I have been reading in Genesis, about Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah), and there are so many discectable story lines!
The Bible is amazing.
Sarai is desperate for a child, a promised child. Her husband has been told he is the Father of Nations, and yet after being together for YEARS, she has been unable to give him a child, or to love on a child of her own. My biological clock was ticking when I was 18. I couldn’t wait to be a mother. I became a mother at 23. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be older than my grandmother before I had a child. Can you feel her desperation.
I guarantee, she cried on Abrams chest night after night. That she sunk into herself a little more everyday… Can you imagine? Some of you may be able to imagine just that very thing. Let us know if that is you, we will join you in prayer.
Sarai has become so desperate that she has now decided to give her servant to her husband, so that she can build a family through another women. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to “own” a person, or dictate to them what they will and won’t do with their bodies, especially for my own selfish needs. Unfortunately, in that time, this was probably a more normal custom than we realize. Probably often done in secret to protect a family line.
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slavenamed Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
I am amazed at Abram- he actually speaks with God. Has a relationship that you and I will not have until we arrive at Heaven’s gates. He sees God. When his wife suggests he sleep with his wife’s servant he agrees! He doesn’t say, “No Sarai, God has promised that we would be parents.” Nope. Abram acts in his humanity and says, ok! Sounds good, Ill do it. A real punishment, eh?
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years,Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Hagar is in the unfortunate position as a servant, that her orders are given and she must obey. She sleeps with Abram, and they conceive. Hagar, begins to become jealous- uh, yeah… I would too- I was forced to sleep with this man and carry his child, and then I am required to give him over to the woman I work for. I will see this child everyday all day and he won’t know who I am!
Sarai is given permission to treat Hagar however she wants per Abram, so she mistreated her. It doesn’t tell us how, but assuming that she has already been “owned” for potentially years, she has encountered various behaviors from her mistress, but Sarai has gotten so bitter and jealous that she has now gone beyond the normal way of treating her servant and upgraded to being down right nasty. I would guess that Sarai’s anger would have led her to behaviors that harmed Hagar, to the point that Hagar left! She is committing an illegal act by leaving. She isn’t independent, she isn’t under her own will. She wouldn’t risk it all to run away and have a baby alone in the wilderness.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
As God does, he runs her down. He finds her in the form of an angel. I love that the Lord asks questions of us, when he knows the answer.
7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She says back, Hey there.. yeah, I am leaving. I’m done. I am running away… are you blind? Do you not know who I am, or what I have done, or what has been done to me?
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then in a bizarre twist to Hagar, the angel of the Lord says- go back, and submit. He adds a special blessing to this; I will increase your descendants. He places her eyes on the future instead of the right now!
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward[b] all his brothers.”
I can only imagine, the tears coursing down her cheeks, as she told him, You are the God who sees me.
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
He sees all. He knows all, He asks questions to cause us to inspect ourselves. He then guides us gently, back to the path we must walk down. Hagar’s life, and the life of her shared son, Ishmael, is one of great torment, but it is one of fulfilled promise. He will do what He says He will do. If Hagar hadn’t turned back at that moment, she would have lived a very different life, and Ishamel would not have been able to become the father of nations. When we go against God’s plan, we birth something wild, and against God’s character; an Ishamel. Sarai learned this the hard way, and caused great devastation to Hagar, Ishmael, and Abram. I am sure Issac wasn’t without scaring as well; how would his parents relationship not have been affected by such events.
I have an Ishmael, a decision made to work around God’s plan, one that I must bare and claim responsibility for. God has proven gracious, much as He did for Hagar, and Sarai, He allowed me to have my will, but then He gently corrected me, and encouraged me to return to Him, where I could see Him, and He proved that He sees me.
Your Ishmael wasn’t born to hold you down, but to give you a deeper relationship with the One who sees you.