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Genesis 16:4-6

Saving A Marriage

4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

The modern family is under severe attack. A recent survey indicated that, for the first time ever, the divorce rate is higher among church members than among people who are unchurched. This is an extremely disappointing statistic, which not only indicates the condition of the Christian family but also that of the church.

It tells us that our churches are not getting the message of Jesus Christ and His marvelous transforming power to their members. It tells us that people are being accepted as church members without having been truly born again by the Spirit of God. The divorce rate is an indicator that Jesus Christ is not the center of many so called Christian families, and that sin has taken them over.

The destructive power of sin should never be underestimated. Sin only needs to have its toe in the door of any home and, in the absence of Jesus Christ, it will get inside, take over, and cause dissent. With sin at the helm, a family's future is quickly determined by divorce court, custody battles, child support hearings and property settlements. Love is cast down and is replaced by bitterness, hatred and strife.

Abram and Sarai give us a perfect example of how quickly sin will pounce on its victims. They were nearly one hundred years old and ninety years old respectively. For most of their lives they had been happily married. God was the center of their life together. They had given up everything for Him, had moved to a strange land at His command, had been given wealth and power by Him, and had accepted His promises as truth. Together, Abram and Sarai had sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He gave them an abundance of all the other things that they needed.

One day, however, Sarai doubted that the Lord could use her to fulfill His promise to Abram, so she decided to help. That was sin's toehold into their marriage. She gave her handmaid Hagar to Abram for the purpose of conceiving the son that God had promised. Abram accepted her offer and committed the adulterous act, and Hagar became pregnant. Sin was in the door and immediately things began to get tense.

The first thing that happened was that Hagar lost all respect for her mistress, Sarai. A wife's most important job in that culture was to give her husband a son. Sarai had failed, but Hagar the slave had succeeded. Hagar must have thought that she would now be Abram's favorite and she showed contempt for Sarai.

Sarai was very upset and went to Abram saying, "My wrong be upon you!" She completely blamed Abram for his adultery and for the way that Hagar now treated her. "The Lord judge between me and thee!" As sin often does, it had wiped out any feelings of guilt for her own part in their situation. She was angry and the marriage was on fragile ground.

Fortunately, however, this was the product of one sin in a household that had always been God centered. With God's help, Abram regained his senses, saying, "Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee." How difficult it must have been for Abram to say those words! Hagar had his only son in her womb, but Abram still trusted God. Sarai had always been a faithful wife who submitted herself to him in selfless fashion. Abram knew that he was as guilty of this adultery as she was, so this time he would submit to her wishes. He would trust God and save his marriage.

Sarai treated Hagar harshly from then on, and Hagar fled from the house.

Sin does not have to destroy your marriage. Whatever it is that has begun to cause dissension within your family can be quickly corrected by turning control over to Jesus Christ. The healing process probably will not be easy. Like Abram, you will have to make some difficult decisions and sacrifice the products of your sin, but it will be worth it. God hates divorce and He hates the problems and strife that cause divorce. Learn to trust Him like Abram did.

Before The Throne:

Humbly present your family to Jesus Christ. If you are a young person living in a home full of strife, you can also call on God in prayer and ask Him to take over. Pray that God will show you how your sins have contributed to the problems in your family. Ask Him for the strength to repent. Pray for the other members of your family. Then ask God to show you how you can help them to bring Christ back into their lives and to make Him the center of your relationship. Do not think that this does not apply to you, for every family is constantly under attack.

For Further Study:

** her mistress. 1Sa 1:6-8; 2Sa 6:16; Pr 30:20,21,23; 1Co 4:6; 13:4,5;

(v.5) ** My wrong. Lu 10:40,41; ** the Lord. Gen 31:53; Ex 5:21; 1Sa 24:12-15; 2Ch 24:22; Ps 7:8; 35:23; 43:1;

(v.6) ** Abram. Gen 13:8,9; Pr 14:29; 15:1,17,18; 1Pe 3:7; ** in. Gen 24:10; Job 2:6; Ps 106:41,42; Jer 38:5; ** dealt hardly with her. Pr 29:19; ** fled. Ex 2:15; Pr 27:8; Ec 10:4;


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