In Genesis 16, Abram once again shows that though he is the father of faith, he still makes mistakes and has doubts.
It is always a bad idea to try to accomplish God’s plan in your own way and your own timing. God’s plans come complete with His methods and His timing, and when we try to tinker with that, it messes everything up.
In 1 Samuel 13, the Israelites are going to war with the Philistines. They gather together and wait for Samuel to show up to make a burnt offering to God. But Samuel doesn’t come. They wait. They wait. Every day they wait increases the chance that the Philistines will attack, and Israel doesn’t want to go to war without worshipping God. Samuel said he would come within seven days, but seven days pass, and Samuel doesn’t come. So King Saul takes matters in his own hands. He figures that anybody can slaughter a bull and set it on fire, so this is what Saul did. But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as Saul does this, Samuel shows up. He says to Saul, “What have you done? You have acted foolishly. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not continue.” That’s not good news for a man who has only been king for one year (1 Sam. 13:1). But that is what happens when we try to rush God.
David, who followed King Saul, was exactly the opposite. God told David through the prophet Samuel, that he would be king after Saul. And time and time again, David had plenty of opportunity to kill Saul and take the throne. But David wanted God’s plan carried out in God’s way according to God’s timing. This is one of the reasons David was a man after God’s own heart.
As we come to Genesis 16, we see Abram, the father of faith, trying to rush God’s plan. God has promised to Abram land and a family, and so far, Abram has received neither. So in Genesis 16, Abram tries to provide a family for himself rather than trust and wait on God.
16:1. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.
As we saw back in Genesis 12, Hagar, since she was Egyptian, might have come from the Pharaoh in Egypt when he gave servants and possessions to Abram. Looking back, it might have been better for Abram to turn down these gifts just as he turned down the offer from the King of Sodom. For here, the wealth he received from the Pharaoh becomes a stumbling block to him.
Genesis 16:2. 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.”
If we look at the times God has promised a son to Abram, there is one thing noticeably absent from all of those promises. Though God had promised Abram a son, God had never included Sarai in that promise. God never said that Abram would have a son through Sarai, only that Abram would have a son.
Sometimes God does not give us all the information we think we need to follow Him. Sometimes, He only tells us what He is going to do; not how He is going to do it. Abram and Sarai find themselves in such a situation, and Sarai, realizing that she is barren, comes up with an alternate way to carry out God’s plan. God had promised Abram a son. Sarai knew how much this meant to her husband, and knew that Abram was beginning to wonder if God would keep his promise. And so it dawned on her one day, that maybe the son could come through someone else. Maybe the problem was her. So she looked around at the surrounding people of Canaan, and saw what they did. When a man was unable to have a son with his wife, he would take another wife for himself. If she was unable to have children, he would take another wife. It was always considered to be the woman’s fault, not the man’s. Sarai undoubtedly did not relish the idea of Abram taking another wife. She knew that in the beginning, in Eden, God planned for one man to be married for life to one woman. Sarai knew this, and yet she also knew that Abram needed to have a son. Since she wasn’t able to provide one for him, and since Abram couldn’t take a second wife and remain obedient to God, Saria came up with an alternate plan. She had a beautiful servant from Egypt named Hagar. She was young, she was pretty, she was loyal, and best of all, she was a servant.
In those days, the men of the household would often sleep with not only their wives, but also with the female servants of their household. If children were born to these servants, most often these children became servants as well. But once in a while, especially if a boy was born to the servant, the head of the household could adopt the servant boy and make him his own son. This is apparently what Sarai has in mind. She says to Abram in verse 2, go into my maid,; perhaps I shall obtain children by her. It seems like the perfect solution to help God out.
And at the end of Genesis 16:2, we have a very interesting statement. It says, And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Sarai comes up with a plan for how they can accomplish God’s will, and goes and tells Abram about it, and Abram follows her lead. Where have we seen this sort of thing happen before? In the Garden of Eden. Eve is deceived by the serpent into thinking that God is holding back from them. That God has something more for them, but God isn’t giving it to them right now, and so they should just take it. So she goes to her husband and presents her plan to him and they eat the fruit.
