In her desperation to give Abram an heir, Sarai decided to ‘help’ God by giving Hagar to Abram. Sarai had no idea as to what kind of scab she was making by her actions. Once Hagar was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai. (Gen. 16:4)
In picking scabs, Sarai begins to blame Abram for her suffering, even though SHE is the one who told Abram to sleep with her maidservant. Not only that, she begins to mistreat Hagar. How many times have we done something that we shouldn’t have, only to end up taking out our frustrations on those around us?
About thirteen years later, God speaks His promise to Abram regarding the covenant to be a father of many nations. God even changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah. Later, we see where the three men come to visit Abraham, telling him that Sarah will give birth to a son in about a year. As we read about the birth of Isaac, it appears that maybe Sarah’s scabs have healed….Well, maybe not. In Gen. 21:9, we see where Sarah observes Ishmael mocking Isaac. She quickly orders Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. In picking her scab, I wonder if Sarah realized what kind of pain she was bringing upon Abraham. (Gen. 21:11)
If we look at the story of Esau and Jacob, we see more scabs. For starters, in Gen. 25:28, we see where Isaac loved Esau, and Rebecca loved Jacob. I can see problems already. Can you imagine how your household would be if you chose to love one child more than the others, and your husband chose to love a different child more than the others? There would be so much strife between husband and wife, not to mention the jealousy between the children. Bickering would be an everyday occurrence in the home. I can picture the children always competing to have the upper hand.
Looking back to our story, that is exactly what happened. Esau comes home from having been outside for quite some time, feeling famished. Jacob has some stew, and he is even willing to share it with Esau……for a price. The scab is being picked again.
In Gen. 27, we see where Rebekah connives and manipulates to get the blessing of the firstborn for her favorite son. She succeeds, but the thrill of conquering is short-lived. The scab is so infected now that Jacob has to flee for his life, and he never sees his dear mother again. What good is it if a man gains the whole world and loses his soul? In their pursuit to have it all, Jacob and Rebekah lost each other. Some wounds never heal.
Our final example of one who was guilty of picking scabs is Martha. I use her as an example because there are many times when we are just like her. Martha is frantically working in the kitchen, trying to prepare a feast for Jesus. She is distracted by the many preparations, but she is also distracted in her thoughts, thinking about how Mary has left her to do all the work, while she is just sitting at the feet of Jesus, doing nothing. I’ll bet she had all kinds of thoughts going through her mind.
“That lazy sister of mine has done it again — leaving all of the work to me.”
“I have never felt so ‘taken for granted’ in all of my life!”
“My sister is so undependable! Just when I need her the most, she leaves me!”
“Mary may help for a while, but once there’s a man around, forget it! She darts off to work her female charm.”
“I’ve had it! Enough of this! I’m going to have Jesus put her in her place, and tell her to get in here and help me.”
How many times do we listen to our negative self-talk while we are busily working around the house, at our job, or even serving in the church?
Martha has done what many of us do — she has equated serving the Master with communing with the Master. In the process, she’s gotten the wrong focus, and now she’s picking scabs.
Martha is expecting to have Jesus put Mary in her place for doing nothing but just sitting there. What Martha hears is something else. Jesus is putting Martha in HER place! He defends Mary’s choice to do nothing, but sit at His feet, saying that Mary has made the best choice, and He isn’t going to take it from her.
Do you need to sit quietly before Jesus, doing nothing, and let Him tend to all the scabs you’ve been picking?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller