In this study from Genesis 16, we learn how Sarai gives Hagar to her husband Abram as his wife. This passage provides a unique opportunity to explore God’s plan for us and the consequences of our decisions.
We will look at how Sarai acts without consulting God first, how God responds to Hagar in her distress, and ultimately how God still uses their choices to fulfill His sovereign plan.
So, let’s dig into this fascinating account of faith and obedience in the Bible.
Faith. An easy word to say but a tough one to live out. We find this in the life of Sarai and in our own lives.
Sarai gave Hagar to Abram in this story from Genesis because she was unwilling to wait for God to fulfill His promise to her.
The promise of a son to Abram, who would be the father of Israel. So spawns the saga of Hagar and Ishmael – read on..
Sarai Gives Hagar to Abram and Gets a Son
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.
So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.
Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.”
And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife.
He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. – Genesis 16:1-4 NASB
Why Would Sarai Give Abram a Second Wife?
It would seem strange to most people today for a woman to give another wife to her husband.
But, looking at the customs of Abram’s time, a woman without heirs (especially male heirs) was left to begging or prostitution to support herself if her husband died. She was forced to produce a male heir in any way she could.
This was due to the fact that in many cultures, inheritance was passed down through the male line. As a result, a woman without a male heir had no legal or financial protection and was left to fend for herself.
Hence, Hagar, the maidservant.
The story here is one of faith, or the lack of it. Sarai did not truly believe God’s promise to give a child to her and to Abram.
How often do we ask God for something and not believe He can deliver? Do we grow impatient as Sarai did? For example, when waiting for a job opportunity or a financial blessing, do we give up hope after a certain amount of time has passed or do we continue to trust in God’s timing?
When this happens, problems arise because we take on God’s responsibility. Instead of letting Him work in our lives, we decide we can do better ourselves.
We think we know better than God and can solve our own problems without Him. We become prideful and forget that God controls our destiny, not us.
“They” are Watching
As Christians, the world watches our actions. Now is the time to show faith — and remain steadfast.
As Billy Graham once wrote,
“We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.”
Remembering a Faithful Man
There is a man I remember fondly who was a pillar of our church for decades. His name was Roy Barnes. I’m sure you know someone who fits this description – a true Christian.
Mr. Barnes was always a minister of Christ – both through his singing talents and life style.
I can hear Roy say to us now, “God is in control.” I can’t add anything more to this statement.
Love in Christ
If you would like to learn more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16.