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. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 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."
Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
Genesis 16:1-2b, 4-6, New International Version
Usually when we study this portion of Scripture, our focus is on Abraham and Sarah, but, in keeping with our "What is in a Word" devotions we will concentrate on Sarah's servant, Hagar. In our culture, it is hard for us to associate with Hagar, especially in the events that occurred in Genesis 16.
God had promised Abraham a descendant through Sarah; as Sarah was advancing in years she considered the impossibility of her being able to bear any children for Abraham. So, Sarah developed a plan. Abraham could have a child through Hagar, her servant. This child, then, would belong to Sarah.
Nothing ever seems to work out exactly as planned; such was the case for Sarah. When Hagar became pregnant, she exalted herself. After all, she was able to do what Sarah could not; she was able to produce a child with Abraham. Sarah was not prepared for the jealousy that she would feel toward her servant. When Sarah confronted Abraham, blaming all of this on him, he gave Sarah permission to do whatever she pleased with Hagar.
In all of this, Hagar was just a tool in the hands of Sarah. Being mistreated by Sarah, Hagar ran into the desert where she was approached by an angel of God. The angel assured her that God had heard of her misery; she would bear a son whom she was to name, Ishmael.
How do we react when things do not seem to go the way we have planned? We know that God is in control of everything, and yet it seems that sometimes He makes a mistake! Of course, we know that is not true. Can we then, like Hagar, submit to the will of the Lord, even if it means misery for us?
We, like Hagar, are servants. God, our King, orders our lives according to His will. We cannot possibly see the future and know how God will bring a blessing from events in our lives. But, we know that we have one purpose here on earth, and that is to submit our lives totally to Him. We have the assurance, that our home is in heaven above; this earthly dwelling is just a temporary home for us.
I encourage you this day to remember Hagar, and to remember, also, that you, as a Christian, are a servant of God. If things do not seem to go the way you have planned, understand that, as a friend of mine used to say, "God does not run his train on our track."
God Bless You,