"Neither Give Place to the Devil" (continued)
So in spite of all that God had done in and through Sarah and Abraham, they still yielded to their natural man when they came in contact with the Philistines. And this is because the Philistines being agents of the antichrist spirit were religious in nature; and because Sarah and Abraham desired that Ishmael live before God, because they desired that which they had produced out of themselves should be a part of God's purpose, the religiousness of their natural man was overcome by the antichrist spirit of the Philistines.
There is a solemn warning about this in Revelation 13:7, "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." Revelation 13:4 tells us it was the dragon, "that old serpent, called the devil, and satan," that gave power unto the beast, that gave power unto that which is antichrist; remember, this power is a limited power, for only God is Omnipotent, all-powerful. This limited power that satan gave to that which was antichrist was to be used to make war with the saints (the redeemed) and to overcome them. Now how was the beast to overcome the saints? He could not take away their salvation, for only those "whose names are not written in the book of Life of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world" shall worship the beast. We have also seen that he cannot take away from that which God has brought forth of Christ in the lives of the saints. So how does that which is antichrist overcome the saints? There is only one way. Only as we yield to the natural man does that which is antichrist had the ground it needs. But God is faithful, and just as He did with Abraham and Sarah, He will place us in a situation where only the reality of that Which Christ Is, and that Which He Accomplished, will get us through.
It seems that Sarah was the first to realize that Ishmael could not live before God as "The Seed," and she began to realize this when, "by faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life" (Hebrews 11:11). So Sarah bore Abraham a son exactly at God's "set time." Then, as she watched Isaac grow, she knew that "in Isaac" was the Seed - the "Seed, Which Is Christ." She began to realize that she and Abraham had allowed the desires of their natural man to mix into the things of God; and she came to know that only that which the Lord produced could be this promised Seed. Galatians 4:22 tells us that Abraham had two sons, one born after the flesh, and one born after the Spirit; and "he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit".
When Sarah came to understand these things, this time she submitted unto the Lord, not unto Abraham's natural man; and she told Abraham that Ishmael must go. This was grievous to Abraham, but God told him to listen to Sarah, and Abraham, obeyed God. Sarah had learned that she could be a vessel for "The Seed" of promise; but she had also leaned that she and Abraham could not, out of themselves, produce that which was of God. Sarah learned this "through faith," which means she became wholly dependent upon the Lord through the work of the Cross in her life.
(continued with # 42)