Scripture Reading: Genesis 16:1-6
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. So, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’ Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” (Genesis 16:1,2)
One of the great temptations we face is to seek worldly solutions to spiritual issues. It is easy for Christians to be conditioned by the ways of the world. This almost always leads to compromising our spiritual values, and often these bad choices bear severe consequences. This was the case with Sarai and Abram.
Sarai was still barren in her old age. By all human calculation, the heir of the promise could not come through her. Sarai blamed God for her barrenness — “The Lord has kept me from having children.” When we stop trusting God, it is easy to blame Him and others for the difficulties we are facing.
Sarai offered Abram a solution from the custom of the Ancient Near East. If a couple was not able to have children naturally, the wife could give one of her servants to her husband. Just because this was an accepted custom did not make it the right thing to do. God had promised to Abram and Sarai that a descendant would come from their union. Both Sarai and Abram became weak in their faith and took matters into their own hands.
Abram, the man of faith, became the man of unbelief. Instead of walking by faith, Abram began to walk by sight and he got in serious trouble because of it.
Hagar conceived a child by Abram. When Hagar realized that she was pregnant, her attitude toward Sarai changed — “When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress” (v. 4b). The Hebrew word suggests the idea that she “looked with contempt” upon her mistress. Hagar may have thought that she had the upper hand now.
The situation caused tension between Sarai and Abram — “Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord Judge between you and me” (v. 5). Sin almost always produces tension between people. Often the effects of sin are multi-dimentional.
Abram yielded to Sara’s frustration — “Your servant is in your hands. Do with her whatever you think best” (v. 6). Sarai mistreated Hagar so badly that Hagar fled from her.
The problem is clear. Once the way of faith was abandoned and the ways of the world were adopted, the family was caught up in a continuing chain of cause and effect that troubled them for ages. Abram and Sarai failed to trust God. They did not wait on Him, but turned to the ways of the world. Waiting on God can be difficult; but failing to do so can be disastrous.
Lord God, I confess that I am an impatient person. Forgive me when I fail to wait on You and take matters into my own hands. Forgive me for turning to worldly solutions instead of being obedient to You. You are so patient and gracious with me. Let me learn from my past mistakes.
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