Genesis 16:1-6

September 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.

This week, we begin to look at the source of some of the biggest problems in scripture as well as today’s time. But first, let’s recap.

Abram has left his homeland, he’s traveled to a new land following the command of a God that he didn’t know. He stayed in Egypt during a famine until Pharaoh kicked him out for saying that his wife was his sister. He left Egypt with servants, animals, and money. Lot also came away with many things. As they returned to their home, a conflict broke out between the herdsmen of Lot and Abram. Space was getting tight and Abram let Lot choose where he wanted to live (even though Abram could have taken the choice due to being the older one). Lot chose the well watered valley of Sodom. When Lot departed, God spoke again to Abram and expanded on His promise. After a time, word came to Abram that Lot and his family had been captured during the war between 4 kings and 5 kings. Taking 318 men with him, Abram defeated the 4 kings and saved the 5 kings and their people. He didn’t take anything of the spoils and broke bread with Melchizedek, giving him a tenth of everything. God again speaks to Abram about His promise and tells Abram to cut animals in half, laying the halves opposite each other. Then, Abram falls asleep about evening time and has a terrible dream. In this dream, God speaks to him, telling him that what will happen to his descendants. Then, a torch and oven pass through the animal parts and God makes a covenant, swearing by Himself because there is nothing higher.

We know that Abram had his heirs on his mind because that is what he asked God about at the beginning of chapter 15 before God made the covenant with him. Here, we see the impatience of man mixed with doubt and the results of it all. God had promised Abram that Sarai would bear him a son, but nothing had happened in ten years. Abram was now 85 years old and the promise of an heir had yet to be fulfilled. Because of their desire to have children, Sarai decided that her maid Hagar should be a surrogate wife to Abram. She would bear the child that they couldn’t have and so bring about God’s promise. I think that it is intriguing to say the least at how Sarai looks at the situation. She blames God (rightly, but still blaming) for her inability to bear children. Sound familiar? “The woman You gave me caused me to eat of the fruit..” She tells Abram to go in to her maid and bear a child with her so that she might have a descendant. This is what she told Abram to do. It is also another tie in to Genesis 3. If you’ll recall, God told the woman that she would want to be in her husband’s position. She would want to call the shots and lead the family. Here, that’s exactly what she’s doing. I can only imagine how many days Abram had heard Sarai talk about how she didn’t have a child, like God had promised. I’m sure that Abram thought about it too. So, just like Adam, Abram listened to the voice of his wife, to do something other than what the Lord said. Now, I’m not saying that wives are like this or tearing them down. I’m only drawing similarities between the events of Adam and Eve’s lives and those of Abram and Sarai.

Ultimately, Abram goes in to Hagar and she conceives. The result of this union starts off on the wrong foot. Not only should Abram NOT have gone in to her because she wasn’t his wife, he shouldn’t have done so because it wasn’t something that God asked them to do. Then, when Hagar conceives, she instantly gets prideful and sees herself above her master’s wife. She no longer sees herself as Sarai’s maid. She sees herself above her actual position. And Sarai’s reaction could be the same thing that any one of us has done in the past week. Things didn’t go the way that she had hoped, so Sarai blamed everyone but herself. It was her idea for Abram to go in to Hagar, but when things go south, she blames him and says that the wrong done to her should be on him. Could it be that Sarai thought that Abram would see Hagar more favorably because she had born him a child? We don’t know, but it’s possible. Abram leaves Hagar in Sarai’s hands, where she’s always been. As the master of the pregnant maid, Sarai treats Hagar harshly and causes her to flee from them.

Now, let me ask: Where do you see yourself in this? Are you Abram? Or Sarai? Or maybe Hagar? Maybe you’ve tried to plan your life the way that you want it? You’ve come up with intricate plans of how things are going to be and then done everything that you could to assure that they would come to pass. Maybe you’ve tried to keep the peace and gone along with something that you knew was wrong just so that conflict would be avoided. Or, maybe you’re the one that was used in someone else’s plan? Regardless of where you may be in this passage, it is important that you stop, step out of what’s going on, and see yourself as God sees you. If you’ve been born again, then you are His regardless of what’s going on. You are of value to Him. If you’re not born-again, then you are not His in the specific sense. You are seen by God as a son of disobedience on whom His wrath abides. His judgment weighs on you and will be fulfilled in you unless you repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ. If you fail to do this, the Bible says that you will spend eternity in hell to satisfy the justice of God. If, however, you will recognize your sin, repent, and put your faith in Christ to save you from God’s wrath; the Bible says that you are born-again. God will give you new desires and you can have assurance that when you die, you will go to heaven; not because of what you did, but because of what Christ did.

What will you do?

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