Daily Word

Doing God’s work | Genesis 16:1-6

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him a child, but she had an Egyptian slave woman whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please have relations with my slave woman; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And so after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave woman, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife.

4 Then he had relations with Hagar, and she conceived; and when Hagar became aware that she had conceived, her mistress was insignificant in her sight. 5 So Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be upon you! I put my slave woman into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was insignificant in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your slave woman is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.

Genesis 16:1-6 (NASB)

Faith tested

Sarai is getting along in years and has no son. She was possibly embarrassed by it. Maybe she was angry at God. She used human reasoning to come to the conclusion that since she had no children, maybe God would do it another way. The people around them probably held this belief and practice so she followed it.

Why was Sarai barren? We don’t know for sure but this must have tested her faith. 

Did she know?

Did Sarai know of God’s promise to Abram? Considering how often and in what impressive ways God spoke to Abram I have to believe he told his wife. The better question may be, did she believe? Did she have the faith Abram was recognized for? Let’s remember they didn’t have a Bible to go to for wisdom and direction, nor the Spirit dwelling in them.

Faith fails

This man of faith of whom it was declared, “He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6), commits another faithless act. A previous one was lying to Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister to save his hide. He listens to his wife rather than lead his wife. 

”Abram should have said something like this: ’Sarai, bless your heart – but you’re my wife and we’re in this together. Difficult as it is, let’s believe God all over again for a miracle. I don’t want to sin against God and our marriage with this Egyptian servant girl.’” (enduringword.com)

Trouble brewing

Rather than trusting God and doing it His way, they decided they’d do God’s work for Him. This is going to lead to trouble that lasts, believe it or not, to today. Hagar’s son, Ishmael, becomes the father of the Arabs.


  • Do you find yourself lacking faith in God’s promises in His word? Are you trying to do His job? Even something as righteous as saving souls can become wrong when we try to do the saving! When we try to convince the nonbeliever of their need for salvation – a job only the Spirit can do.
Work & play. Image from pxfuel.com

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