1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.
Genesis 16:1-4, NKJV
Our account today from Genesis 16 is a very sad account, but a very realistic one. God had promised Abram that He would give their land to Abram and his descendants. He also promised Abram that his descendants would be as the sand of the sea. There was only one problem. Abram and Sarai had no children. Sarai was unable to conceive.
As we are so often prone to do, Sarai took matters in her own hand. After all, she thought, if she gave her handmaid, Hagar, to Abram, then Hagar's child would become Sarai's child and God's promise could be fulfilled in that way. It sounded reasonable, but it was not God's plan. Instead, Sarai's plan created problems for both her and Abram as well as problems for their true descendants, the nation of Israel. To this day, there is warring among the descendants of Abram's two sons--the one conceived by Hagar and the one later conceived by Sarai.
This really addresses one of our most common problems that results in great sin in our own lives. How much do we trust God? God has promised to care for us. We are most happy to believe that when everything is going well for us, but what happens when problems arise?
Do you think this may be the very reason God allows great difficulties to come into our lives? What better way for us to learn to trust this God we love than to go through times of great trials and then to see God's faithful provisions to us. Though we understand that concept, it is not easy to have great faith in God when everything in our life seems to be falling apart.
There are two great problems in these verses. The first problem is the problem of Sarai determining her own way to solve God's problems. When we make major decisions, let us be careful to determine whether these decisions are just a result of our own lack of faith or our own covetousness, or whether our choices really do represent God's will.
The second problem in this passage is the problem of Abram. It does not seem as though he even thought to argue with Sarai. Though we know that Abram was a man of great faith, in this circumstance we see him as a man of great weakness. He, too, had given up on God and had determined to follow Sarai's suggestion in producing an heir.
When you think about it, these verses give us great hope. It is good that we see the weaknesses of Abram and Sarai for then we know that as God was patient in dealing with their weaknesses, so is He patient in dealing with ours.
In truth, we cannot mess up God's plans. Though we may fall into times of great weakness and lack of faith, God will embrace our returning to Him. He is ready to forgive! Often we learn more about faith and trust in God through our failures than we do from our successes.
Let us go forth this day trusting this great and wondrous God we serve. Amazing though it may be, He works His perfect will out through such weak people as we are. To God alone goes all of the honor, glory, and praise.
God Bless You,