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Genesis 16:1-3

The Plan

1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.


It is easy to say that everyone must submit himself or herself to God. To trust Christ with every aspect of our lives is the essence of being Christian, but many fall short of that goal, because they do not understand how God works. Once a person is given an understanding of God's will for his life, he will usually begin to make a plan, set goals, and gather the necessary tools that he will need to accomplish it. That is exactly where he begins to stray from God's will.

God accomplishes His own will in His own way. His thoughts and His ways are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth. He needs neither our plans nor our goals. Our job is simply to trust Him. The only thing that we can do is to mess things up, but we just never seem to learn. The result is that we work toward admirable goals with incredibly stupid and wicked methods.

Abram was no different than the rest of us. In Genesis 15:4 God told him that he would have an heir from his own seed. He would not leave his inheritance to a servant, but to a biological son. The problem is that God did not tell Abram how this was to happen. He wanted Abram to simply trust Him.

In our scripture for today, we find Sarai and Abram planning how they would accomplish God's will for their lives. All her life Sarai had been unable to bear children. Now she was old, and it was difficult for her to understand how she could possibly fulfill the promise that God had made to Abram. Then, she came up with a plan!

Sarai had an Egyptian handmaid. This meant that she owned this person. It was common in those days for wealthy women to give their handmaids for their husbands to father children. Since the handmaid was the property of the wife, the wife also owned the children and could raise them as her own. This would not be the case, if her husband took another wife or a concubine, who was merely a second class wife.

Sarai's plan was to use Hagar, her handmaid, as a surrogate mother. Her reasoning for this was sound by human standards. God wanted Abram to have children, but He had shut Sarai's womb. It was reasonable to believe, therefore, that God wanted them to accomplish His will some other way. The most common way, the world's way, was for her to give her handmaid to Abram.

We are told in verse three that Sarai gave Hagar to Abram "to be his wife." It is impossible to know whether Sarai understood that in God's eyes this was polygamy or whether Moses inserted the phrase to remind us of the fact. In the culture in which they lived, Hagar would not have been considered to be a wife. However, it was wrong and was bound to cause the couple problems, as we shall later see.

The real sin, of course, was that they did not trust God to accomplish His will and purpose without their help. They did what we Christians always seem to be doing. Instead of allowing God to work through them, they took over and tried to do it themselves.

How often have people been hurt in the church, because the pastor or the minister of music decided to follow God's will? "This is what God wants to do this Sunday and we can't do it with that person in that position. We need to find someone else." It is amazing how easily we transition our thinking from what "God wants to do" to what "we have to do."

God wants to do amazing things in your life and ministry. The only thing you need to do is to trust Him and to submit yourself to him in prayer and availability.

Before The Throne:

Do you know God's will for your life? If things are not going well, perhaps you need to lay aside your plans and begin to trust in Him for the results. Confess to Him your lack of faith. Submit your ministry and your work to Him. Commit yourself to being available, but let the miracles up to Him. Spend more time praying and less time planning.

For Further Study:

(v.1)
** bare. Gen 15:2,3; 21:10,12; 25:21; Jud 13:2; Lu 1:7,36; ** Egyptian. Gen 12:16; 21:9,21; ** name. Ga 4:24;

(v.2) ** the Lord. Gen 17:16; 18:10; 20:18; 25:21; 30:2,3,9,22; Ps 127:3; ** obtain children. Gen 30:3,6; Ex 21:4; Ru 4:11; ** hearkened. Gen 3:1-6,12,17;

(v.3) ** A.M. 2093. B.C. 1911. had. Gen 12:4,5; ** gave. Gen 30:4,9; ** his. Gen 25:6; 28:9; 32:22; 35:22; Jud 19:1-4; 2Sa 5:13; 1Ki 11:3; Ga 4:25;

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