Ladies, you must allow your husband to be the spiritual head of the household. You must allow him to make the spiritual decisions. And men, you must step up to the plate to make them. Your wife wants you to lead, and you were made to lead, but if you forsake your responsibility in leading her, disaster most often results. It happened with Adam and Eve. It’s happening here with Abram and Sarai.
It happens later with Moses and Zipporah. In Exodus 4, God calls Moses to go to Egypt and rescue the people of Israel. Moses goes, but on the way, God comes to kill him. We don’t know all the details, but God was upset with Moses for not circumcising his son. We do not know whether Moses simply didn’t do what God wanted, or Zipporah persuaded Moses to not hurt her son by circumcising him. But either way, Moses neglected his duty to be the spiritual leader of the household, and he almost lost his life as a result.
Men, you must disciple your wives. You must train your children. You are the spiritual leader in the home, and your wife and children desperately need you to lead them in this way. How? At the bare minimum, be in the Bible every day, asking God to teach you something. Do not stop reading and studying up until you learn something. Then, when you do, go and teach your wife and your children what you have learned. This is the simplest and easiest way for you to begin to fulfil your God given responsibility as a husband and father. Abram was not being this for Sarai, and so he follows her advice to go in and sleep with Hagar.
Genesis 16:3-4. 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. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.
So at first, things seem to work out just fine. Everything went according to plan. Hagar conceived just as Sarai wanted. But, as with all sin, there were unexpected, negative consequences. Hagar began to despise Sarai. In those days, it was always seen as a curse to be barren, and so now that Hagar had conceived by Abram, there was proof that Sarai was barren. Hagar probably thought that since she had conceived, she was better than Sarai. Sarai probably went through this whole thought process as well. Aside from the mental turmoil she went through of having her husband sleep with another woman, she now must deal with the emotional anguish of feeling cursed by God, and despised by her servant. Her plan worked, but not quite as Sarai had imagined.
But that’s the way sin is. It makes great promises, but never tells you about the drawbacks. Sin is like those medication commercials you see on television. The thirty second commercial spends two seconds telling you what benefit this new miracle drug will have for you, and then the next twenty-eight seconds explaining all the negative side effects including death, diarrhea, vomiting, heart attack, and grass growing out of your ears. The only difference between these commercials and sin, is that sin never tells you what the negative side effects are until after you’ve committed the sin. Then it says, “Oh yeah, here’s the fine print I forgot to tell you about. You got what you wanted, but your life is now going to be miserable. Enjoy!”
Another negative consequence of Abram’s and Sarai’s sin is seen in verse 5. There is now marital strife.
Genesis 16:5. Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.”
In effect, Sarai is saying to Abram, “Why did you listen to me? You should have known better to go and sleep with that woman. Now look what has happened.” And you know, she is kind of right. Abram should have known better. He is the one who was always talking with God. He knew what was right and what was wrong. He knew, deep down, that God had intended the son to come not only through him, but also through his wife Sarai. So when Sarai says in verse 5, “My wrong be upon you!” she is right. Though she implanted the idea in his mind, it was he who sinned, and he who should have known better. Abram cannot blame Sarai even as Adam tried to blame Eve.
And you know, even though Eve did sin first, and even though Sarai did tempt Abram to this sin, I am of the persuasion that God holds the husband at fault for the sins of the wife. Maybe not completely, because she has her own will and makes her own decisions, but I am convinced that to one degree or another, God holds the husband accountable for the actions, behavior and decisions of the wife.
Gary Smalley wrote in one of his books that “If a couple has been married for more than five years, any persistent disharmony in their marriage is usually attributable to the husband’s lack of understanding and applying genuine love.” He goes on to say, “After five years of marriage if a husband has failed to understand or seek help for the major causes of disharmony, either he doesn’t understand what genuine love is, or has chosen to ignore God’s command to shepherd his family wisely.” It’s five years because prior to that, she is responding to how her parents, friends and siblings loved her. But after five years, she is responding to how her husband treats her.
