Abram on a By-Path
Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. Genesis 16:1, 2
Read Genesis 16:1-9; Galatians 4:20-31
After reading Genesis 15, we may be inclined to think that everything will go well. God has given a rich covenant, and He has ratified it with an oath. True believers such as Abram and Sarai will surely be able to wait for the Lord to fulfill it, won’t they? They know that God keeps His Word.
But Genesis 16 commences with an entirely different message, “Sarai bare Abram no children.” By this time, they have lived in the Promised Land for ten years and are both getting older. Moreover, the solution that Sarai suggested was very normal during that time; a female slave, including her womb, was completely owned by her master. So Sarai was willing to step aside to ensure that Abram received a son. Who would dare to speak evil of this? Sarai sees this as a justifiable solution, which she unselfishly suggests. By employing Hagar, a new perspective is realized, for soon Hagar is pregnant.
This whole development may seem like a solution, but it is actually a bypath. This way was not directed by God, but was arranged by man. This bypath created a lot of misery in Abram’s tent. Even today, we see long-term results of this decision; consider how the conflict between Isaac and Ishmael has culminated in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Remaining silent when others suggest a worldly compromise never provides a solution to problems and cannot bring happiness. Only when we walk by faith in God’s promises, even as Abram and his children ultimately depended on the foundation of God’s covenant, do we have a future.
Thought: We may have to wait for a long time, but never forget one thing: All that God promises shall come to pass!
Psalter 425:4, 6 (based on Psalm 105) Ye seed from Abraham descended, To whom His favors were extended, And Jacob’s children, whom the Lord Has chosen, hearken to His word. He is the Lord, our Judge divine; In all the earth His glories shine. The Lord His covenant people planted In lands of nations which He granted, That they His statutes might observe, Nor from His laws might ever swerve. Let songs of praise to Him ascend, And hallelujahs without end.