We have seen this real deep caring concern and passion within the heart and mind and ministry of Paul, as we make our way through Galatians Chapter 4, as he learned of those who had an experience of Jesus Christ - and who had tasted something of the power of the Holy Spirit - and he is seeing them on the verge of falling away.
They had been misled - duped - deceived. They were changing sides - and almost becoming an enemy of Paul - and so becoming an enemy of the Cross.
This is more than just circumcision creeping in - legalism. This is more than just sitting at separate tables - more than Jewish tables and Gentile tables - and more than beginning to keep certain days. It all causes much pain in this pastor's heart, and God reveals all of this to us. He is carrying a burden – and these burdens are mentioned in other letters too.
Verse 19 - Paul wanted to see Jesus Christ being formed in them. He was looking for a maturity in Christ, developing and growing, and becoming more and more obvious.
What he saw concerned him, and perplexed his heart. Similar things continue to upset pastor's hearts today when such issues arise.
Paul asks them - "What do you want? Do you really know what you are asking for? Are you aware of what you are saying? Are you aware of what you are wanting?" Some people in churches have no idea of what they are really wanting and looking for.
Paul goes on to teach them and explain what is involved in what they are asking for.
He preaches in his letter from Genesis Chapter 16. Two sons were born - one by a slave girl - and the other by Sarah - Ishmael and Isaac were born.
Abraham had been told by God - "You will have a son". Now his wife Sarah was well past child bearing age. Sarah suggested to her husband how a son might be born. Use the Egyptian slave girl, Hagar.
They tried to help God out. It was as if they saw God had a problem, and they decided to help God out - always a dangerous thing to do. It usually ends in disaster.
We know that what happened is the cause of much of the trouble we are facing in the world today. Ishmael who became and is the recognised father of the Arabs was born. The Arabs trace their ancestry back to Abraham through Ishmael
God promises to bless through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As we go through these verses we see something of the battle - Babylon, Baghdad and Jerusalem - the Arab nations and the Hebrew people. They can never come together. They are half brothers who can never come together except through being born again - by coming to faith in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit - and thereby becoming sons of God.
Ishmael was born in the normal way.
Isaac was conceived and born as the result of a promise of God.
Paul goes on to explain to these disciples of Jesus Christ what this means, and we need to know the meaning and significance of this. These verses are currently relevant.
We are actually dealing with danger and disaster of the present ‘Middle East’ situation. Only Almighty God will be able to resolve this dilemma and He will do it through Jesus Christ, the Saviour, the Lord, the King of the Jews.
We learn something in this section of Galatians which we can learn nowhere else.
“Lord Jesus, teach us from the Scriptures so that we might not only shine and witness for You, but understand something of what is going on around us.” Amen.
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