Reading the Green
“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23 NIV)
We’ve examined truth and Eve and discipline and Cain. Today we focus on Abram and wisdom.
Reading the green takes many factors into account: slope, the speed of the green, the grain of the grass. Green conditions and experience aid the golfer in lining up his putt. We often take the same approach to spiritual shots: logic, facts, conditions, experience. Yet God offers a decision-making aid of a higher level—wisdom. Wisdom is God’s perspective on a matter. It provides a new level of expertise and takes His master plan into consideration. It’s like having the course designer as caddie.
Let’s examine Abram and how he played a particular shot, God’s promise of a son. Genesis 12 relates God’s calling of Abram and his travels to Canaan. God told him, “To your offspring I will give this land.” Ten years later, God reaffirmed, “. . . a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” Abram believed and it was credited to him as righteousness..
Enter Sarai. Ten years have passed for her too and her arms are still empty:
“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. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”(Genesis 16: 1-2NIV)
Not only did Abram miss the putt, the son God had promised, he ended up in the rough, and, boy, did things get rough:
- When Hagar becomes pregnant, troubles erupts in Abram’s once peaceful household. (Genesis 16: 4, 5)
- Ishmael was born and was prophesied to “live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (Genesis 16: 11, 12)
- There is no record of God speaking to Abram for the next thirteen years.
So what caused Abram’s putt to break? Abram never consulted God regarding His preferred method of fulfilling the promise. Abram relied on common sense and the cultural norms of the day to make his decision. Offering a servant to a husband to enlarge the family was common and seemed logical to Abram in the face of Sarai’s barrenness. It was not, however, God’s plan. At the proper time, God fulfilled His promise to Abram and Sarai with Isaac. The conflict between Ishmael and Isaac began almost immediately and affects the entire world today.
God’s perspective—His wisdom—is a must to hole the putt.
Lessons on the Green:
1) When has common sense resulted in poor decision-making?
2) How do cultural norms differ from God’s wisdom?
3) When have you sought God’s wisdom? What were the results?
4) How do you seek God’s perspective when you have a decision to make? How long do you give the process? How do you know when you have an answer?
5) How do the results differ from Questions 1 and 2? Do you feel differently after making the decision?