Abram and Sarai have been married much longer than five years, and she is right in blaming their current crisis on him. She knows God’s promises to Abram, and that she wasn’t providing for him. She doesn’t want to hold Abram back from God’s best for him. So she told Abram to go sleep with Hagar. Yet she was hoping that he would say, “No. I love you. God will provide for you. I will stay faithful to you.” That’s what Abram should have done, but he didn’t. And in verse 5, Sarai rightly accuses Abram. But Abram is a wily character, and in verse 6 he scoots away from his responsibility and makes another mistake.
Genesis 16:6. So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.
Hagar had a son because of Abram’s fault, Abram’s mistake, Abram’s sin. Abram should have been the one to deal with Hagar. He should have been the one to provide for her, and protect her. Sure, it probably was not the best idea to keep her around, but he should have taken responsibility for his actions, admitted his fault to his wife, and to Hagar, and then sent Hagar off with enough money and possessions to live and provide for herself. Maybe he should have provided a husband for Hagar. But Abram does none of this. It’s just like us when we sin. We always want to ignore the sin, and avoid the consequences, and never assume responsibility for our actions. We like to sweep the sin under the rug, and let those we have hurt suffer for our neglect.
This is what happens with Sarai and Hagar. Abrams tells Sarai in verse 6 to do whatever she wants with Hagar. So Sarai starts to abuse and deal harshly with Hagar. Hagar was despising Sarai, so Sarai abused Hagar. Maybe she beat Hagar. Maybe she put too many demands on Hagar. Maybe she withheld food from Hagar so that Hagar was weak and tired while pregnant. We don’t know how far Sarai went in her abuse, but it was so bad, Hagar had to run away.
Abram should have seen how bad the abuse was getting, and intervened, but again, he was trying to avoid the consequences of his sin, and he allowed a woman to be abused because of it. But God, the righteous and just judge, always sees the plight of the abused and the forsaken, and though Abram has not provided for Hagar, God does.
Genesis 16:7. Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.
We cannot be certain, but in Exodus 15, after the Israelites have passed through the Red Sea and God has delivered them from Pharaoh’s army, they travel into the wilderness of Shur to find water. When they get to the spring, they found the water was bitter, and so it was called Marah, which means bitter (Exodus 15:22-27). It is very possible that the spring of Exodus 15 is the same spring here in verse 7, though we do not know if it was bitter in Hagar’s day or not. Down in verse 14, we learn where this spring is, and what Hagar names it, but as far as I can tell, nobody really knows where the spring is exactly, so the possibility remains that it is the same spring the Israelites come to hundreds of years later when they flee Egypt.
There in Exodus 15, God makes the bitter spring sweet by having Moses cast a tree into the water near Shur. And I am “sure” that Hagar is feeling very bitter right now as well. She has been mistreated, abused, and dealt with unjustly. She has basically been raped, because her master, Abram, couldn’t have a child with his own wife, and now she is pregnant, out in the wilderness with no food and no place to go. Probably, she is on her way back to Egypt. On her way, the Angel of the Lord appears to her. I personally think that the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is a preincarnate Jesus Christ, but I cannot be dogmatic about that. Whoever it is, He speaks to her in Genesis 16:8.
Genesis 16:8. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
He knows where she is going, and where she has come from. He asks her because He wants to see if she knows, and if she will be honest. He also wants to provide direction to her. But the thing I love most about verse 8 is that He calls her by name. This is significant, because up to this point in chapter 16, nobody has spoken to her or about her by name. Sarai, in verse 2, calls her “my maid.” Same thing in verse 5, “my maid.” Abram then does the same thing in verse 6. He says to Sarai, “Your maid.” But when the Angel of the Lord speaks to her, He says, “Hagar.”
Abram and Sarai think of Hagar as a slave, a foreigner, a possession, someone to be used, and abused, and mistreated and neglected. But God looks upon her as a person. He knows her name. He speaks to her gently. Abram and Sarai may have looked upon her as expendable, and an expedient way to have children, but God sees her differently. He knows her true needs. He cares for her as a person. When others may ignore you and mistreat you and abuse you, never forget that God sees and He knows, and He cares. He wants to show Hagar that He cares for her, and so He asks her the lead in question in verse 8. Hagar answers at the end of Genesis 16:8.
