articlesqa August 14, 2015 a sip to make you thirsty
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of
Some wa­ters just makes you more thirsty again.

So far we’ve walked back­ward from Gen­e­sis 16:8 and seen how Ha­gar found her­self in the desert. Let us move for­ward now from verse 1 to talk about Sarai and how she has more in com­mon with Ha­gar than we thought.

Dark­ness And The Desert

Gen­e­sis 16:1-2 gives us an in­tro­duc­tion into Sarai’s life. In fact verse 1 is in coun­ter­point to the the promise God made to Abram in Gen­e­sis 15:18-20. It would seem then that to have de­scen­dants, one must first have chil­dren. Sarai then con­cludes in verse 2, and maybe right­ly 1 Sam 1:5, that God had pre­vent­ed her from bear­ing chil­dren. The eng­lish word we have for Sarai’s con­di­tion is bar­ren­ness. Sarai feels like she is in a desert that is every bit as dry as the one Ha­gar lat­er found her­self in. In ad­di­tion, her hus­band has re­ceived a promise from God and maybe she felt that she was not do­ing her part to make it hap­pen.

Most of the time, as she lat­er re­vealed in Gen 21:6-7, it is pres­sure and stig­ma from cul­ture that makes us feel aban­doned. In the case of Sarai, she had triple pres­sure. She want­ed chil­dren and de­sired them and this was pres­sure enough. She also felt pres­sure from those around her be­cause they looked down on her for not hav­ing chil­dren. Fi­nal­ly though, she prob­a­bly also pres­sured her­self be­cause she want­ed to be of ser­vice in the ful­fill­ing of God’s promise. How of­ten this is the case for us? We want to do good and so bad­ly want to do even a nec­es­sary good but can­not. Some­times, it is be­cause the world re­stricts us and some­times it is be­cause God has re­strained us. But the rea­son is of­ten un­clear. All we know is that we have a dream, even a dream from God, and can­not bring it into re­al­i­ty. We feel bar­ren, child­less, in the desert and in the dark. This.

There is a dark­ness of evil we should run away from. You can rec­og­nize the dark­ness of evil by how it makes you want to do evil against what God says in the Bible. Yet in the mo­ments when all seems dark and we feel con­fused, let us re­mem­ber that there is a dark­ness that must come be­fore cre­ation Gen 1:1-3 and the same dark­ness that must come be­fore covenant Gen 15:12, Deut 5:22, Ex­o­dus 24:15, Matt 27:45-46 be­cause this Holy dark­ness is where the Lord dwells 2 Chron­i­cles 6:1-2. God is not evil since He is light and no dark­ness dwells in Him 1 John 1:5. He re­veals every­thing yet He Him­self can­not be seen. Our minds can­not ful­ly com­pre­hend Him and so He ap­pears dark. Our eyes can­not see Him and so He is In­vis­i­ble (bi­o­log­i­cal­ly this is how vi­sion works by the way, you can’t see what your brain can­not in­ter­pret). We can only re­late to Him by hear­ing His Word and by pray­ing to Him in love and faith.

Sarai By The Well

So far, as we can see, be­ing in the desert, is not nec­es­sar­i­ly a bad thing. Sarai is wait­ing for God to show up and make every­thing bloom. But the Lord seems a long way off, even In­vis­i­ble, and oth­er springs do ap­pear in the desert every now and then. And so through very cul­tur­al eyes, she sees Ha­gar, her maid, as the clear so­lu­tion, the wa­ter that will quench her thirst and have her chil­dren Gen 16:2. Sarai is not the first to think this way. Saul thought this way 1 Sam 13:6-10 when his peo­ple were un­der at­tack. Nadab and Abi­hu did the same Lev 10:1-2 and died for it. Pe­ter of­ten and re­peat­ed­ly did the same Matthew 16:22-23, John 18:10-11, 17, 25-26, 21:3 when he felt de­spair con­cern­ing his Je­sus.

In each case, there is trou­ble or pres­sure or a dream to be ful­filled and in each case there are peo­ple who see a so­lu­tion and grab it. The ques­tion I of­ten wish I would stop and ask God is this: How big is the desert and is this spring, this so­lu­tion that I see enough to make it bloom? It is not so much the ques­tion or the an­swer that mat­ters but that I turn to God and ask Him. To Sarai, Ha­gar ap­peared to be a so­lu­tion. But how can Ha­gar, a hu­man be­ing who could not even pro­vide for her­self, hu­man­ly be the so­lu­tion for a prob­lem as deep as an un­ful­filled promise from God? And yet Sarai sees a so­lu­tion, a spring named Ha­gar, and drinks her dry so that Ha­gar found her­self in the desert right be­side Sarai. Can we be sur­prised that Ha­gar came to re­sent and look down upon Sarai? Sarai’s bar­ren­ness, in­stead of be­ing re­solved, be­came dou­ble. Not only was she child­less, Ha­gar her maid now threat­ened to usurp her po­si­tion as Abram’s wife.

