Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Genesis 16:3-6

Back to Sarai and Abram! Oh, and now we get to add the third party: Hagar!

So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave 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. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”
“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. 

Oh boy! We talked about Sarai’s problem with manipulation last week, but I just wanted to quote Beth Moore on this passage, from her study, The Patriarchs. First, she reminds us that women by “nature tend to be nurturers, straighteners, fixers,” and that God wired us to be “suitable helper[s]” for our husbands . (Gen 2) However, Beth says, “Satan prides himself on tangling our wiring until the outcome is a knotted counterfeit of God’s wiring. Help tangles into manipulation with the slightest rerouting.” What Sarai did was in keeping with the cultural custom of the day, but it was not within God’s standard for marriage.

We don’t know if Hagar was beautiful, but we are certain she was younger than Sarai. And when she became pregnant, she began to disrespect Sarai, for, after all, SHE was providing Abram with a child. It was finally dawning on Sarai just exactly how badly this had turned out. Adding a pregnant, younger woman to this household was NOT a good thing! In fact, Beth Moore point to Proverbs 30:21-23 to prove that this would have been a disaster for all:

“Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.”

There must have been fireworks in this tent! And then came the blame game! Sarai says, “May the LORD judge between you and me,” obviously thinking Abram bore the responsibility. And she was correct that, as the spiritual leader of the household, and as the one who so eagerly accepted Sarai’s plan over God’s, he was ultimately responsible. However, there was certainly enough blame to go around here, eh?

Note the nasty attitude, though, that both Sarai and Abraham adopted. They didn’t even call her by name, but referred to Hagar as Sarai’s “slave.” In fact, the callousness with which Abram dismissed Hagar is pretty shocking: “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Abram very passisvely gave Sarai license to oppress Hagar, and that’s just what she did! YIKES! How did our two spiritual parents get to this point? By NOT trusting God to do the job! Oh, that we would learn to give Him the reins and relax as His plan unfolds, instead of stepping in to help Him along! And the ramifications? They are still being felt to this day with the tension between the Jews from Isaac’s lineage and the Arabs from Ishmael’s. More about that later...

Off to work!


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