She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
Notice that she only answers one of the questions, and that not very well. The Angel of the Lord has already indicated that He knows Hagar is Sarai’s maid, and that Hagar has run away from her, and Hagar doesn’t really provide any new information. She is vague about why she is fleeing, or where she is fleeing. Maybe she feels guilty about what she is doing. Even back then, it was not right to run away from your master. But the Angel of the Lord doesn’t rebuke her in verse 9. He just gently corrects her and tells her what to do.
Genesis 16:9. The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”
This is not the advice Hagar wanted to hear. The treatment she had received from Sarai was horrible. The last thing she wanted to do was go back and submit herself to such inhumane treatment. But that is what God is telling her to do. God’s command to Hagar reminds us of God’s command to all employees in Ephesians 6. There, God tells bondservants to obey their masters, to serve them as if they were serving God, to respect them, and submit to them (Eph. 6:5-8). Not popular advice these days. Not popular advice ever. Of course, there are instructions in Ephesians 6:9 for the masters, the employers, as well. But that’s beside the point.
Ephesians 5 and 6 contains instructions for three primary relationships – our marriage, our families, and our jobs. Husbands are to love their wives, wives to respect and submit to their husbands. Children are to obey their parents, and parents must not provoke their children, but train them. Servants must obey their masters and masters must treat servants right. And most of us think that these relationships work both ways. A husband says, “I’ll love my wife when she starts to submit to me and give me the respect I deserve.” Meanwhile, the wife thinks, “I won’t respect him until he starts to love me.” And nothing ever gets better.
A teenager thinks, “My dad is just out to destroy my fun. I’m gonna rebel and show him until he starts giving me some freedom.” The dad thinks, “Why can’t my son see the mistakes he’s making? I’m gonna punish him and be overly harsh and critical until he gets back on track.”
The employee thinks, “I am not getting paid enough. I have horrible working conditions. My benefits are lousy. My boss hates me. I’m gonna cheat the company. I’m gonna be lazy at work until I get some respect.” The manager thinks, “These guys don’t deserve a raise. Look how poorly they work! I’m going to threaten them with more work and less pay until they start working harder.”
You see, everybody thinks that our behavior toward others depend on how they treat us. But that is completely backwards. The Bible says that we should treat others the way we would want to be treated if we were them. There is no “I’ll meet you half way. I’ll love you if you respect me.” No, these three relationships, marriage, family and work are all one way commitments. Men, love your wives whether she submits to you and respects you or not. Wives, submit to and respect your husband whether he deserves it or not. Children, obey your parents, even if they are unreasonable. Parents, don’t provoke your children even when they just keep pushing and pushing. Discipline and train them, yes, but don’t lash back and provoke them. Employees, obey your boss and work hard for him no matter what. Boss, manager, employer, treat your employees with the respect and salary and benefits you think you deserve.
All of these relationships are just like what we saw previously in Genesis 15. God did not meet Abram half way. God made the whole commitment by Himself. He said to Abram, “I’m going to make a covenant with you, and I don’t care what you do or don’t do in the future, I promise to uphold this covenant no matter what.” That’s the way you should view your marriage. That’s the way you should view your family. That’s the way you should view your job. That is what God tells Hagar to do with Sarai. Go back to her, He says, and submit yourself under her hand.
Can you hear the objections? “But it’s not fair!” No, it might not be. “But I’ll be mistreated!” Yes, you might. “But you don’t understand how difficult it will be.” Well, it’s not about understanding. It’s about doing what is right. But you know, God does understand. And when we do the right thing even when it is very hard, God sees, God notices, and He blesses. In Genesis 16:10-12, the Angel of the LORD says to Hagar that she will be blessed.
Genesis 16:10. Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”
From Hagar will come a multitude of descendants. This is very similar to the promise God had given to Abram in Genesis 15. But whereas Abram’s descendants through Sarai will bring blessing to the world, Hagar’s will bring strife.