This is what al­ways hap­pens when we try to make oth­er peo­ple the so­lu­tion to our prob­lems. We sud­den­ly re­al­ize that these so­lu­tions to our prob­lems are hu­man be­ings that are al­ready in­ca­pable of pro­vid­ing for them­selves. How could we ex­pect them to be an over­flow­ing spring for us? Even if they should pro­duce some­thing sim­i­lar to a so­lu­tion, there then comes a risk for pride and re­sent­ment from them. This pride in turn pro­duces a fear in us be­cause some­one we asked for help could now come in and run away with our dream. Its all a big mess. But we do it all the time. Ask your­self: how many times you have thought that this per­son or that boyfriend or that girl­friend will be the so­lu­tion to ful­fill your deep God giv­en needs? How many times have I thought that mon­ey, or a job or a lo­ca­tion will solve my prob­lems? Maybe if I can just achieve that dream, every­thing will be okay. Ask your­self: how of­ten dis­ap­point­ment and mis­trust re­places the ini­tial thank­ful­ness you felt to­wards the friend whom you thought would be the so­lu­tion to your prob­lem?

The Fate Of Usurpers

This is not to say that God doesn’t use peo­ple to an­swer our prayers. In fact, He uses peo­ple to help us ALL THE TIME. But we’re sup­posed to trust in God first and then al­low Him to re­veal and lead us to who­ev­er He has cho­sen to be our help. In­stead, Sarai chose a so­lu­tion that seemed clear and skipped over God just like I of­ten find my­self do­ing. All the while Abram was silent. Let’s be clear here. Sarai’s bar­ren­ness was pur­pose­ful­ly cre­at­ed by God. There are needs in us, empti­ness­es and bar­renessess, that God has pur­pose­ful­ly cre­at­ed for Him­self to come and oc­cu­py and fill. These emp­ty spaces are huge and in­fi­nite be­cause God is in­fi­nite and huge. Try­ing to stretch some­one, or some­thing small and lim­it­ed into fill­ing such a space is cru­el and fu­tile. In them lies the same empti­ness that lies in me which they have not been able to fill!

Oh the per­son will try and try and when they fail, like Ha­gar, they will of­ten come to hate me and I, like Sarai, will come to hate them be­cause I tried to make them king or queen over a space they could nev­er gov­ern. What­ev­er and who­ev­er, I choose to be my so­lu­tion en­ters into my empti­ness with me and they will fail if the Almighty God is not work­ing through them 1 Kings 17:8-9. Not only do they have their own desert to deal with but as soon I make them the so­lu­tion to my prob­lems, they also sud­den­ly have my own desert to wa­ter. In a rec­i­p­ro­cal man­ner, I too en­ter into their desert as well and if I could not pro­vide wa­ter for my­self, will I not be­come to them an ex­tra bur­den 1 Kings 17:10-12? Only the bless­ing of the Almighty God can make was not enough for one more than enough for many 1 Kings 17:13-16, Matt 14:17-21. But how can He bless or cor­rect what I have not in­volved Him in? He’s too Hum­ble to force Him­self where He’s not want­ed and yet, and yet, He is too Mer­ci­ful to watch me die of thirst.

Where Faith Blooms Best

Sarai uses Ha­gar as a so­lu­tion, as the well to quench her thirst, but with­out God they both walked away even more thirsty than be­fore. Ha­gar finds her­self alone in the wilder­ness by an un­re­li­able spring and Sarai finds her­self alone with her bar­ren­ness and the cold fear of los­ing a silent hus­band. No one can ever com­plete me ex­cept for God. He will use oth­er peo­ple and oth­er things but they can only be His ser­vants af­ter I have made Him Lord. Ha­gar’s flight into the wilder­ness is an out­ward ex­pres­sion of Sarai’s in­ner life. Ha­gar seemed to Sarai, like the spring in the wilder­ness and so Sarai fled from the bar­ren­ness cre­at­ed by God to find a so­lu­tion in Ha­gar. What did Sarai find by her cul­tur­al, ra­tio­nal spring? She found con­tempt and pride and fear.

God used Ha­gar’s con­tempt to ask Sarai Gen 16:8, “Where are you com­ing from and where are you go­ing?” Sarai fled from the bar­ren­ness which God had or­dained for the cre­ation of faith to a place com­plete­ly bar­ren of faith. She did not know that faith (es­tab­lish­ing God as your Lord) must come first be­fore any child, any dream is born. And so, Sarai fled and fled un­til the scorn of Ha­gar be­came to her a bar­ri­er like the desert of Shur. Hav­ing met the bar­ri­er, Sarai was forced to re­pent like Ha­gar did and re­turn and sub­mit her­self to her Lord God. When every­one else failed her, she had to rely again on the promise of the Lord in her life and al­low her faith to flower where it blooms best: in the bar­ren place.

