Gen. 16:1-3 – Abram and Sarai try to help
the Lord out
Gen. 16:1 "Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and
she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said
unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray
thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.
And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took
Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land
of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife."
The Lord had promised to Abram on more than one occasion
that he would have a child and that his seed would be multiplied to a
great multitude. The problem that Abram had was that he was 85 years
old and Sarai was 75 years old. They had dwelt ten years in the land of
Canaan and still were barren. It was apparent to both Abram and Sarai
that they were not going to have a child or so it seemed to them. In
their minds if the promise of God was to be fulfilled then they would
have to come up with a way for that promise to be fulfilled. This is
simply doubt based on earthly sight. How often all of us are guilty of
this very thing? We look at our earthly circumstances and think that
God will not keep his promises if we do not do something. We, in
effect, doubt that God is able to do it himself.
"Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai" when she said unto
Abram, "Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray
thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her."
In other words, this is a way that Abram can have a child and thru this
child God will fulfill his promises to Abram. It is extremely foolish
of us to doubt the Lord even though we do it often. We always make a
mess of things when we doubt the Lord and try to help the Lord out. The
world is in a turmoil today nearly four thousand years later because
Abram and Sarai tried to help the Lord out. The descendents of Ishmael
and Isaac are still fighting in the Middle East today.
One of the great myths today is that we must assist the Lord
in getting someone born of the Spirit of God. This is a very similar
mistake that Abram and Sarai made. The Lord does not need our help and
in his due time he will cause all of his elect children to be born of
Please note that Abram actually married Hagar as she became
his wife. Therefore, Abram had two wives and finally had children by
both wives. Sarai was a free-woman and Hagar was Sarai's maid. She was
an Egyptian handmaid. She was in bondage. Just because she was married
to Abram did not make her a freewoman. She was still Sarai's maid and
was to obey her mistress.
In Galatians chapter 4 these two women – Sarai and Hagar –
and their sons are compared to an allegory representing two covenants.
One woman was free and the other a bondmaid. The son of the free woman
was born by promise. The son of the bondmaid was born after the flesh.
I suggest the reader study the fourth chapter of Galatians to understand
the spiritual significance of this allegory. Even though they are an
allegory, yet the things written concerning them in the Old Testament
are literally true.
16:4-5 – Hagar despises Sarai
Gen. 14:4 "And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and
when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her
eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given
my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was
despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee."
We are not told exactly why Hagar despised Sarai. Most
likely Hagar being a bondwoman despised the fact that she was in bondage
and had conceived Abram's son and her mistress was a freewoman. Perhaps
she thought that Sarai had not given Abram a child and she gave Abram a
child, therefore, she should not have to be a servant to the freewoman.
Moreover, she probably had an exalted opinion of herself as opposed to
Sarai because she was able to conceive a child and Sarai was not able to
conceive a child.
Now we understand that both Sarai and Hagar were wives to
Abram. However, Sarai was a freewoman and Hagar was a bondwoman serving
The book of Galatians tells us that Sarah and Hagar were an
allegory with Sarah representing the covenant of grace and Hagar
representing the covenant of the law. This follows the example above as
the legalists despise those who worship God under the covenant of
grace. We have the above example as well as the case of Cain and Abel
and the case of the Pharisees and Sadducees despising and persecuting
the true worshippers of God under the covenant of grace. Even today
those who attempt to worship God under some legalistic system despise
those who worship God under the covenant of grace. Those under a
legalistic system believe their works should be rewarded. No doubt
Hagar felt that her work in bringing forth a son for Abram should be
rewarded and she be given a position better than her mistress who had
"And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have
given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I
was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee." Sarai
immediately recognized that what she had done in giving her handmaid to
Abram for wife was wrong as she saw the consequences of her action.
Next, she desired the Lord to judge her actions recognizing she had done
wrong. She was admitting to Abram that her actions were wrong. She was
also confessing to the Lord that her actions were wrong. We need to
learn from Sarai that we should not devise schemes to try and help the
Lord out. There are consequences to such actions. The Lord does not
need our help, and when we try to claim credit for what the Lord has
done, then we will suffer the chastening rod of God for such actions.