Genesis 16:11. And the Angel of the Lord said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
The son will be named Ishmael, which means “God hears.” God heard Hagar’s affliction. Verse 12 tells us what kind of man Ishmael will be, and what his descendants will be like as well.
16:12. He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
He will experience great affliction at the hands of others, and will cause great affliction as well. This prophecy is almost an understatement as we see the descendants of Ishmael in many countries of the Middle East. But the descendants of Ishmael are also spiritual in the Muslim religion. Just as Abram has physical and spiritual descendants, so also does Ishmael. Muslims claim that God actually promised the land of Israel to Ishmael, and that the Jews stole it from them, and that the Bible is a Jewish lie. This is why there is such a struggle in Israel between the Arabs and Jews even to this day. I am not sure if Genesis 16:12 is really a blessing as much as a prophecy, but nevertheless, Hagar responds to God in Genesis 16:13.
Genesis 16:13-14. Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
She has been mistreated and abused, but she recognizes that God does see all. Do you know that God sees you? It is one thing to know that He loves you and that He hears your prayers, but it is quite another to know that His eyes are upon you. He is watching you.
This doesn’t mean He is spying on you to punish you when you fail. No, the concept of God seeing us is a loving concept. He watches us because He is concerned about us, and loves to see us. Just like parents love to watch their children sleep, and play, God loves to watch us. It gives Him joy to see us go through life, and learn about Him, and interact with other people. And He also watches to protect us from harm, so that if something starts to go wrong, He can immediately be there to help us through it.
God sees you. God watches you. Why? Because God loves you. Hagar, knowing this, returned to Abram and Sarai, where she had her son. It even appears Abram might have stepped up to the plate and taken some of the responsibility for his actions.
Genesis 16:15. So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Notice that Sarai is no longer mentioned here. Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael, just as God had told Hagar. Certainly there was going to be further strife and problems because of Hagar and Ishmael, but for now, Abram appears to have understood that these problems were his fault, and he needed to do what was right for Hagar and Ishmael. He made a mistake because he tried to get ahead of God, but now that the mistake is made, Abram owns up to it, and trusts God for the future.
Genesis 16:16. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
Genesis 12:4 indicates that Abram was 75 years old when he first received the promise of God for a son, so it has now been eleven years waiting for this promise. God sometimes moves slowly, and He will always allow us to outrun Him if we want, but when we do, we inevitably make a wrong turn, and find ourselves in a dead end. Then God has to come lead us back to the right road, and continue on from there. Running ahead of God never speeds things up, it only slows things down, and causes great heartache and headache later on.
God-fearing people sometimes try to fulfill God’s will in their own ways — and complicate things. But God can even be in their mistakes and use their mistakes to work out His plans. If you have made a mistake in your past, do two things. First, own up to it. Admit what you did was wrong. 1 John 1:9 calls this confessing your sin. Take responsibility for your actions. Then, once you have done this, move on. Trust that God, in His sovereignty, can even bring good from your mistakes, and that your mistakes never thwart God’s plan and purposes for you.
Want to Learn More?
Read other sermons on Genesis:
Joseph Khual Khan Kham says
Joseph Khual Khan Kham says
Emily Capo Hollerbach on Facebook says
Hm can I get bible references for husbands “discipling wives.” Never heard that…
Kyle S says
Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy Chapter 2 would be the references. Both passages tell us that the women are to submit to their husbands in everything. 1 Timothy 2:10-12 tell us that a women should “learn quietly with all submissiveness”. This means that the Men are to disciple their wives and teach them and their kids God’s truths.
Abigail Gray says
The Bible also says not to be unequally yoked. It also says to exhort one another. This would mean that, while the man should have the final say, they should be equal in their desire for the Lord, both seeking His will. And if we are to exhort one another, that would mean … well, exhort one another. A man will make mistakes. His wife needs to point Him back to the Lord. A women will make mistakes. Her husband needs to point her back to the Lord. “Discipling” your wife, is a traditionalist’s view, and in order to obtain that view, one must take the Bible out of context by ignoring the rest of the verses and passages to apply only one–submission. So no, I do not believe that the passages on married life require that a man disciples his wife. We are to be learning from each other, and the husband should certainly take the lead on spiritual exhortation.
