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Sarai and Abram’s Shortcut to God’s Will

Have you ever been tempted to take a shortcut to what you believe to be God's will? The Lord promised Abraham that he would be the father of a multitude, but there was a problem, Sarah was way past having children. How does one get to have many descendants if his wife is barren? Here’s the text:

1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress (Genesis 16:1-4).

Sometimes we get desperate and look for a logical way around a situation. Sarah thought about her handmaid—Abraham could have a child through Hagar, and it could be called Sarai's (her name was changed to Sarah later). The shortcut was at the initiation of Sarai, perhaps because she felt guilty about holding Abraham back from his dream of being a father. When people get desperate to obtain something, against their better judgment, they often resort to a shortcut. Sarai began to think that maybe God's way was for their family to be built around Hagar, their servant girl from Egypt.

Sarai's motive was probably good, but a good motivation does not make things right. Sarai loved her husband and trusted him implicitly and was willing to sacrifice even their intimacy with one another for his vision and dream to be fulfilled. This commitment to the vision says a lot about Sarai's godly character. There is no evidence that Abram and Sarai stopped to think about the consequences of what they were about to do. This act of going outside their intimacy together was a life-changing decision, and the text has no hint that they asked God about it. Having sex outside of their marriage is a low point in Abram's faith walk. For him to go ahead with this shortcut even when he knew that this was not God's way was resorting to man's way of doing things.

Abram is not a picture of a godly husband at this time of his life. His first response to Sarai's idea should have been a courageous, "absolutely not!" Did Hagar have any say in the matter? I'm sure they asked her, but she would have thought that it would have meant her job if she didn't go ahead, and the couple would choose another of the slave girls. Hagar became a second wife to Abram, but the Lord had already revealed His will that a man would leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). God had not changed His mind and allowed for a threesome!

Things are about to get complicated for Abram and Sarai. It does not take a lot of imagination to see how this affected their relationship, home life, and faith. Culture and traditions may change, but there are at least two things that do not; the Word of God and fundamental human nature. It never works out when we try to do shortcuts to our faith walk. It honors the worldly way of doing things rather than honoring the Lord and walking by faith. There are no shortcuts to faith in God and walking in the ways of the Lord. We are to live our lives utterly devoted to God and His ways, not the ways of this world. Keith Thomas

Taken from the complete study found in the series on Abraham. Go to All Studies, scroll down to The Faith of Abraham and click on study 3. Abraham’s Shortcut


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