Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Download MP3 (right click to save)
It actually starts while men are still boys, "I'll beat you!" It's that innate desire in a male to compete, to conquer, to win. A girl is a conquest, a game is a conquest, a career or a business is a conquest. In Spanish, men were called conquistadors! Give them a challenge in their field or in their interest area, and they will work hard to conquer it. Now, that's the good news. The bad news is that these conquerors retreat when the challenge happens to be in a relationship.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When Conquerors Wimp Out."
Our word for today from the Word of God, Genesis chapter 16, and I'll begin reading at verse 1. Abraham and Sarah, who are called Abram and Sarai, (their names had not yet been changed) are impatient, because the baby hasn't come that God promised. "Now, Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children.'" Isn't it interesting how the Lord always gets blamed for things that He really didn't do. "Go sleep with my maidservant." Say what?
Well, in their culture, it was sort of okay if you didn't have a baby to have a surrogate mother. In this case, she picks her maidservant. "Perhaps I can build a family through her" she says. I should say it was okay in that culture. Nobody said it was okay with God. Listen to this part, "Abram agreed to what Sarai said." Once again I go, "Say what?" "So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress, and Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.'" Wait, that's curious isn't it? "I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me."
Now, notice how Abram steps up to leadership. "Your servant is in your hands, Dear. Do with her whatever you think best." Great! "Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her." This is amazing! Abraham has been a conqueror! He launched out into a pagan country by faith, he's fought for his nephew, Lot. He built a fortune, but he wimps out when it comes to family leadership. He should have said, "This is wrong! I'll handle this." Instead, he does what a lot of men do. When it comes to conflict, when it comes to confrontation, he retreats.
See, the family is the ultimate test of manhood; not the football field, not the battlefield. Abram wanted to avoid confronting the issue, to avoid conflict. And man, did he get conflict. He got war between these two women eventually. This is so typical of us men. We have the courage to conquer, but not to confront. And all the tragedy, all the war that has come from Ishmael and Isaac - could that have been avoided if he had just said, "It's wrong. I'll handle it"?
You see him trying to avoid a problem, and He creates a much bigger one: a bitter wife, an untamed son, God's silence for 13 years, centuries of conflict. Listen, if you're a man, it's not an accident you happened to tune in today. God's saying, "In your close relationships don't be afraid to confront. Don't put things off until there's a crisis. You're just creating a bigger crisis."
See, it takes yielding to the Lordship of Christ to change in this area. Ask God for the courage to confront, even when you're young, even when you're single. Deal with issues while they're small. Face the conflict; don't try to bury it.
When a conqueror on the battlefront learns to be a confronter on the home front, then he's really being a man.