Chinemeze Nwokocha says
2Corinthians 6:14 says: “Be you not unequally yoked together with ‘UNBELIEVERS’ : for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?”
you took that out of context ma. it doesn’t relate to marriage, or husband and wife. Except you want to tell me that the wives are unbelievers…funny.
the bible says that husbands are the submit to their wives too sweetie. funny how you intentionally skipped over that part, it also tells husbands to love their wives as Christ love the church. Christ died for the church.
Emily Capo Hollerbach on Facebook says
Okay, thank you!
Jeremy Myers on Facebook says
Hm. Well, I preached this sermon about 11 years ago maybe… There is no explicit reference to it, and I don’t recall what I was thinking, but I was probably thinking of passages like Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 5.
wow! very, very enlightening and instructive. there were so many life lessons and knowledge in these passages.
m dobson says
Hagar was eventually sent packing. I hope my husband’s single female friend whom he got too emotionally close to is also sent packing. She flirts with him and manipulates him but he is blind to it. I’d love for her to go away and never come back.
I’ve always wondered why Abraham was considered faithful to God and a good, fatherly example of faith because of this part of the story.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, it doesn’t make much sense…
Josephpau Lammung Suante says
Because of his totally faith to offer God his only son, Issac got from his wife, Sarah by the promise of God.
why then did Jacobs wifes Leah and Rachel take for him their maids for them to also continue bearing children to their husband?
I don’t understand… why do Christians say women need to submit to men? Was it not a curse? and aren’t all curses lifted through Jesus Christ? We all need to submit to the will of God and no one else’s. To say women can’t lead is like saying God only works through men.
I’m reading this in early 2022! I stumbled upon this sermon as i am studying the names of God and figuring out who gave the name to whom. (God names Himself to Moses. Hagar gives this name to God., and etc.)
I recently read a book published just a year or two ago, that says this same thing! (well about husbands and wives, not men and women) I wish I had read and contemplated your words a long while ago!
Yes. Why is it that this curse upon wives/women has been embraced by the American Evangelical church? All the other curses are taken for what they are: CURSES!
I wrote and just lost a long response. I’m not going to try to recreate it. But reading this in 2022, I want to say that i recently read newish book based on this. I wish I had stumbled upon this blog years ago.
YES! why does the American Evangelical church embrace the concept that wives (women) will follow after the desires of their husbands (men) ? All the other consequences of the “Big Bite” from Genesis 3 are considered, uhhh, CURSES!…..things to avoid at all costs!
I don’t see anything “loving” about how God deals with Hagar here. A raped and abused woman tries to flee her abusers and her future generations are all cursed while her abusers are blessed? How is that love?
Abigail Gray says
God is not just love. He is justice, mercy, and truth. Do you consider your ways higher than God’s ways? Do you consider what you don’t understand above what God thoroughly understands? God owes us nothing. He also does not have to give us an answer. There are passages in the Bible where I do not understand His actions either, but I know my God. And if you know the God of the Bible, the universe, the abused women, the slave, and of all creatures, you will have no need to question him. Check out God’s response to Job and his friends in Job chapters 38-42. It may provide some clarity when we don’t understand why God acted in the way He acted.
Sherry Tate says
Great information. So glad I found this.
Women should never submithought to their husbands it’s ridiculous and sexist
I still am bothered by the fact that God didn’t admonish Sarah or Abraham for their treatment of Hagar. Or pave way for Ishmael and Hagar to go somewhere safely ( not until much later when Abraham abandoned Hagar and Ishmael in the desert). God essentially sent an abused pregnant woman back into a sad situation. The only reason I can think of, being pregnant and alone, there was nowhere for Hagar to go especially if she gave birth along the way so in essence she had to wait years for her freedom and God’s promise of descendants. But it still doesn’t sit right with me.
