Genesis 16 and so on and so on and so on...
There are very few chapters in the Bible that capture the wrong turn of mankind as does Genesis 16. Quick review: Abram was told he would be the father of many sons, as many as the stars in the sky. His wife Sarai didn’t believe Abram or God thinking, “I am too old. You’ve got to be kidding?” (My words; not hers.)
Sarai took the world into her own hands by handing her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to her husband and said, “Here. She can help you make babies.” While the practice seems ludicrous to us, it was a way to handle infertility in Old Testament times.
Hagar got pregnant and Sarai got jealous. That’s when things took a quick turn for the worse.
Sarai argued with Abram. Abram gave Sarai permission to do what she wished with Hagar (real manly of you, Abram). Sarai mistreated Hagar (we can only imagine what that meant). Hagar ran for her life. And, then God saw Hagar in the desert and simply asked, “What’s up, girl?” (Not His words; mine.)
“The angel of the Lord” spoke with Hagar, gave her specific instructions, paved her pathway for the future, and felt compassion for her. This insignificant person who was disposable in Sarai’s eyes caught God’s attention. Living proof that every human being matters to God and every human being can trust God, despite their past, to provide for their future. By the way, Abraham (Abram) is the father of both the Jewish people and the Arab nations. Isaac and Ishmael were half-brothers born of a different mother, but of the same father. The sibling rivalry has taken on a whole new meaning in our terror-filled world.
The moral of the story:
- Don’t doubt God’s power and don’t believe for one minute you have more power or better ideas than He does.
- Don’t take matters into your own hands because when we do, we typically create bigger messes.
- God never hated Hagar. God never hated the child born of Abram and Hagar’s sexual arrangement. God doesn’t hate Ishmael or his descendants today. Ishmael’s name means, “God hears.” Hello….that means something.