条的捷径(《马太福音》4:3-10):(1)Turn stones into bread将石头变为饼、变为面包;(2)Jump from the pinnacle of the temple从圣殿的高处跳下来;(3)And worship Satan himself最后是拜撒但。Jesus has the right to be King anyway,so why do not now耶稣早晚都会作王啊!为什麽不现在就做呢?But what was really the issue at stake但是问题的症结在哪里?The issue was Jesus’Messiahship and his mission问题是关乎耶稣作弥赛亚的身份和弥赛亚的使命。Or put in another way,he stands to lose his Messiahship and to ruin his mission换言之,耶稣是不是要弃权不作弥赛亚、不实行弥赛亚的使命呢?

So again,Satan’s proposals all seem so reasonable对我们来看,魔鬼的建议往往合情合理:But when we give in但是当我们降服下来,give in to sinful plan跟从犯罪的计划的时候,it doesn’t take us to where we want to go我们会(被)带到一个不可思议的、我们也不想看到的结局。

After all,what will be the best for Sarai——what is in her best interest其实究竟什么才算是撒莱的…对撒莱最有益的道路呢?It will be to follow Abram——her husband,to keep to the rule of God’s law最有益的就是跟从亚伯兰她的丈夫——跟从丈夫、顺服上帝的命令;and not be guided by her foolish plan而不跟从自己愚蠢的计划。

Brothers and sisters弟兄姐妹,what is really in your best interest究竟什么才算是对你对我最有益处的道路呢?It is to wait on God’s time乃是等候上帝,等候上帝的时间来到;do God’s will 遵行他的旨意;follow God’s way走在上帝的道路中。


Waiting for God’s time is difficult work等候上帝的时间来到是很辛苦的、是苦差。We so often want instant gratification我们往往想要马上就满足我们的欲望。But God is not in a hurry但是我们的上帝并不匆忙;now God is not slow我们的上帝也不迟钝——他会延迟he’s not slow,but he is not in a hurry上帝不延迟,但是他(也)不匆忙。

Let’s look at Abram and Sarai again我们再来看亚伯兰跟撒莱:

[1]They(Abram and Sarai)were weary他们(亚伯兰和撒莱)厌倦了:They have been living in the land approximately ten years他们住在应许之地已经十年了。

[2]And they want to rush things a little bit他们在想:可否走得快一点呢?They became impatient开始失去忍耐了。

[3]They distrusted God他们不再信靠上帝。This is dangerous这个是很危险的!

Brothers and sisters弟兄姐妹,how often do we face the same temptation我们多少时候也面对同样的试探呢:

[1]We are eager to see how events will unfold for us我们很想知道,我们的事情会怎么样发展下去。

[2]We are anxious to see the way ahead for our lives我们想要知道我们前面的道路。We want to see God’s will for us tomorrow我们想要知道“明天”上帝在我们身上的旨意是什么。

[3]We want to see all our obstacles removed now我们想今天就初去所有的障碍:

[4]We want to see our goals fullfilled我们想看到自己的目标现在就实现——Good goals:goals concerning marriage婚姻的目标、family家庭的目标、career事业的目标、health健康的目标。We want to see our goals fullfilled now我们想今天就看到自己的目标就实现。

[5]We even want to see God’s purposes fulfilled,like Abram我们甚至乎想要看到上帝的计划实现——Very good goals很好的目标;but not God’s time但是不是上帝的时间。

Will that be true for Chinese Reformed Folk华人的改革宗弟兄姐妹会不会是这样子呢?We want to see something happen and realize我们想要看到一些事情实现——very good goals很好的目标,may even God’s purpose甚至乎可能是上帝的计划;but we can not wait但是我们不能等待。

We need to watch out我们需要提防、警醒:

[1]Can we detect our flesh working我们是否能够察觉到自己的血气在发作?Can we detect the fleshly wisdom in us我们能不能够看到这里面有一些属血气的、属肉体的所谓智慧?And we following the  worldly wisdom我们是不是在跟从世界上的智慧——pragmatism实用主义and other worldly ideas和其他一些世界上的概念呢?

