Genesis 16:5-6 NLT
Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
Let’s put ourselves in Sarai shoes. We know that Abram spoke with God on numerous occasions about the son he was to have as an heir. God reassured him with such beautiful correspondence that His promise will certainly come to pass. It would stand to reason that Abram would communicate to Sarai on numerous occasions about “their son”. As his wife, Sarai would be anxious to please her husband, but try as they may, it just wasn’t happening.
Ten long years…
It would also stand to reason that Abram would constantly ask Sarai if she were pregnant yet. Imagine, every month for ten years Abram glances over at Sarai at the breakfast table with hopeful eyes. Sadly, she drops her chin and shakes her head no. Abram’s anxiety and unmet anticipation negatively affects Sarai.
And Sarai’s own identity as a woman, wife, and mother were not being fulfilled. Sarai desperately wanted a child. I am sure many tears were shed each disappointing time her cycle renewed itself. Not only that, but she has reached the age where menopause was setting in or was near completion. Her hope was dwindling and she was stressed out.
Last but not least, she carried the stigma and shame of barrenness. In Sarai’s world, barrenness was a sign of God’s withholding His favor. In her heart, she may have believed that God was displeased with her. She is also concerned that Abram also would be displeased with her as look down upon her as an inadequate wife unable to perform her duty. If that’s not bad enough, the respect and honor that came with her position as first lady of this extensive caravan might be questioned and challenged. Sarai was under a lot of pressure.
So, Sarai resorted to resolving this problem by conforming to the custom of the surrounding nations. She gives Abram her handmaid Hagar (The Other Woman) and plans to have a child through her. Hagar becomes pregnant and flaunts herself in front of Sarai, Abram, and the rest of the caravan as ‘the favored one’ by God and by Abram. The pressure is too much for Sarai to bear. She is incensed and squarely placed the blame of this entire situation on Abram. Sarai decrees that God will show Abram who is right or wrong in this situation! This statement “The Lord will show you who is right or wrong” is found ten more times in the Bible, all having to do with God’s judgement.
Who’s fault is it?
Abram realized that Sarai’s statement is true. He had placed a lot of anxiety and pressure on her. He understood the ‘why’ she came up with this plan. He agreed to it and didn’t try to stop it. As the head of the household, Abram is responsible for both of them and didn’t argue with her on that point. Abram owned up to Sarai’s actions and his own.
Both Sarai and Abram recognized God as Judge and they knew He would discern righteously concerning their actions. Abram dispenses a judgement accordingly.
First step to restoration
First, Abram restores Sarai back to her rightful place as God’s favored one, as his wife, and as first lady. He does this by demoting Hagar from wife to servant (she is your servant Genesis 16:6). Not is she only merely a servant, but specifically Sarai’s servant. Sarai needed security and Abram delivered.
Second step to restoration
Next, Hagar’s destiny was in Sarai’s hands. By demoting Hagar, Abram gave Sarai permission to do with Hagar as she pleased even though she was pregnant with his child. Sarai was reassured that she meant more to Abram than Hagar and the baby. It was a necessary step in restoring order and dispensing justice between God, himself, and Sarai. Sadly, Sarai was inexcusably harsh with Hagar. Desperate and frightened, Hagar ended up running away to save her life and the life of her unborn child.
What is the lesson here?
Situations happen to a couple throughout their married lives. At times, one partner is more vulnerable than the other. It is the responsibility of the stronger partner to reassure them they are invaluable and loved unconditionally.
Father, help me not to be consumed in my mind and emotions by desires that haven’t been fulfilled yet. It only makes me vulnerable. When my spouse is vulnerable, give me the grace to reassure them of their value to me. Help me to remove anything they may be threatened by and restore them to their rightful place in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
© 2019 foundedonthebible.com