[Abraham] went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.
What happens when we run ahead of God? Abraham and Sarah found out the hard way. They came up with their own plan to fulfill God’s promise of a child: Sarah gave her slave, Hagar, to Abraham so he could have sex with her, and Hagar became pregnant. I can just picture Abraham saying, “Isn’t God great? He answers prayers!” But Genesis 16:4 says, “When [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.” Hagar had been the slave, but now that she was pregnant with Abraham’s child, she was the queen of the tent, so to speak. She began to look down on Sarah.
If you are a husband, I am going to give you an important word of counsel. Proverbs 30:21 says, “Under three things the earth quakes, and under four, it cannot bear up.” I want to focus on the fourth thing that will cause an earthquake in your home: “A maidservant when she supplants her mistress” (v. 23). Whenever someone or something–a child, a coworker, a job, a dream–replaces your wife as your primary object of affection, you are going to have an earthquake in your home.
There certainly was in Abraham’s tent. Genesis 16:5 says when Sarah saw how Hagar was despising her, she said to Abraham, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” She was saying, “Abraham, I cannot believe you did this to me. God is going to get you!”
If Abraham had been the spiritual leader he should have been, he would have said to Sarah, “We were wrong in running ahead of God. Let’s go to the altar together and confess the mistake we made to God.” But he did not do that. Look at verse 6: “Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.’ So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”
I want you to notice the result of running ahead of God here. Sarah was miserable; she felt like she had been cheated upon. Hagar was miserable; she was banished and left for dead in the wilderness. And Abraham was miserable; he thought the child he had wanted, the child he had prayed for, was banished from his presence forever. Running ahead of God always leads to bad decisions and painful consequences.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Walk, Don’t Run” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org