When we impatiently wait on God for the answer to our problems we can make a mess of things when we try to help Him out.
Abram and Sarai did just that when they try to help God give them a son by having Abram take Sarai’s maidservant Hagar as his wife. This was never God’s will for their lives. Their decision brought consequences to them and all the world that we are still experiencing today.
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram,
“The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.” Genesis 16:1-4
This decision created a whole lot of trouble. Abram, Sarai and Hagar all react differently to the problem, but they all react badly.
- Abram reacted by being unaccountable, “Your servant is in your hands.” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” He tried to pretend there was no problem, and that if there was a problem Sarai could just deal with it. How many of us have tried to ignore a problem only to find it getting more out of hand than if you had confronted it to begin with.
- Sarai reacted by being unreasonable, “Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” Genesis 16:5 Clearly Sarai was miserable because of the pride and contempt of Hagar. She tries to blame everyone around her for the problem. She had the attitude of, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” I know a lot of us will react to problems in this way. We get short-tempered and hard to live with. We forget to be Christlike in our response to the problem.
- Hagar reacted by being unavailable, “Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.” Hagar decided packing up and running away was the answer to her problem. For many of us, myself included, this is how we react and this is the only solution we feel is right at the moment.
I feel for Hagar because she was a victim of use, abuse and rejection. Running away just seems right, but God did not see it that way.
“Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” Genesis 16:9
God sent Hagar back for many reasons, but among them God intended to use this situation to help them learn to face their problems His way.
- Abram had to face it.
- Sarai had to deal with it.
- Hagar had to live in it.
God wants to make us Holy more than He wants to make us happy.
Learning how to face your problems God’s way is one way of making that happen.
“But just as he who called you is holy, so beholy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:15-16
Read more on Hagar with us on our Learning from Their Examples series:
- Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy? – Cindy
- Hagar, Attitude is Everything – Tonya
- He Sees Me – Heather
Cheryl Crawford is a daughter of the Most High King, saved by grace. Her degree and field of work are in accounting, but would trade it all to farm if she could. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, SEC football and playing cards with friends. Cheryl is a natural organizer with a heart that loves to serve. You can read more about Cheryl on her BoP bio.