[2]And can we see what is really motivates us我们有没有看到我们心里面真正的动机是什么?What is our greatest desire我们心里面最大的愿望是什么:Sometimes our desires are turned…good desires、good goals,but our desires are turned in an entirely wrong direction可能我们的目标是对的,但是我们心里面的愿望往往搞错了方向。No wonder God doesn’t see fit to grant us our desires难怪上帝不听我们的祷告!We can so easily deceive ourselves我们很容易自己欺骗自己的——Refer to Epistle《James》 Chapter 4我们参考《雅各书》第四章,verse 2 & 3第2和第3节。

We need to continue to wait for God’s timing我们来,继续等候上帝的时间。And for some of us,we need help对我们很多人来说,我们可能需要帮忙、帮助。Abram,they don’t have much help——this is very early on the history of salvation亚伯兰没有太多的人能够帮助他——这个是救赎历史里面早期。Today we have a church,brothers and sisters今天我们有教会,有弟兄姐妹can help us to check on our hearts我们有弟兄姐妹、教会来帮助我们察验我们的内心的——Gave a sin the four perspectives on sin and temptation好,我们看到试探跟犯罪四方面的观点角度。

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We see pride我们看到骄傲、jealousy妒忌、reproach彼此责怪、and broken relationships破裂的关係。This happens all too common这种事情太常发生了:Sin brings on more sin犯罪的话就带来更多的犯罪;and also sin brings on trouble罪也带来各种的麻烦的。

Let’s look at the response made by each person我们来看每一个人的回应:

[1]First of all HagarShe began pregnant 、she became proud她怀孕了,她就骄傲了。She no longer submits to her mistress她不再顺服她的女主人了she became proud她骄傲起来了。Perhaps she feels that Abram now loves her more可能她感觉到亚伯兰现在更爱她了,or even God loves her more甚至乎可能上天现在更爱她了。

[2]Sarai撒莱呢?She feels despised,maybe jealous她感觉到被轻视了,可能妒忌。And then she has these fits(29:44) of passion她心里面激动起来了。

[a]She even rashly appeals to God她甚至乎搞到去上帝那里去投诉:Brothers and sisters弟兄姐妹,so often,those who cry the loudest in prayer are not in the right往往,祷告最大声的,并不等于是对的。Now passions are on the throne因为现在信徒不讲理了!

[b] So Sarai Makes Hagar’s life miserable撒莱就开始虐待夏甲了。

[c]And(Sarai)Blamed Abram(撒莱)也责怪亚伯兰。

[3]Abram亚伯兰:What about Abram亚伯兰呢?He washes his hands in the whole business他洗手不理。The responsibility is Sarai’s责任归在撒莱的身上了!——verse6(《创世记》第十六章)6节。So sin makes us lose our spiritual sensitivity犯罪让我们往往失去属灵的敏感度和分辨能力。

[4]Finaly we go for Hagar最后我们再来看夏甲,finaly we look at Hagar again我们最后再看一次夏甲She sees conflict她看到家里有冲突,she runs away逃跑了。

Let’s do a preliminary analysis here我们来做一个初步的分析,we will continue with the chapter for the next message我们下一讲会继续讲第十六章的。Brothers and sisters:We are all sinners弟兄姐妹,我们都是罪人。That very often we are all “sinned against.”但是很多时候我们也是受害者——别人在我们身上犯罪的。But God is the fairly God and just 但是上帝是公平的、上帝是公义的。He makes us suffer under the hands of those people whom we encouraged to sin有时候,我们鼓励别人犯罪、促使别人犯罪;上帝就让我们在这些人的手下受苦。And it is righteous that God makes those whom we made instruments of our sin,instruments of our trouble上帝这样作是公义的:我们成为别人犯罪的途径…对不起,我们让别人成为我们犯罪的途径,因此他们就成为我们受苦的途径。How did God deal with Abram上帝怎么对待亚伯兰?How did God deal with Sarai上帝怎么对待撒莱?How did God deal with Hagar上帝又怎么样对待夏甲?


