Friday, March 8, 2019
Sometimes our faith in God’s promises is tested by another person’s lack of faith. Abram has just been through some exciting faith-building experiences, including an upward look into the spiritual kingdom of God that would result from God’s covenant with him. However, his wife was not on the same page. Read about it in today’s story:
Genesis 16:1-6 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. 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 servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” “Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
We can only speculate as to why Sarai didn’t have the faith of her husband Abram. Was she tired of the social stigma of being childless? Was she simply devising a plan to protect herself as her husband had done when they went to Egypt? Did she know more about Abram’s doubts than we are told because she lived with him every day? Did she think that God had given her special permission to break His covenant because the end would justify the means?
Whatever the reason for her small faith, Sarai’s plan was to help God out in the accomplishment of making Abram the father of a great nation. In presenting the plan to her husband, she justifies it by blaming God for her condition. She demonstrates no faith in the power of God to change her current condition. She only has faith in her ability to fix the condition according to human reason. Abram’s response shows us that his faith still had some growing up to do also. He accepts the plan and participates in it.
Just think of all of the emotional tension that must have existed between Sarai and Abram. Both want God’s promise to be fulfilled, but for different reasons. Sarai wants a family. She wants to be a respected part of society. She has given up hope that it will happen naturally for her, so she chooses to give another woman to her husband and share him with her. She is willing to suffer those emotional consequences for the emotional benefits she hopes will come later.
Abram also wants a family, not for the emotional benefit but rather for the spiritual. His motives may be purer, but his method is still wrong. In fact, we can call his motives sinful, because Romans 14:23 says that “everything that does not come from faith is sin.” When, because our faith is weak, we set aside the power and provision of God and use our power and provision to accomplish His promise, we sin.
My friends, there are some important issues for us to consider in this story as they relate to our own walks of faith.
- How many of our choices are made based on human reason and understanding rather than faith in God’s purpose and plan?
- How many of our choices are based on emotional responses to circumstances rather than faith in God’s power to provide?
- How many of our choices are our attempts to hurry the process and bring to fulfillment the promises of God?
- How many of our choices are responses to our emotional need to fit in and be accepted by others?
Consider carefully your circumstances right now, and before you make your plans, seek God’s purpose and trust His promise. Your faith will grow, and God’s glory will be experienced.