Sunday, July 11, 2021

Genesis 16 Devotional Bible Study by Steve Wilson

Genesis 16

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 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. 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. 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 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.

 

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 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.

 

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,[a]
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward[b] all his brothers.”

 

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

 

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

 

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 16:11 Ishmael means God hears.
  2. Genesis 16:12 Or live to the east / of
  3. Genesis 16:13 Or seen the back of
  4. Genesis 16:14 Beer Lahai Roi means well of the Living One who sees me.

 

 

Whose Fault?

Genesis 16:1-2

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 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.”

 

Whose fault is it when bad things happen to you? Who can you point the finger at and pin the blame on?

 

Sarai was unfortunate enough not to have ever had children even though she desperately wanted them. In this conversation with her husband, she blames God for her misfortune, saying that God has kept her from having children.

 

The Bible doesn't say that God had anything to do with Sarai's inability to conceive. It may have simply been a bad thing that happened to her. But instead of accepting her situation for the natural condition it was, she pointed the finger at God.

 

When she decided – note that God didn't give her this idea – to have Abram sleep with Hagar, she was jealous of the resulting pregnancy and blamed Abram, saying he was responsible for the situation.

 

When she mistreated Hagar, she was responsible for Hagar running away.

 

In all of these instances, Sarai tried to blame someone for her problems instead of simply accepting them and dealing with them maturely.

 

We all have problems. Bad things happen to us. But at no time is God the source of those bad things happening. God loves us and only wishes to bless us. In fact, if Sarai would have been patient, she would have found God blessing her with her own child soon enough.


God does not cause bad things to happen to us. But if we will be patient and conduct ourselves maturely instead of blaming Him and others for our misfortunes, He will eventually help us.

 

What situations can you recall God helping you with? Can you have faith enough to know that He's going to help again?

 

 

Abram Agrees

Genesis 16:1-2

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 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.

 

I don’t know how good-looking Hagar was, but Abram seems very willing to go along with Sarai’s plan. It makes me wonder how easy it is for us to be convinced to take part in a less-than-godly activity. If someone proposes something that sounds like a good idea and makes sense from a human point of view, is it easy for you to go along with it? Or are you more cautious and take a step back to ask the Lord what He thinks? It seems that neither Sarai nor Abram did much praying over this decision.

 

And though Sarai may have been suggesting this plan of action out of pure motives – to help her family –it still reminds me a lot of the scene between the serpent and Eve, and between Eve and Adam. Were Adam and Eve secretly wanting to give in to the temptation, and that’s why they were so easy to convince? Did Abram find the idea of taking another woman so pleasurable that he didn’t want to ask God’s opinion? Did he consider this possibility of finally having children so expedient that he didn’t want to wait to see if God had another idea?

 

Pray that the Lord gives you a pure and steadfast heart so that you won’t be swayed by temptations disguised as smart-sounding opportunities. Ask Him to give you a mind filled with wisdom to see through the mistaken “logic” of human ideas. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your inspiration and guide, leading you toward His plan from the beginning so that you can recognize the false paths others set in front of you.


Our good Father will show you the way if you wait on Him.

 

 

Despise

Genesis 16:5

“I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me.”

 

What might cause you to despise someone? What makes you feel that you’re better than someone else?

 

Hagar looked down on Sarai because she had done something that Sarai couldn’t. She had succeeded where Sarai failed. The slave was now the master, the more desirable wife, and both of them knew it. You can imagine the attitude Hagar gave Sarai when the older woman asked her to do something. “Why should I serve you? I’m the one giving Abram a child, after all!”

 

Even though we would consider Hagar the victim of the story by today’s standards, this passage reminds us that we’re all better than some people at certain things. We all have a measure of skill, opportunity, and luck that some others around us don’t share. When we are blessed, we need to maintain an attitude of humility toward others and recognize that we could lose our good fortune very easily.

 

How is God calling you to behave more humbly toward others?


 

It’s in Your Hands

Genesis 16:6

“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.”

 

“Do with her whatever you think best”?! What about what God thinks best? Abram is so hands-off (except when he’s very hands-on) in this story. But we can be like him sometimes, can’t we?

 

Are there times when you see something wrong happening, maybe someone being mistreated, and decide not to get involved? Do you ever feel a stirring in your heart to take action against some injustice but then quash that feeling by telling yourself that you don’t have time or that it would be too much trouble to do something about it? Maybe you’re like Abram in this story and don’t want to turn someone’s anger toward you, so instead, you say nothing about their sin.

 

While we all fail to take opportunities to stand up for what’s right every day, we also recognize that Abram’s laissez-faire approach in this episode is not to be respected. So, what can we do to make sure we’re not following in his footsteps in this regard?

 

Ask God to make you passionate about what He is. Our Father is a God of love and justice. He is righteous and holy. Nothing escapes His notice, and He never looks the other way. Ask Him to remind you on a daily basis that nothing is as important in this life as joining Him in His work and being an ambassador for Him. We are His spokespeople. We need to speak up.


 

 

Where Are You Now?

Genesis 16:7-8

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

 

Notice what the angel asks Hagar. “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” When we feel lost in life, it’s important to ask ourselves these two questions.

 

Let’s start with the first part of the question, your past. What has God brought you out of? How has He led you to grow and mature in Him? What has your walk with Him been like? Has He ever failed you? What prayers has He answered for you up to now?

 

And now for the second part, your future. What has God called you to? Where is He leading you? Are you keeping in mind His promise of providing you an eternal home with Him?


When we remember where we’ve been with the Lord and where we’re going with Him, it’s easier to put our present in perspective. Remember that your Father has always been faithful to You, and He always will be, even in this current circumstance.

 

 

The Rewards of Submission

Genesis 16:9

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

 

This is not what Hagar wanted to hear. She probably wanted the angel to say, “Oh, you poor thing, you’ve been so mistreated. Here, let me make you the mistress of your own household.”

 

But that’s not what God did for her then. In fact, in the previous verse, he called her the “slave of Sarai” reminding her of her situation in life and seemingly not interested in changing it.

 

And much to our frustration, God often isn’t in as much of a hurry to change our situations as we want Him to be. While He wants to alleviate suffering and bring us joy, He’s more interested in making us holy than in making us happy. Like Hagar, He wants us to learn how to grow and mature in our present situations instead of trying to escape them. He wants to teach us endurance, patience, humility, and contentment instead of how to give up and move on.


While there are some circumstances that God wants you to leave immediately, think about the current situation you’re in that you wish was different. What is God wanting to teach you through it before it’s over? Don’t miss the lesson for the sake of a quick exit.

 

 

The God Who Sees Me

Genesis 16:13

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”


Hagar found herself in a desperate situation. She was taken advantage of, then mistreated, and finally forced to flee. She had taken more than she could handle.

 

And then God finds her. God comes to her and speaks to her and blesses her. Afterward, she acknowledges that God is the one who sees her.

 

Do you know that God sees you too? No matter what you're going through, God sees it, and He sees you. Even now, He is coming to you, speaking to you, telling you He cares for you and wants to bless you. Can you hear it? Listen to His voice speaking into your heart. Listen for His Spirit speaking to your spirit. Let His words take shape in your mind.

 

He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He cares about you, and He will bless you.

 

 

 

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