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.
Sarai, feeling anxious about God’s promise not yet coming to fruition, starts in with some drama. She starts with a complaint against God when she says, “The LORD has kept me from having children.” (Genesis 16:2) Sarai decides she needs to take matters into her own hands and offers up her handmaiden Hagar to Abram with the idea that she can build a family through her.
Abram agrees (a mistake on his part by the way, see the previous post on Genesis 16:1-4). Hagar gets pregnant and just as soon as she realizes she’s with child, she cops an attitude, she despises Sarai.
It was her idea in the first place so does Sarai apologize to Abram for pressuring him to take her servant Hagar? No, quite the contrary, Sarai complains to Abram and blames him for his family’s strife. She even brings the Lord into it when she says to him, “May the LORD judge between you and me.” (v.5)
Abram says, basically, what do you want me to do about it? And, “Do with her whatever you think best.” (v.6)
From that point Sarai begins to mistreat Hagar. (v.6)
So Hagar takes the baby and runs. (v.6)
This reads like the script of a chick flick!
With the focus of this chapter mainly on Sarai and Hagar I wanted a woman’s perspective. So I asked my wife Kathy for some insight into Sarai’s behavior in Genesis chapter 16 and received some interesting input:
“I think it’s about women and drama,” Kathy began. “You can just hear Sarai whining to Abram:”
God said that we’d have kids but it’s just not happening. How long has it been? It’s been years since God made you that promise about your descendants. We’re not going to have any descendants if we don’t do something about it! We’re getting older, sooner or later you won’t have what it takes to have kids any more.
“And, she was probably sharing all of these complaints with her handmaidens. You can just imagine Sarai and her handmaidens all emotional and coming up with all these crazy ideas to make something happen,” Kathy said. “One of which was to give her handmaiden to Abram.”
“Why?” I asked. “Why is Sarai stirring up all this drama?”
Kathy: “She has her husband telling her that God promised them all these descendants but she’s not believing. And didn’t she laugh in disbelief when the Angel of the Lord told her she was going to have a son?” (Genesis 18:12)
“Yes,” I answered.
“There you have it,” Kathy said, with an air of finality.
So the root of the drama was Sarai’s unbelief. And as I thought about it, I realized that most of the drama I’ve endured in my own life, and that I’ve observed in the lives of others, has stemmed from an unbelief in God’s word.
Quite often this has been because either I myself or the other people involved aren’t spending time in God’s word, or in church, or both to begin with. When I’m not hearing God’s word I’m not giving myself the opportunity to believe God’s word and I lose trust in God’s plan for my future.
When I’m spending time in God’s word and in church I tend to rest in His plan for my future. I tend to live with the attitude that all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)
Romans 10:17 says that “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (KJV)
The bottom line is that you and I will find the emotional drama in our live’s to be inversely proportional to the amount of time we’re spending in God’s word.
So spend time with Him.
Read His word daily.
Pray to Him, converse with Him.
Go to church. For…
…he that believeth shall not make haste.
(Isaiah 28:16 KJV)
Or as the New Living Translation says,
Whoever believes need never be shaken.
“You know, as a man, if I post these thoughts concerning Sarai’s behavior, I could come under some heavy criticism,” I commented to Kathy.
“Yes, I guess you could.”
“What do you think about the idea of me quoting you?”
“Go for it,” Kathy said.
If this doesn’t work out — I sure hope I don’t get blamed for it.