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Sovereign Over All
(September 29, 2004)

      By Fern Horst

"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants." (Galatians 4:22-24)

As I read these verses from Galatians today, they stood out to me in a new way. I've often thought about the choice Abraham made to have a child with Hagar as his attempt to run ahead of God and to fulfill God's promise his own way. It's not difficult to see the heartache that resulted from his choice to have a child by Hagar, rather than waiting for the son God promised through Sarah.

But here in Galatians, Paul (through the Holy Spirit's inspiration), wrote about the message God has for us through the symbolism of these two sons. While it seems that Abraham ran ahead of God, it seems evident that God had a purpose even for this choice that Abraham made, and it shows the awesome sovereignty of the God we serve.

It is through these two women and their sons that we see the difference between the two covenants: the one from the Old Testament and the one from the New. Ishmael, Abraham's son through Hagar the bondwoman, represents the old covenant of bondage to sin because of an impossible requirement of adherence to the Law. But Isaac, Abraham's son through Sarah the freewoman, represents the new covenant of freedom from sin because of Christ's sacrifice and payment on our behalf.

It's exciting to see how God uses our choices - even the ones that cause untold heartache - for His glory and to further His Kingdom. Before today, I always thought of Abraham's choice as completely disastrous. But it wasn't. God was able to use the whole situation as an allegory to show us His wonderful plan of redemption.

Is there a choice you've made in the past that seems unredeemable, that from all appearances has resulted only in pain and destruction? Take heart. You can't change that choice that you made in the past. But you can take hope in the fact that God in His sovereignty and redemptiveness can use it for His glory and to further His Kingdom. Ask His forgiveness, if it was a sinful choice, and place it all in His hands to use as He sees fit.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

© 2004 Purposeful Singleness
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