While the graphic above is how it is supposed to be… most of us are guilty of the exact opposite (at some point in our life). Either from a lack of hearing… or a lack of trust in what we hear… we set out on a path of our own making, praying that God will somehow bless our plan.
Abram and Sarai had been promised by God himself that they would have heirs that would out number the stars. But when Sarai lost hope in this plan (based on bearing no children for decades), she came up with her own plan. “And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” (Gen 16:2)
Sarai’s intent was genuine and pure. She knew that Abram was to have children and felt that she was in the way (rather than part of the plan). She did the one thing that had to be the most difficult for any wife to do… offered another wife to her husband. I can’t imagine the depth of sadness that led to this decision or that followed. But it’s plain to see that nothing good could come of this type of arrangement. Her reaction after Hagar became pregnant says it all. “And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”” (Gen 16:5)
The pain of her bareness has now multiplied seeing that her husband has impregnated another woman. The bitterness between Sarai and Hagar drives Hagar away but the Lord drives Hagar back. “The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”” (Gen 16:9) But the bitterness between them never reduces.
The result of Sarai’s attempt to take matters into her own hands is that Hagar bears a son named Ishmael and the Lord tells of his dark future. “He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Gen 16:12) It is through this line, through Ishmael, that the Islamic faith is eventually formed. Although they see themselves as the first offspring of Abram, they are not as a result of God’s plan and therefore not the line He promised Abram before. For that, we’ll have to wait until the next chapter.
In the end, taking matters into our own hands never works out well. When we wait patiently for the Lord to do His will, His plan… it’s always better than when we get impatient and form our own plan.
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