A Little Sin
If you find yourself caught in traffic on I-74 between Indianapolis, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio; I encourage you to avoid the gridlock and drive through the picturesque town of Greensburg, Indiana. In the heart of the city is the town hall and its one-hundred-foot tall tower. Once you see it, you will most likely pull off the road to add a photo of once in life-time shots.
In 1870 the residences noticed a sprig of an Aspen tree had grown inside the tower structure. Not thinking the sprig would live long, they ignored it. Before long, the citizens saw the four more sprigs appeared inside the tower. In 1888 a steeple-jack was hired to rid the building of the tree. But he was unable to remove the tree from within the tower without damaging the structure. The Aspen had become one with the tower. For over one-hundred and thirty years an Aspen has been growing out the top of the town hall’s one-hundred-foot tower. That tiny sprig has forever impacted the town that ignored its presence.
In Genesis, God promises Abram and Sarai that they would have a child and that he will be the Father of a great nation. “To your offspring, I give this land.” While Abraham is a man of great faith; the purpose of this devotional is to focus on his small sprouts of sin that will last live long past Abrahams’s one-hundred and seventy-five years on earth.
In Genesis chapter twelve, Abraham went into Egypt and out of fear for his own life, lies and said Sarai is his sister, not his wife. When Pharoah sees beautiful Sarai, he wants her for his wife. Pharoah gives Abram sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and male and female servants, in hopes to wed Sarai. What a mess a “little lie created.” If God had not sent a plague to protect her, what would Abram have done? When Pharoah became fearful of God’s wrath and that Abraham had deceived him, Pharoah could not wait to get Abram out of Egypt. It was Abram’s “little lie” that placed a destructive sprout in Israel in the form of a female servant, Hagar.
When you read Genesis sixteen this week, you know that in Sarai and Abram’s impatience, they rushed past God and tried to hurry the birth of their promised child.
“ Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 7 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. 12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
When God told them to wait, that He would give them a son, Sarai and Abraham disobeyed by doing things their way. A lie had given them Hagar, and disobedience would produce Ismael. You may think, “big deal.” But look closely at history. From Ismael comes the Islamic religion, the on-going strife in the Middle East and the Islamic hatred for Christians and Jews. So many years. So many generations. So much blood-shed. All because of “a little sin.”
What can we learn from a little sprig in a town hall tower, a small lie and a little disobedience? If we ignore our “little sins,” they can root and grown into our lives until we are inseparable from the consequences. God, please weed out the “little sins” in my life!