Oh what a tangled web we weave when we try to activate the hand of God in our own logic and wisdom. Sarah had been promised a male heir and that a great nation would come from her womb. Yet here she was an elderly woman and still childless. Instead of persevering in her faith, she gave her slave Hagar to Abram, reasoning that this may be the way to see God’s promise realized. But beware of trying to accomplish the Lord’s will in your own strength. Sarah tried to take a shortcut to God’s will, but instead this started factionalism and wars between the children of Israel and the children of Ishmael that have resonated down through the ages to our very day.
(Genesis 16) 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. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 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.”
6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. 7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, the Lord has heard of your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone God everyone’s hand against him, all his brothers.”