Genesis 16:1-4 NIV

[1] Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; [2] so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. [3] 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. [4] He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.


Before we condemn Sarai for this unwise, even disasterous decision, it's important for us to understand what she is feeling and experiencing here.  God has spoken to her husband and told him that he’s going to have a son.  The days pass, and Sarai can’t get pregnant.  Weeks go by, still no baby.  Months later; nothing, nada.  10 years pass and Sarai has long ago reached the stage where she feels like she has let Abram down.  It’s her fault. It has to be.  In those days there was a huge stigma attached to a woman not being able to bear children. And also, God did give the promise to Abram that he would be the 'father of a nation'.  He didn't mention anywhere that Sarai would be the mother.

With every passing day, every conversation about children, every friend who conceives, Sarai’s becoming more and more humiliated, her self-esteem is plummeting, she’s probably feeling depressed and deeply insecure.  All of this leads to her coming to the conclusion that it's just never going to happen.  She's simply not going to have a child.  And so she takes matters into her own hands and comes up with this horrendously terrible plan.  She suggests that Abram sleeps with her servant girl, Hagar, and let her bring forth the son Abraham wants so badly.

Now, at that time in many cultures, this was a perfectly legal and logical solution to such a predicament.  However, just because it isn't unlawful and everyone else can do it doesn't mean it's right for you.  Because you can rationalise it and justify it, even spiritualise it, it doesn't make it God's will.

It simply says: “Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”  Then we read:  “So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.” (vv 3-4)

As we will see next week, from here it all goes downhill. 


Deep down Abram and Sarai knew that this was not the right thing to do.   It was never going to be the way God had intended for His will to be done.  It clearly wasn't God's best.  It didn't come from a place of faith, trust and prayer.

But they became so impatient, frustrated and tired of waiting that they made decisions and took actions which they saw as being a quick fix, a short cut, to doing what they thought God wanted.  They probably reasoned that the end justifies the means.  After all, they did get a son out of it.

I have found in my own life that important decisions made out of impatience, frustration, insecurity, fear or anger are rarely ever good decisions.

Just because a choice is legal, approved of by others, makes sense rationally or produces the desired results doesn't mean it's God's will for you.  Be careful of justifying or spiritualising something because it gives you what you want.  Often what follows such an action or decision is a whole lot of tears, pain, heartache and regret.

Scottish novelist George MacDonald was right when he said, “In whatever man does without God, he must fail miserably, or succeed more miserably.”