“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.” Genesis 16:2

As Sarah reached her mid-seventies, her faith was probably growing weak at times.  Waiting this long for a promise to be fulfilled had to be very disheartening. What she lacked now was not endurance but trust in God.  She made a decision that would affect her rights and privileges as a wife.  She instructed Abraham that she wanted him to have a child by her Egyptian servant, Hagar.  Abraham did as she told him.  This was probably an accepted practice in those days, to continue a family lineage.

We may look at this as a weakness in Sarah’s faith, but it also shows her genuine concern in the situation. She shows a courageous spirit by taking this desperate measure, which probably was far from her innermost desire.  Yet, she loved her husband and wanted to ensure that Abraham had descendants to carry on his name.  Instead of being depressed and murmuring or despairing she acted.

When Hagar became pregnant, we are told that she despised Sarah in her heart.  Why did Sarah get upset about this?  One reason could have been than now she knew she was the one unable to have a child and not Abraham.  Or perhaps, Hagar’s loyalty had been in question before this. Abraham reminded Sarah that she had a right to discipline her servant.  When Sarah dealt harshly with her, Hagar ran away, but the Angel of the Lord convinced her to return to the camp.

Infertility is not a punishment.  God had a perfect plan in place and when the time was right, Abraham and Sarah would have a child.  We often judge Sarah for taking things into her own hands and trying to rush God’s plan.  But if we were in her position, might we not have reacted in the same way.

From this situation, we can learn lessons of patience and endurance.  God’s timing is always perfect.  If He has made a promise, we can rest assured that He will bring it to pass.  It’s hard to wait, but it is worth it.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus for all the promises that you have given us, help us to trust you and wait patiently for your perfect timing.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

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