Questions for Littles: What hadn’t Sarai, Abram’s wife, done (v1)? What did she have? Whom did Sarai say had kept her from bearing children (v2)? By whom did she suggest that Abram produce a child? What did Abram listen to? What did Sarai do with Hagar in v3? How long had Abram lived in Canaan at this point? What happened to Sarai, in Hagar’s eyes, when Hagar became pregnant with a baby (v4)? What did Sarai say to Abram, when Hagar looked down on her (v5)? What did Abram do to Hagar in v6? What did Sarai do? How did Hagar respond? Who finds her in the wilderness (v7)? What does He call her? What does He ask her? How does Hagar answer? What does the Angel of Yahweh command in v9? What does He promise her that He will do in v10? What is she to call her child (v11)? Why? What does Yahweh say about the child in v12? What does Hagar call Yahweh in v13? What else came to be known by that name (v14)? How old was Abram when Ishmael was born (v15-16)?In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, the Lord displayed Himself as the God who hears and the God who sees… and is still gracious!
It’s that last part that is so amazing. We don’t have a very flattering picture of our father in the faith in this chapter. He lets his wife take the lead and accepts her sinful plan. He commits adultery. When the results aren’t what she had hoped, he doesn’t protect the vulnerable woman in his home, but hands her over to harsh treatment.
And all of this, while we are being reminded that Yahweh is the God who hears and the God who sees. Surely, the Lord’s choosing and calling are entirely by grace!!
Such a merciful, forgiving God is surely worthy of our patience. It had been ten years since Abram entered the land. That is true. But, Abram had also received that glorious covenant ceremony in chapter 15! And, if they were really recognizing that it was the Lord who was closing Sarai’s womb, would it make any sense to try and fulfill God’s promises themselves by sinning?
I’m afraid that all of our sin is like that. The Lord has already promised us every blessing in heaven and on earth in Christ Jesus. So, whenever we sin in order to try to get something (or get out of something), aren’t we basically saying, “I don’t trust you to bless me; so, I’m taking matters into my own hands”?!
Our sin sure is ugly, when we consider it. But, the whole point of this passage is that God was bringing Christ into the world—even through such a family as this. He is always truly the One who has matters in His hands.
Sometimes, He commands us to do right but difficult things, like “Go back to the person who is in authority over you, even though they recently haven’t been treating you well.” But He always does so in the midst of abundant promises that find their “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ. Ought we not patiently obey such a gracious God?!
In what situation right now, do you most need the reminder to patiently obey? Then how will you remind yourself of God’s promises in Christ?Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or HB144 “I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art”