Jumping Ahead of God: Genesis 16:1-6

It can be so hard to wait for God to act. We wait, and wait, and wait, wishing God would have provided us with a timeline and an outline of His plan. The temptation is to give God a little nudge, push the agenda forward on our own, or devise a way to force the issue. Obviously, people have been doing this for thousands of years.

Photo by Wim van ‘t Einde on Unsplash

RESEARCH NUGGETS

  • By law, an authorized barren wife could use her maidservant to father a child by her husband. Laws stipulated that afterward, the child belonged to the barren woman, who then had the power to sell or keep her maidservant. The prevalence of polygamy meant multiple wives and concubines were commonplace, and viewed as necessary in order to preserve and build family. Many women grew up knowing they would fill a “secondary slot” in a household. Our modern notions of independence and individualism were completely foreign to the ancient mind.
  • Who was Hagar? The Bible doesn’t tell us her background, but many scholars believe she may have been a gift to Sarai from Pharaoh. As a slave, Hagar was human property, and didn’t have rights over her own body—those belonged to another, Sarai.

SCRIPTURE

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)
4 So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!”
6 Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.  
Genesis 16:1-6, NLT

RETELL THE STORY

Tell the story from

  • from Sarai’s perspective,
  • then from Abram’s,
  • and finally, from Hagar’s point of view.

The facts will be same, but the perspectives will be very different. If you are like me, you will have a hard time choosing on whom the to attach your sympathies. What a mess!

GETTING TO KNOW: GOD, ABRAM, AND SARAI

GOD

  • The facts will be same, but the perspectives will be very different. If you are like me, you will have a hard time choosing on whom the to attach your sympathies.

ABRAM

  • If you had to give Abram’s faith in God’s promise a score for these 6 verses, what would you give him on a scales of 1 to 10, 10 being the strongest faith?
  • Why do you think Abram decided to go along with Sarai’s plan? Sexual desire, doubt that God had Sarai in mind as part of His promise, or was it a show of respect for Sarai and her place as his wife?

SARAI

  • If you had to give Sarai’s faith in God’s promise a score for these 6 verses, what would you give her on a scales of 1 to 10, 10 being the strongest faith?
  • Was her idea out of line, legal, or common practice? Do you think that she ever considered how Hagar would feel or react to her plan?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your love, and for the covenantal promises that give us hope today and for the future. Take away my judgmental spirit, and replace it with discernment. How often have I jumped ahead with my own ideas rather than waiting for you to reveal the miraculous way you will unfold your purpose? In what way am I doing that today? I want to trust you, Lord, help my unbelief. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

THANK YOU FOR STUDYING WITH ME!

I’m writing this today after an early-morning walk under the most beautiful, wide-spread, and colorful sunrise I’ve ever seen. The colors were intense and changed every minute. What a beautiful picture God gave us of Himself today!

I am curious as to what this part of the story revealed to you about Abram and Sarai? I’d love to hear from you. Talk to me in the comment section below or email me at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com.

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