All In, with Kirk Crossing
All In, with Kirk Crossing
Faith Steps (5) Genesis 16.1-16
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In Genesis 16, Sarai and Abram make a bold plan.  In chapter 12, faced with the obstacle of a famine, Abram decided to move his household to Egypt.  That plan didn’t exactly show a great deal of trust in God.  Now, continuing to be faced with the obstacle of Sarai not having given birth, they plan to have a child by other means.  Sarai gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abram as a wife, planning for whatever children she bore to be the means of building up Abram and Sarai’s household.  The plan worked, in that Hagar conceived, but also brought several unintended consequences.
To say that this plan to bless themselves actually resulted in curses would be an understatement.  Instead of receiving a child from Hagar, Sarai receives only her contempt.  Abram then receives Sarai’s anger and blame for allowing Hagar’s disrespect and disruption in the household.  Rather than taking responsibility, Abram shrinks back and makes Sarai responsible for dealing with Hagar.  Finally, Hagar receives harsh treatment from Sarai, to the point at which she decides to flee from her and return to Egypt all alone.
Like Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, so Abram and Sarai sought to bless themselves by their own efforts.  But who did God reveal Himself to be in the midst of this mess?  In meeting Hagar in the wilderness, she ‘names’ him as the God who sees.  In addition, he instructs her to name the son she is carrying Ishmael, which means ‘God hears’.  In sending her back to Abram and Sarai, the name Ishmael would be a lesson to them that God does see and hear what’s going on.  He is aware than Sarai has not given birth; they don’t need to take matters into their own hands.
For us, we are reminded that God doesn’t need our help, that He still hears and sees to this day, and that He easily works in the wilderness.