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Genesis 16:1-12 (NIV)
Hagar and Ishmael
16 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, 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 all his brothers.”
Puritan Joseph Caryl wrote: “Faith is a sword that can slay four monsters of the sinful heart.” Discontentment, Envy, Pride, Contempt
Which monster is found in each text?
Is there some way you may need to apply your faith to one or more of these monsters?
How often do we come from meager beginnings, where we struggle and pray and yearn for Your blessing, for success and accomplishments? When we achieve our desired status our attitudes change, we become proud and seem to forget where our success came from. After Hagar became pregnant, she began to think she was better than Sarai because she was blessed by Heaven to carry Abram’s child. She looked scornfully on her mistress and no longer submitted to Sarai as she had previously done. One sin leads to another and the situation between the women escalated. It is not until she was in the wilderness that she was willing to listen and go back to submit to her mistress and husband. Forgive me when I start to think I am better than others because of things I have accomplished, people I know, or things that I have accumulated. Help me to not forget that all of the blessings in my life came from You. By your great mercy please help me to recognize my sin of pride before I hurt myself or others. When I go astray, You lovingly lead me into a wilderness, and there You meet me. There You humble me, teach me and help guide me back to You. As uncomfortable as that can be, I thank You, Father. Guide me through Your Word and time in prayer to prevent the hurtful results of sin. I pray that my life is submissive to Your wisdom, dependent on Your promise, obedient to Your Word. Amen