Faith is a desert rose, a rose of Sharon Song of Songs 2:1-2. She is the beau­ti­ful flower and she is the only oa­sis in the bar­ren places. To­day, the Lord asks you, asks me, “Where are you com­ing from and where are you go­ing?” From what are you flee­ing? Is the desert just up ahead, a place where God’s Pres­ence is ab­sent, bet­ter than than the weak­ness and faith be­hind you? For whichev­er wa­ter you rely on that is not from God will run out and you will be­come thirsty again but who­ev­er be­lieves will have wa­ter that wells up with­in him to eter­nal life and out of her will flow rivers of liv­ing wa­ter for all around her John 4:14, 7:38.

As is usu­al­ly the case, some­one has al­ready said most of the above bet­ter and in a 6 minute song no less. En­joy and maybe weep.

Hear This!

Lyrics // Heavy
I have needs, I can­not deny them
I was made to want these things
I will stay if you can sup­ply them
If you can’t, I’ll trade my ring
For a fa­ther who loves me enough
To pro­vide what he’s made me to love
It’s very good, you said so your­self
Then you put it so high on the shelf
But I can al­most taste it

So I try to make light of things I can’t deny are so heavy
Whose weight is so great that your body is crushed un­der­neath
Yet I stand on your grave and I claim I am tall and I’m steady
But tell the truth I’m bound to fall on you

It is fruit for which I am reach­ing
It’s sim­ple sup­ply and de­mand
If it’s ab­sti­nence that you’re preach­ing
Then you’ll have to slap my hand
And then say that it’s best for me
But tonight I just don’t be­lieve
There are things I’ll take at your word
But there are bridges I’m will­ing to burn
Once the toll is tak­en

So I try to make light of things I can’t deny are so heavy
Whose weight is so great that your body is crushed un­der­neath
Yet I stand on your grave and I claim I am tall and I’m steady
But tell the truth I’m bound to fall on you

I have wait­ed long enough
I have wait­ed long enough
I have wait­ed long enough
I have wait­ed long enough

So I try to make light of things I can’t deny are so heavy
Whose weight is so great that your body is crushed un­der­neath
Yet I stand on your grave and I claim I am tall and I’m steady
But tell the truth I’m bound to fall on you
To fall on you

When I was younger, I re­mem­ber one time specif­i­cal­ly that I got in trou­ble while I was be­ing babysat. I was a prod­uct of 1990’s car­toons and want­ed to see if slip­ping on a ba­nana peel ac­tu­al­ly worked. I put one by my sis­ter when she was prac­tic­ing her bal­let and she stepped on it and fell. I quick­ly ran to my room and hid un­der my cov­ers. I promise I was not laugh­ing. My babysit­ter at the time came into my room and start­ed say­ing loud­ly, “Where is Kearsten?”. I thought I was so clever to avoid her wrath and pun­ish­ment by hid­ing. Look­ing back on it now, she was call­ing me out and but she knew where I was the...
hide and seekApril 12, 2018
My broth­er, my sis­ter, these mat­ters I lay be­fore you are dif­fi­cult for me to write about. When I be­gan to write, I did not ex­pect to find my­self at the foun­da­tions of the world. Were I a bet­ter writer, I might more eas­i­ly lay be­fore you the foun­da­tion of the world so that you might eas­i­ly see why all her ed­i­fices are van­i­ty, al­ready lost in the wind. So if you find my words and ideas dif­fi­cult, do not be dis­cour­aged. Go and read the Bible and be­lieve God. At best, and I have not reached it, all I can do is ex­pound on His Word. There­fore, the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle laid be­fore you two foun­da­tions. One Is Th...
the goodness of godFebruary 27, 2020
In our first ar­ti­cle we ex­plored the fa­cade of false ide­olo­gies and showed that they wear shrouds of false new­ness wo­ven from threads of false es­cha­tol­ogy. The sec­ond ar­ti­cle ex­posed the false val­u­a­tion of men and women that lies at the heart of every every false ide­ol­o­gy. 1 False new­ness, 2 false es­cha­tol­ogy and 3 false val­u­a­tion can only be seen as false when we shine His Word upon the ide­ol­o­gy. These are but the leaves of the weed. It is also by His Word that we know there are roots we must still de­mol­ish. As we pro­ceed, you will ob­serve more and more that His Word Chal­lenges us con­cern­ing things ...
the genealogy of morals, a di-lemmaFebruary 17, 2020

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3