Open your bibles or your bible app to Genesis Chapter 16 and hold on! This is where the story starts to get good!
Overview: Sarai, Abram’s wife, has been unable to have children. She gets this bright idea and goes to her husband Abram and tells him that she’s going to give him her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar, for him to have a child with. Abram is old – I’m sure this young Egyptian woman is beautiful – so I’m guessing it didn’t take Sarai much convincing. And just as Sarai had planned, Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child. And after it happened, Sarai despised Hagar. And then she got mad at Abram! She and Abram argued, and Abram said, “You can have her back as your maid, do as you please.” So Hagar went from being with Abram, back to Sarai’s maid. Sarai treated Hagar harsh (the bible doesn’t say it, but I’m sure out of jealousy. This young, beautiful woman was pregnant with her husbands child. A child Sarai didn’t think she would ever be able to give Abram.) Because Sarai was being so harsh, Hagar fled. An angel of the Lord found Hagar by a spring of water in the wilderness and asked her where she came from and where she was going? Hagar told him she was fleeing from Sarai.
The angel tells Hagar to go back to Sarai and submit to her. He tells her that her descendants will be multiplied exceedingly – so much so they will be hard to count. He went on to read her mail … he told her that she was pregnant with a child. That it would be a boy and she should name him Ishmael, Because the Lord has seen her affliction. He said he would be a wild man; His hand would be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. He said he would dwell in the place of his brethren. Hagar called the name of the angel who spoke to her, You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” The well she met the angel at was then called Beer Lahai Roi, and it was located between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar went back and bore Abram a son, and Abram named his son Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishamel.
Lessons from today’s scripture:
- It was common in this day and time for a wife who was barren to give her maidservant to her husband to have children, and then she would raise those children as her own. Women who could not have children were often shamed by those around them. Abram was not acting out of line in this day and time BUT his action showed a lack of faith that God would fulfill his promise. How often do we try to “Help” God with his promises to us and end up making things worse instead of waiting on His perfect timing?
- Sarai took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar to Abram. She had trouble believing the promise God had given them. Out of this lack of faith came a series of problems. This inevitably happens when we decide we’re going to take over for God trying to make HIS promise come true through efforts that are not in line with his specific directions. In this case, time was the greatest test of Abram and Sarai’s willingness to let God work in their lives. Sometimes we must simply wait. When we ask God for something and have to wait, we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God’s plans. I see this most often in single people who desire a partner so badly that they will take the wrong person and try to convince themselves it’s who God has for them, instead of waiting on the one God does have for them. I see strong Christian women who get lonely, get tired of waiting, and date someone they know deep down is not right for them. They are not equally yoked – the red flags are there but ignored – and they try to force this into God’s will. It usually doesn’t end well, often in heartache and pain. The good news is, God is there to take that broken and make it beautiful when we submit entirely to Him.
- Sarai is the one who arranged for Hagar to have Abram’s child. But she later got angry and blamed Abram for the results. How often do we strike out in frustration at someone else for something we caused instead of admitting we made a mistake and asking for forgiveness?
- Sarai was angry with Abram, but she took it out on Hagar. She dealt so harshly with her that she ran away. Anger, especially when it arises from our own shortcomings, can be dangerous.
- Hagar was running away from her mistress and her problems. The angel of the Lord told her to go back. Likely so she could get proper care and help and resolve the issue. Running away from our problems rarely helps solve them. As painful as it can be, we should face them and work for resolve.
- In the future chapters is where it gets REALLY good and gave me so much hope when I read it! Here we see 3 people who make big mistakes -(1) Sarai takes matters into her own hands instead of waiting on God and makes a huge mess! (2) Abram goes along with the plan, but when things go awry, refused to help solve the problem and just gives Hagar back to Sarai to do with what she pleased (3) Hagar ran away from the problem. BUT in spite of ALL this mess – God still works all things out for their good. Sarai and Abram eventually get a son of their own – and Hagar’s problem was solved despite Abram’s refusal to get involved. No problem is too complicated for God when we are willing to surrender and let Him help us.
Here’s to a beautifully blessed Thursday my friends! Another week has flown by! Here where I live the weather has been absolutely amazing! I hope you are taking the time, wherever you are, to stop and just look around at all the beauty God has given us! It’s just a little glimpse of the heaven we will one day see.
**Some notes taken from the Life Application Study bible