Remember a few weeks ago when I was a bit harsh on Abram in order to emphasize that even the great men of faith are sinful too? Well, the same is true of the great women of faith! This morning, we will look at Sarai’s lack of faith.
Please read Genesis 16:1-6.
Now, of course, Sarai is not completely at fault, for the Scripture clearly says that “Abram listened to the voice of Sarai,” and did what she suggested. Abram could have said no. He could have refused her advice and chastised her for her lack of faith. But he didn’t. So he too is to blame for what happens, but the focus of the passage is on Sarai.
God had promised Abram that his offspring would be blessed, and it is only natural to assume that his offspring would be the children of both Abram and his wife, Sarai. Yet, Sarai starts thinking to herself, “maybe God’s whole purpose all along was not that I would bear Abram a blessed son, but that my maidservant would do so.”
This is absolute foolishness! God Himself presided over the first marriage ceremony, and throughout Scripture He emphasizes the importance of marriage being between one man and one woman for life. Marriage will even later be recognized as a symbol of Christ’s relationship to the church. To think that God would condone or even suggest that a man should have sex with someone other than his wife, is borderline blasphemy!
Perhaps, Sarai had the best of intentions. Maybe she was trying to ‘help’ God’s plans to happen by providing Hagar to bear a child. Maybe she has come up with the perfect plan for Abram to have a blessed descendant. But, in thinking that she needs to help God, she is walking in the way of Cain.
As we talked about in our sermon on Jude, Cain thought he knew better than God, and so offered a sacrifice that God had not commanded. Cain thought he knew better than God, so he refused to humble himself and instead murdered his brother out of anger and pride. False teachers are walking in the way of Cain by acting like they know better than God’s clear revelation. And Sarai is walking in the way of Cain, by accusing God of closing her womb and suggesting an alternative way for Abram to have a son—a way that God has never commanded, condoned, or even suggested, and that clearly goes against His designed covenant of marriage.
It’s no wonder that her plan ultimately fails. Sure, Hagar becomes pregnant, but now there is strife within the family—Hagar “looked with contempt on her mistress.” So much so that Sarai blames Abram, and "dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her"!
The best laid plans of men and women are foolishness in the sight of God. Sarai simply needed a little more faith in God, and He would soon have provided a child for both her and Abram in the manner which He originally intended. Instead, she grew tired of waiting for God, and thought that she needed to help Him along.
How dare we get so prideful that we think God needs our help! God needs nothing from us. He chooses to use us for His purposes so that we may have the privilege of being used by Him. If God allows us to lead someone to salvation, we should give Him the praise. If God allows us to serve in the church, we should give Him the praise. If God allows us to works mighty miracles and move mountains out of faith, we should never be able to say that it was because of our great planning or strategy, but we should give Him all the praise. He alone is worthy.
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