We kick off chapter 16 with Sarai, Abram’s wife being impatient and reacting to her assumptions that God is not honoring his commitment to her husband.
She clearly grew weary that she was going to not be able to give Abram the Heir to the kingdom that God promised him.
In her hasty reaction she honestly in today’s standards did the unthinkable. She literally told him to sleep with another woman, Hagar her servant. Can you imagine for a moment telling your spouse hey sleep with this person? For the life of me I cannot wrap my mind around how she could arrive at that place. The only thing I can think about is fear. Fear that God’s promise would never come and fear that she would be a disappointment to her husband.
Hagar found out she was pregnant and literally started developing negative feelings towards Abrams first wife Sarai. As a result Sarai showing signs of Jealousy in return started to mistreat Hagar and Hagar picked up and fled.
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
When Hagar was running away while pregnant she encountered an Angel of the Lord and he flat-out told her to go back to Sarai and be willing to submit to her again. He made a promise to Hagar that her son would have a very large lineage.
Can you imagine being in Hagar’s shoes for a minute.. its easy for us to say Hagar was a horrible person because she was willing to become a second wife to a man who was already spoken for and she would sleep with him. But lets for a moment think about her circumstances. In those times when a master of a servant or from a female perspective “Mistress” is what a woman was called that was ruler over a servant; told a servant to do something it was an absolute the servant follow through. Hagar was simply acting on that command her Mistress Sarai gave her.
There become a discord between them and a flood of jealousy from Sarai’s perspective because right off the bat Hagar gave Abram a son and what did she have to offer him except the inability to have children..
So Hagar doing all she was asked and now pregnant and going through the struggles of child-birth is now being mistreated in harsh ways by Sarai. What an intense situation those 3 were in and soon to be a 4th with Hagar’s soon to be born son.
I can say chapter 16 is packed full of:
- Adultery and more..
The Covenant of Circumcision
What an amazing clarity on the purpose of Circumcision. However more than that this chapter 17 is where we God appeared before Abram and declared himself God Almighty and establishes his covenant with Abram.
17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[e]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
It’s important to know that the Bible does not say that Abram actually gets to see the face of God instead he lands face down on the ground in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.
Abram now becomes Abraham as we have known through story’s that have been told in Sunday school. God literally tells him he will be the father of many nations and kings will come from his descendants.
God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant,you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
One thing I never realized is God makes circumcision a requirement and not only that but he gives an actual timeline of how old the boy should be when the circumcision is done.
There has been so much debate over the years since I was a boy of whether or not someone should get circumcised or not. Lets look at this from a biblical perspective there is no debate to be had. God flat-out states in verse 14 that those who do not get circumcised in the flesh gets cut off from his people because that person breaks God’s covenant.
What about those who come to know Jesus later in life because they were not raised in a Christian Home?
I know God stated in the old testament that it had to be done within 8 days of a child’s birth but God also knows that others come to know Christ later in life and often this wasn’t an option growing up. Like Abraham one can choose to get the operation later in life though that in modern times can pose health risks.
I would like to revisit this topic later as we get into the New Testament and go through the Gospels of Jesus Christ.
Sarai later in the chapter was named Sarah and God told Abraham that Sarah would not produce a son named “Isaac” and would establish the Covenant with Isaac. Its fascinating really when you dive into this and learn about how this all started and everything in our world wear it roots from.
So within the next year God told Abraham that Sarah was going to give him a child. From this point forward as God commanded Abraham circumcised everyone in his house including Ishmael however the Covenant God said he would only make with the house of Isaac. He did however promise abundant blessings for Ishmael and from Ishmael there would be 12 rulers of 12 kingdoms.
In chapter 18 three visitors appears in front of Abraham
Turns out these guys are God’s Angels from the sound of it but even more than that check out what happen’s next:
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Can you imagine Sarah literally lied to God himself of course how much different is she then us.
Lets reflect on that a minute?
When we claim to be Christian’s and only attend church Sunday but live every other day living sin intentionally yet because we attend church on Sunday’s claim we are good and faithful Christians. That is a lie as well.
How often do we pray to God to help us and if he does we will do something in return and the moment things work out guess what back to your old behavior again.
The simple truth is we all lie to God everyday. The task at hand “Change this behavior”
Abraham’s please for Sodom:
God’s intention was to completely destroy Sodom because of the wickedness of the city but Abraham had the courage to challenge the Lord himself and asked him flat-out would you kill the righteous along with the wicked.
God said if you can find even 10 people who are righteous in the place it will be spared but the reality of this place is there wasn’t even 10 in the whole city.
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
What a trip we went through in today’s reading. Tell me what your thoughts are on what we read.