Abraham, in our text, was a righteous man, no doubt about it — but he made some decisions that would come back to hurt him later on.
It was this Abram whose name was later changed to Abraham. Remember, God called him to leave his people in Haran, his father and his kin folk in Genesis chapter 12? God told him that he would make him a great nation, that he would bless him and make his name great, that his seed would be as the sand of the sea. Now if you remember you know that his wife had bore him no children, after many tries having come up empty and void.
But she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. Abram’s wife said to him “now you know the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid and sleep with her; perhaps I can obtain children through her.” A flesh move! What was she thinking? Did she forget that the Lord had promised them children? How many barren wives tell their husbands, “I can’t have any children for you, and since I can’t have any children for you go in and sleep with my maid and we will have children through her?”
Now understand community, that it was the custom of that day that a barren woman could give her maid unto her husband as a wife, and the child born of that union was regarded as the first wife’s child. I didn’t say it was right, I said it was the custom of that day.
So she takes Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gives her to her husband to be his wife. They both take matters into her own hands. Abram sleeps with Hagar the maid and she becomes pregnant. And when Sarai — who would later be named Sarah — saw that Hagar was pregnant for Abraham, then she began to despise her maid. Let me tell us here today that whenever there is a flesh move and we take matters into our own hands we will always regret it!
Understand community, that with the Lord there is always a process. He doesn’t move according to our timing. For those who are in the middle of something today and praying, understand that if you belong to him and are walking according to his word that he heard you the first time you prayed, but he knows better than you do what to do and when to do it!
Sometimes God’s answer to prayer is “yes, I’ll do it right now!” Sometimes his answer is “no, it’s not spiritually good for you!” And sometimes his answer is “wait! I’ll do it when the time is right!”
If you read you will discover that Sarai then began to mistreat Hagar her maid so that she fled and ran away with her child (Gen. 16:6). You see what Abram did didn’t just affect him. It affected his wife, his maid and Ishmael their son. For if they had just waited for the Lord to move, if they had just hung in there and trusted in his word; the plan would have unfolded.
Sarah had Abraham a son in his old age (Gen. 21:2). Job in the midst of his tragedy said “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come (Job 14:14b). Good things come to those who wait.
The Rev. George T. Eillis is pastor of Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Laurinburg.