Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hagar & Sarai

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child.  She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar.  Sarai said to Abram, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child.  Sleep with my maid.  Maybe I can get a family from her.”  Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.  So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.  Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place.  He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant.  When she learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.  Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse.  I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing.  May God decide which of us is right.”  “You decide,” said Abram.  “Your maid is your business.”  Sarai was abusive to Hagar and she ran away.  An angel of God found her beside a spring in the desert; it was the spring on the road to Shur.  He said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, what are you doing here?”  She said, “I’m running away from Sarai my mistress.”  The angel of God said, “Go back to your mistress.  Put up with her abuse.”  He continued, “I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.  From this pregnancy, you’ll get a son:  Name him Ishmael; for God heard you, God answered you.  He’ll be a bucking bronco of a man, a real fighter, fighting and being fought, Always stirring up trouble, always at odds with his family.” 
Genesis 16:1 - 12 (TMSG)
In 21st century Western culture we can only imagine the reality and nuances of ancient Eastern customs, the like of which drove Abram’s wife Sarai to place a household servant in her husband’s bed. 

But that’s what she did.  And the problems started immediately.

Hagar’s pride in her ability to conceive manifested itself in contempt towards the one she was to serve, Sarai.  And it was Sarai’s idea in the first place, but she now despised the outcome of her plan, and became so abusive to Hagar that the slave girl rain away.

A “rocky road” indeed!

Hagar found herself on a wilderness rocky road, wondering what to do.  God’s angel shows up and informs her that the son to which she would give birth would be the worst troublemaker in the East.

Hagar was defenseless – totally.  She was a slave, made to conceive a baby with an old man; she was pregnant and abused, and then kicked out to fend for herself.  Suddenly the rocky road is filled with boulders; huge ones, piled like a mountain! 

And did you notice that God’s angel proposes a plan that involves tolerating more abuse?  “Go back and tough it out….God is watching over this.”

Some days it seems like it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed!

Ever felt like Hagar?

Have you ever felt totally powerless?  No more answers, no plans or even a clue what to do next?  And then someone comes up with a plan for you (don’t they always?)!

How did Hagar respond?
She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!” “Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”     Genesis 16:13 (TMSG)


Have a little “Hagar faith”.

Your circumstances may be more difficult than Hagar’s (at least to you), but your response can be just as faith-filled.

And that’s what God wants – just trust Him; know that He sees you.  And if you are patient with your faith, in due time you’ll see His hand move.

Title Photo: 


  1. I've always thought that Hagar (not her name, actually--just what they called her) was absolutely crushed that her new position as servant to these nomads was so far below her position in Pharaoh's court! She grasped at the pregnancy as the only thing in which she could resurrect her wounded pride. I don't blame her! Sarai lies all through this ("I will raise the child as my own, etc."), and my heart goes out to Hagar.

    1. Good thought Charlie. As somewhat less than a "main character" in this drama, I guess I never considered Hagar's culpability in the anger which erupted in Sarai. But you're right...Sarai was not exactly the kind of person you'd like to hang out with and have a beer.