[1]God sees上帝鉴察:God sees everyone上帝看见每一个人。God sees everything上帝看见每一个动作、每一件事。Nothing escape God没有什么东西能够逃过上帝的。

[2]God is merciful上帝是怜悯的:Now you need to see a little big picture here我们又看到一幅比较大一点点的图画,this is what I see我看到圣经这样说的,Chapter16(《创世记》)第十六章:God is merciful to Hagar上帝怜悯夏甲的;Chapter17 God is merciful to Abram——great mercy(《创世记》)第十七章上帝大大地怜悯亚伯兰;Chapter18 God shows his mercy on Sarai(《创世记》)十八章上帝怜悯撒莱。God’s purposes are still gracious and merciful上帝的计划仍然是充满着恩典跟怜悯的。

[3]God is just上帝是公义的:Or should we say God is humorous 或者我们可以说上帝还有一点幽默感:He did not stop Abram and Sarai in their sinful project祂没有拦阻亚伯兰跟撒莱实现他们的计划;and immediate results follow sin人犯罪马上带来一些的后果的。

What’s a less for us to learn我们要学什么功课呢?If we suffer,the problem come after we sin当我们犯罪之后受苦、当我们犯罪之后问题来到的时候;don’t blame God不要责怪上帝。There is a certain earthly justice to the consequences of sin犯罪会带来一些后果,是有它的道理的、是公义的。

[4]God is wise and God is holy上帝是智慧的,是圣洁的:God doesn’t change his plan上帝不改变祂的计划。God does not lower his standards上帝并不会降低祂的标准的!

[5]Finaly God is faithful最好第五方面上帝是信实的:He simply moves on in proceeds to fulfill his purpose祂就是继续前进、实现祂的计划的。In this full process he shows his mercy、his justice、his wisdom and so on在这一切一切的过程中,他显明他是充满着怜悯的、公义的、智慧的、圣洁等等。


[1]Watch out! Take heed我们要警惕、要提防!Watch out for our flesh要提防,看看自己的血气是不是在发作;watch out to see what Satan is doing警惕,看看撒但在做什么;watch out to see what is certain ideas are the worldly wisdom我们要警惕,看看我们有些的念头是不是世界上的智慧。

[2]Wait on God等候上帝。Wait for God to change the present circumstances等候上帝来改变现状;wait for him to execute justice or to dispense mercy等候上帝来施行报应或者执行公义,等候上帝来施行怜悯。

[3]Meanwhile grow in our faith、in our obedience to God与此同时,在信心上我们现在就要长进、在顺服上继续地成长——through the means of grace使用‘恩具’:meeting to the word of God and pray透过上帝的话、透过祷告,and worship和敬拜。Learn from Jesus’obedience耶稣基督顺服;我们要学习祂的榜样。He knows if  the Father’s time has not arrived假如父的时间还没有到——他知道的还没有到;he waited他等候,he obeyed他顺服。   Let’s learn from this example我们要学习基督的榜样

But let us also appropriate Christ’s obedience耶稣基督的顺服为我们带来‘义’的,because his obedience and righteousness让我们来领受祂的‘义’。God will fulfill his good purpose in his good time上帝会按照他美好的时间实现他美好的计划。And his good plan of purpose is always a wise plan而他的美好的计划一定是最智慧的。We very often say God’s way is the best way我们常常说上帝的道路是最好的道路。I’d rather say God’s way is the wisest way我宁愿是说上帝的计划是最智慧的计划——wait for us to appreciate等侯我们来体会。

Let’s pray together我们来祷告:Father,we are grateful that you are such a God to us感谢上帝你是如此一位的上帝!Fair and just;holy and wise but gracious also to us谢谢你是公义智慧的神;同时也是怜悯子民的神。Forgive us for so often rushing ahead of your schedule求主怜悯我们、赦免我们往往跑在你的时间表的前面。And we ask you gradually to teach us to wait慢慢的,求神逐步地教我们学习等待。Teach us how to discern fleshly thinking求主你帮助我们去分辨属血气的思考,so that we can take heed好叫我们懂得怎么警惕、提防。Holy Spirit please do your good work in our hearts圣灵,求主在我们心里面行你的善工,and we will appreciate (forward39:40)我们这样子感谢赞美你的!In Jesus’s name we pray我们这样祷告,是奉主耶稣、救主的名求。阿们!

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