Sarai Tries to Help God Out
January 12 - Nº 12 Genesis 16
Ten years had passed since God had promised Abram and Sarai they would have a son—an heir through whom God would begin a new nation. They weren’t getting any younger. Discouraged and disillusioned, Sarai decided it was time to help God with the details. One of the many “possessions” they had acquired as they were escorted out of Egypt was a slave girl who became Sarai’s personal assistant. “Maybe Hagar could conceive a baby with Abram, and then he and I could raise the child as our own,” Sarai reasoned. This form of substitute childbearing was considered an acceptable way to deal with infertility in the culture they had left behind in Mesopotamia. But was it God’s way? Instead of asking for God’s wisdom and approval, Abram went along with Sarai’s plan, and soon Hagar became pregnant. This changed everything. Hagar grew arrogant. She no longer submitted to Sarai’s authority. Why should she? She was the one carrying Abram’s baby. Surely, he would take care of her, too. And when her son grew up, he would be Abram’s wealthy heir. She no longer felt the need to please Sarai. Sarai’s pride was hurt. She was upset that she could not get pregnant. Obviously, the problem was with her since Hagar had conceived so easily with Abram. But she was also angry with her husband for sleeping with a slave girl—even though it was her own plan. Abram was unsure how to handle the volatile situation between these two important women in his life. He passed the buck back to Sarai giving her permission to solve the issue however she wanted. It didn’t take long for Sarai to show Hagar who was really in charge. Her mistreatment caused Hagar to flee in fear. An “angel of the Lord” (possibly another referral to Jesus), found her near a spring on the desert road leading back to Egypt. Addressing her as Sarai’s slave, he asked her where she had come from and where she was going. Although Hagar had no problem acknowledging her past, she clearly had no idea what to expect in the future. But God did. The angel informed her that she would give birth to a son named Ishmael (meaning God hears). He would be a wild and reckless fighter who would never get along with his brothers. From him would come more descendants than anyone could ever count. But for this to take place, Hagar had to return to Sarai and submit to her authority. She did return, her son was born, and the angel’s prediction came true. Ishmael became the ancestor of all the Arab nations, and Isaac (the future son of Sarai) became the forerunner of the Jews. Abram’s decision to follow Sarai’s advice without seeking God’s approval had grave consequences. He became the father of two sons—instead of one. From these two sons came two separate nations, and their sibling rivalry has dominated all of history. It continues to devastate our world today.
Are you tired of waiting for God to do something about a particular situation? Are you tempted to try to “help Him out?” Don’t forget: God has a plan. He can and will accomplish it when the timing is perfect. Our “help” will only hinder.