God is not like man Abraham did what his wife wanted he cast out Hagar and his son and Sarah would have been pleased as Hagar had become to her a thorn in her side however praise the Lord he is not like us and not hard of heart he shows love to the widow and the fatherless and protected her by sending an angel who led them to safety.We are no different how we treat people sometimes we can be just as hard hearted as Abraham. Hagar’s story doesn’t end there because of that connection to Abraham the promises of God were fulfilled in her life just as they were with Abraham ishmael had 12 sons and they also became a great nation and enemy’s to Abraham seed they are the Arab nations of today who also trace there genealogy back to Abraham. brentnz
I most certainly agree. Now we are suffering because of it (Islam) that I consider a false religion that a man (Mohammed) invented by plagerizing some of the texts in the New Testament and adding his own devilish ways: kill the infidel, have up to 4 wives; women have NO rights etc. I don’t understand why God waited sooooo long before Sarai had a child. Just think what life would be like if Sarai had had a child a reasonable time after God told them what would happen. I DON’T UNDERSTAND why he waited so long; I can’t blame Sarah.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, it is surprising. Hagar was treated terribly.
Abigail Gray says
Do you consider your ways higher than God’s ways? Do you consider what you don’t understand above what God thoroughly understands? God owes us nothing. He also does not have to give us an answer. There are passages in the Bible where I do not understand His actions either, but I know my God. And if you know the God of the Bible, the universe, the abused women, the slave, and of all creatures, you will have no need to question him. Check out God’s response to Job and his friends in Job chapters 38-42. It may provide some clarity when we don’t understand why God acted in the way He acted.
Kenneth Ongeng says
Sarah can be called the brain behind the mess in the life of her hasband, that was a wicked advice given to the hasband because of her impatiance landed the father of faith into confusion. BUT
Abraham can also be blamed to go for Hagar yet he heard the first hand promises from the Lord, he should have waited on the promises of God. He behaved like his forefather Adam who took the advice of his wife Eve at face value ignoring what God had told him.
Kenneth agree with you totally its not just adams and abrahams problem its us guys we give in to our wives to keep the peace we should learn that the best way is always Gods way not our way or mans way.That to me is the message behind the story.The issue is rather than taking on the burden of his wife Abraham should have taken it back to the Lord its in our weakness he strengthens us.In the end he did what any married man would have done in order to please his wife.We are no different we put our wives or children church work before the Lord just as he did and loo at the consequences that came from that decision the arab nations became a thporn in there side.In my mind we need to put him first always.When we please the Lord he will bless us and our relationships when we do it our way there will be consequences.brentnz
Josephat mukemi. says
A very good Bible exegesis. Keep up being a blessing to the Church of Christ.
This explanation presupposes an entity,’God’, as some power outside of the human being! I thought the kingdom of God is within..iow ‘God’ is immanent, not only transcendental. It is still taking interpreters of biblical literature too long to let go of literalism. When the stories are seen as religious metaphor, we might begin to make sense of them.
Yvette Amikeh says
I have been blessed reading this. Great insight. More Grace.
Abigail Gray says
You approach the women in this story as feeble, powerless, and needing men to guide them because women make poor decisions without men, and because of their beauty and charm, men make poor decisions presented to the by women. See, I feel as if too many times in the church. Traditional views are mixed with Biblical views. God DOES NOT view women in this way. See misogynist traditions from the past are very loosely based on Biblical principle, or rather, they are Biblical principles taken out of context. “This is why men need to be spiritual leaders” is a misogynist statement. Because women are HUMAN as men are, women will make mistakes. And so will men. But men don’t need to be spiritual leaders to prevent the mistakes of women. The church has greatly failed women by confusing traditional views of women and men with Biblical views of women and men. Yes, women are absolutely commanded to submit to their husbands. And men are absolutely called to love their wives. But the Bible also contains many verses about wisdom, prudence, giving an answer to every man, stewardly behaviour, and leadership to BOTH men and women. We do not ignore these verses in the name of submission. See Sarai made no error in submission to her husband and no attempt to be the “spiritual leader” by presenting a solution. She presented this idea to her husband; she did not command that he do it. In Gen. 16:2 KJV she says, “I pray thee.” She asks of him to do this. See Abraham failed as a spiritual leader all on his own. As a spiritual leader, he should have remembered and implemented God’s law and promise on his own, but he didn’t. I also believe that Sarai should not have made the request. But in this article, she is painted as overcome with emotion and a desire to please her husband. Here’s the thing. While the traditions given as an example may be accurate, let’s not use them as an excuse for her actions. She knew God’s law. She knew God’s promise. Therefore she is responsible for actions. Let’s not make unnecessary comparisons to Eve either. Two different stories and scenarios. While there are similarities, Eve is used in this article to prove the feeble, weak, blinded nature of women. But that. is. not. what. God. thinks. of. women.
