Genesis 16

Genesis 16 has another situation where people take matters into their own hands rather than waiting on God.  Sarai, Abram’s wife, “had borne him no children”.  Time seemed to be running out.  She was getting old as was her hubby.  So she decides to fix the childless situation her own way.  “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her”.  That wasn’t God’s plan.  He hadn’t given that direction.  He had just promised Abram that he would father a mighty nation too numerous to count.

And now, we see another situation of a lack of strong leadership.  Eve came to Adam with a bad idea and he caved in and ate the apple against God’s instruction.  Sarai comes to Abram with a bad idea and “Abram listened to the voice of Sarai”.  He didn’t listen to God’s promise.  He listened to the voice that seemed right but was wrong.  Temptation always seem like the right thing to do.  It makes sense and appeals to our earthly ways.  But the reality is that when we fail to walk in obedience, temptation always costs us dearly.

Abram “went to Hagar and she conceived”.  Of course, even though it was Sarai’s idea, once that happened and Hagar “looked with contempt on her mistress”, it became Abram’s fault.  This was pretty predictable, but Abram fell for it hook, line and sinker.  Sarai comes complaining to him and he basically washes his hands of it and tells her “your servant is in your power, do to her as you please”.  So she does.  Sarai chases Hagar out of the area by dealing harshly with her and Hagar runs away.

The angel of the Lord comes to her and says “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael”.  Hagar will bear Abram’s first son – not the one God had promised – but one that will nonetheless become father to a multitude.  The angel gives Hagar some tough instruction – “return to your mistress and submit to her”.  Even though this pregnancy was not God’s plan, it now becomes part of God’s plan.  And that means Hagar stays with Abram and Sarai and bears the son Ishmael.  Abram is 86 when this birth happens.

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