Archive for June 17th, 2011

Genesis 16

Genesis 16 is a lot like some of the soap opera’s we can see on TV today.  Abram has a short memory. God has just finished telling him he would bear a son to carry on his lineage – but for a second time we see a man fail to do what is right and listens to some bad advice from his wife and make a big mistake.  Sarai tells Abram to “go in to my servant….that I shall obtain children by her”.  Sarai sees a problem – she is barren – she has a servant – she wants a child as much as Abram so she decides to take things into her own hands and try to manipulate the outcome.  So she tells Abram to sleep with Hagar and he does.  Of course most men probably wouldn’t resist that kind of instruction – after all – we are usually a little stupid when it comes to the sexual area of our lives.  But God had just told Abram to trust him – so it is a bit hard to understand why he follows Sarai’s advice.

Of course Hagar gets pregnant and has a son – and when Sarai goes to her – problem #2 occurs.  Hagar realizes she is the blessed one now carrying Abrams son – and she shows contempt on Sarai.  So what did she expect?  This is somewhat predictable too.  That causes stress with Abram and Sarai says “May the wrong done to me be on you”.  After all Abram – you should have known this was a bad plan and not followed my direction.  So Sarai lets him have it and Abram says “your servant is in your power; do to her as you please”.  Not my problem he says – so he puts it back on Sarai to deal with her as she wishes and she does – she “dealt harshly with her” so Hagar has to flee.

Hagar is out in the wild and “the angel of the Lord found her”.  God does seek us – He pursues us when wherever we are.  The angel comes to Hagar and tells her to “Return to your mistress and submit to her”.  That is a pretty tough pill to swallow.  But the angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude”.  So the angel assures her that her son will be the foundation of many and she was to call him Ismael.  God saw her affliction and came to her aid.  But His instruction was to get back under the authority of her master – even when that didn’t seem so simple.  God’s ways are always right – even when they may seem strange to our human understanding. 

Hagar returns and bears a son and they name him Ismael.  She realized that she had “seen Him who looks after me”.  Hagar experienced God’s love and protection.  The decisions of this chapter have had ongoing effects that remain today.  Sarai and Abram did what seemed right in their mind and created a conflict that will likely last for all of the time man is on this planet.  Adam and Eve did the same – and created a legacy of hard work and pain.  We see a second time of this in Sarai and Abram.  Ishmael is born when Abram is 86 years old.  We want to keep that number in mind as we continue to walk though Abram’s life.  God is faithful – but patience is often required.

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