1 pet 3:7….ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the …………..?
You said Eve sinned before Adam..i disagree. She transgressed but Adam sinned. Had he not sunned her transgression could have been forgiven since Adam was the federal head of the human race not Eve.
1 tim 2:4, it was not adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression……… 1 jn 3: 4, Sin is the transgression of the law. Matt 26:41, watch and pray so that you will not fall…….
if u look closely at scriptural terminologies and roots……… the woman fell, to fall is to transgress, to transgress is to sin.
rom 5:13, absence of the law, sin is not imputed…… but there was a law(command), and eve was aware and mandated to keep it, if not why did she not ever eat from the tree before the temptation, and how come she knew she would die if she did transgress/sin until an alternative view came.
Byron ling says
I think even though the characters are in this story, the main character is God. I wondered how Abraham could be called the father of faith, given his doubts and actions. But then I realized and fortunately for us, God does not demand perfection from us, but he takes our imperfect faith and honors it.
The one thing I am not comfortable with is the exhortation for submission of one gender over another. This can certainly and has been abused by the church historically. It would be more accurate to say there is neither male nor female, Greek or Jew … And that we must submit to each other out of our reference for Christ.
Teresa J says
There are many comments about why God would send Hagar back to Sarai if she was abusing her. First off, Hagar despised her mistress. Some would say that Sarai deserved that but Hagar was a slave and at that time that was not an attitude a slave could have. Also because she was a slave where would she go? There are laws against slaves running away from their masters. I would assume death or prison. Perhaps God knew that her treatment as a pregnant runaway slave would be so much worse. But what you miss is that God spoke to her through an Angel!!! He cared for her unless you think God sends an Angel to speak to everyone in a difficult situation! He didn’t have to do that. We are humans and only see what is in front of us. God knows the bigger plan.
Also why do we argue so much about women submitting to husbands? The Bible does say this as well as submitting to each other and for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. The husband has the bigger commitment and task. Loving your wife as Christ loved the church is huge! He suffered and died for the church. If more men took this commandment from God more seriously I believe the World would be a different place.
With that said, this World is temporary. Our focus should be on what is eternal. We love because Christ loved us. We don’t deserve anything but to be wiped out like in Noah’s time. So instead of being mad at God for sending Hagar back to an abusive situation think about the consequences if she didn’t go back. Was God to change everything around her to make things perfect? God isn’t a Jeanie. He doesn’t promise that and Jesus didn’t have a perfect world either. He suffered so why not us in this broken World. If you’re a Christian and think God will save you from everything hurtful and harmful then you are mistaken. He brings good out of bad for us but allows our suffering in this life. He is also with us during the suffering like he was with Hagar. The Someday when He returns it will be over and no one will suffer. It’s just not that time yet.
Ron C says
Very well put. After review of the other comments I was wondering why no one brought up the fact that letting her continue in her precarious situation would likely have led to her demise. And yeah, the submission argument appears to be a conversation piece between extremes that perhaps lack a more complete understanding of God’s Love and historical perspectives.
Jaishanker Daniel says
Good sermon the whole family.
Pamela Tauer says
Thank you for this explanation. I am in a bible study and have a hard time getting to the bottom of some things written in the Bible. It is nice to have explanations from a learned scholar and man of God to see things I miss otherwise.
The picture at the top of the blog with Hagar, Sarah and Abraham is very beautiful! Where can I retrieve it and what is the painting called? Is it from Wikipedia?
Gud välsigne er!
Let us not repeat Abrams sin
Chinemeze Nwokocha says
Thank you so much for this. God bless you.