So, why do wives have so much influence on their husbands? Why did Adam take the forbidden fruit from Eve? And why does Abram listen to Sarai and have a son with her maid, Hagar?? I think I need to look at this carefully in my own life and make sure I am an influence for good and not evil.
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” ~Genesis 16:1-2
So many things jump out at me from this chapter. How could a wife bear to think of her husband with another woman? Why did Abram think it was a good idea? How could they forget God and His plans so quickly? And did Sarai really think Hagar would give her the child as her own?
I know there were concubines and multiple wives in ancient cultures, but I doubt very much that the women liked it that way. We are told that when Hagar conceived, she despised Sarai, and Sarai regretted what she had suggested. She actually turned around and blamed Abram in vs. 5 ~ “And Sarai said to Abram, ‘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.'” So many marriages are broken because of infidelity. There is more than sharing of bodies. It is an intimate act, a sharing of souls when in the marriage bed, blessed by God. The marriage relationship is tenuous, and Satan wants to destroy it. He’s doing a good job in our world today, isn’t he? And the devastation is terrible.
When Abram agreed, he was probably thinking this would please his wife. I know, it sounds crazy, but sometimes we send mixed signals to our husbands, ladies, and they aren’t sure what to do. Plus, Hagar was most likely young and pretty. And he was impatient, perhaps, for the promise of descendants that would be numbered like the stars. HOWEVER, this does not get him off the hook. He knew better, and he did it anyway. Satan goes after our men with sexual temptation. Pray for them, that they would flee from it.
As for how they could forget God and His plans… Well, don’t we all walk away a bit too frequently, and quickly, sometimes? Let this be a warning to us. The consequences we pay when we don’t follow God’s will can be extremely uncomfortable. And lifelong. It’s all about choices. And being patient! Sigh.
Sarai, I suspect, didn’t think through her plan. Perhaps her emotions ruled her thought processes? Poor me, I’m getting too old to bear children, God has forgotten me, I’m gonna go eat worms. I am not making fun of her, because my emotions can get the best of me, too. And then the pity party begins, and I am completely irrational at times. Ladies, we need to guard ourselves from the crazy emotional roller coaster that our bodies- and life- put us on! Buckle up, hold tight, and wait for the craziness to pass. Don’t base your decisions on your emotions. I make stupid decisions when I do that. And I am putty in Satan’s hands, doggone it. Jesus, give me the strength to resist.
Sarai treated Hagar poorly because she was jealous of her pregnancy and regretted her decision to let Abram take her as a wife- another wrong decision based on feelings and emotions. Hagar ran into the wilderness, and an angel came to her and comforted her and told her that her descendants would be greatly multiplied. The promise given to Abram and Sarai was now shared with Hagar, and her son Ishmael.
Arabs claim Ishmael as their forefather, and thus lay claim to the land of Palestine as well. However, God gave that promise, of the land, to only Abram. And so both lines of Abram, through Sarai- God promised, so yes, she would eventually bear a son- and through Hagar were blessed with many descendants. Unfortunately, much strife and enmity exists between the Hebrews and the Arabs.
As a wife, I need to be careful to encourage and help my husband in his walk with God. He is called to love me as Jesus loves the church, a sacrificial unconditional love. That is a heavy responsibility upon his shoulders. It is a good thing he has the Holy Spirit to help him with that. Am I to blame when he sins? NO WAY. He is responsible before God for his own choices and actions. But so am I. And I would much rather be an influence for good in his life, not evil. I don’t want to use my womanly wiles to tempt him away from God’s plans, no matter how crazy my emotions might be that day!