And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. Genesis 16:2
God made a promise to Abram in Genesis 12 to make him a great nation. He reiterates the promise in Genesis 13, “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth…” And again in Genesis 15, “Your very own son shall be your heir.”
God promised Abram that he shall have a son even though Sarai was barren. Sarai seemed to think God was not keeping His promise or at least not in the way she thought, so she decides to help Him along by offering her Egyptian servant Hagar to her husband Abram as another wife.
Perhaps, she thinks, Hagar will give Abram the promised son.
“And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”
As I read this section of scripture for the umpteenth time I wondered to myself, how many times have I offered unbelieving advice that flew in the face of faith?
Scripture doesn’t tell us if Abram was hesitant or willing to go along with Sarai’s plan but we do know he did go along with her plan.
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Galatians 4:22-23
What Sarai was missing was that only God Himself could keep His promise because it would take His supernatural power to accomplish – human effort would not fulfill His promise.
The verse from Genesis 4 shows this distinction. Sarai’s logic and plan, which Abram went along with (he was responsible for his own choice), resulted in the natural conception, through the natural means, resulting in the natural birth of a son to Hagar, the Egyptian servant. He was born of a slave according to the flesh. This was not the choice faith would require – it was evidence of unbelief on Sarai and Abram’s part.
The offspring God promised Abram and Sarai would require His supernatural intervention. Since Sarai was barren and well past child-bearing years, the son born to her and Abram was born through God’s promise.
How often do we fail to see with eyes of faith, reasoning our way to a solution that requires only human effort, robbing ourselves or others of experiencing the mighty hand of God in our lives?
After serving 16 years full-time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane Hunt and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part-time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a Biblical Counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.