I had a weight come off me while reading today. And that was one of perfection. I am glad the bible shows us people’s imperfection and that God still called them His. Some parts are confusing to me, and I hope I get answers.
In Chapter 16, we see Sarai become impatient, and wanted to make having a child happen. She suggested Abram took her servant, Hagar, as his wife. Abram agreed. See a similarity in Eve approaching Adam to eat the forbidden apple? Women are strong! Anyway, Hagar became pregnant and then disregarded Sarai, which made the latter jealous. Sarai blamed Abram for Hagar’s behavior, and I think the guy had had it. He told her to do whatever she wanted, and Sarai began treating Hagar so bad that Hagar had to run away.
A commentary had said we don’t know details surrounding how Sarai asked Hagar to be Abram’s wife. Hagar may not have had a say and was forced to marry since she was just a servant. One thing I know, reading through the different reactions, is that we all are the same. We have heard/read familiar stories like this.
Hagar seemed not to feel “seen” by anyone, as she gives God a new name in 16:13 El Roi, meaning the God who sees me. We also see the blessings that came to Hagar’s son, Ishmael, and she was also asked to go back to meet Sarah and submit to her authority. Hmmm… Although Abraham and Sarah’s approach was not what God had in mind, we can term it as a ‘mistake’; God still used it for their good and didn't hold it against them on his promise of their own child.
In Chapter 17, Abram was transformed to Abraham (verse 5), and Sarai to Sarah (verse 15). God still promised Abraham a child, which by now, he found ridiculous. I imagine him saying, “God stop it now, stop that joke.” In this chapter, Abraham obeyed God by having his household (male) circumcised.
In Chapter 18, there was another confirmation of a child through the men Abraham hosted. This time, Sarah did the laughing. When she was confronted about her disbelief, she lied, “No, I didn’t”. “Yes, you did”. 🙂 God still blessed her. My learnings here:
- Don’t let society’s timeline define you.
- Substitutes won’t fulfil you.
- All things work together for my good, even my mistakes
- My faith doesn’t have to be perfect for God to bless me. I simply need a faith as small as a mustard seed.
- God keeps His promises, not ours.
- Nothing is impossible.
- God is not punishing me when he is not giving me what I want. It can come immediately, later or never; he knows best.
Further in Chapter 18, we see Abraham speak to God and intercede on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah because of Lot. Again, the conversation reminds me of one with my kids.
“Mama, if I read for 1 hour, can I have my tablets?” “Yes”. Mama, what if I read for 45 minutes, can I still have it? “Yes” “Mama, what if I read for 30 minutes….”
I am usually done with the conversation at this point, as I know my 9YO is now being mischievous. If I let her, she’ll go on and on. But notice how God allowed Abraham. Very patient. God was milling to have mercy on the city if only one righteous person was found.
In 18:20 however, since God is all-knowing, why did he have to go to Sodom and Gomorrah to confirm things for Himself. Also, in the entire chapter 18 and when an angel appeared to Hagar in Chapter 16, it kept saying the Lord spoke. Was it the Lord or the angels that visited Abraham and Hagar? Or God simply spoke through the angels? It is not entirely clear.