Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pulling a Hagar

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.” (Gen 16:1-4a)

How many of us have done what Sarai did here in this passage? How many have pulled a Hagar? Alternatively, how many are now in the middle of pulling a Hagar? Sarai chose to take her natural circumstances into her own hands. She got inpatient with God, His ways, and His timing. She did not talk to Him first. She did not consider Him and His ways. She did not wait on Him and His timing. Instead, Sarai decided to go ahead of God. She thought that she knew better than God. Oh, my! Can you imagine anybody thinking that they knew better than the Almighty, all-powerful, and all-knowing God? Yet, Sarai thought she did at this time. Otherwise, she would have waited on God to provide for her.

If that was not enough, Sarai turns on her husband, Abram, for the horrible situation. “Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.” (Gen 16:5a) From the very beginning, it was Sarai’s impatience and her poor choices that got both of them into the awful circumstances. Yes, Abram willfully chose to agree with her bad decision from the start. However, it was Sarai who initiated the bad decision. Then, Sarai has the audacity to point her finger at Abram. She blames him for the tragic consequences of her initial sin when he just passively went along with it.

Later on in this passage, the consequence of Sarai’s sin manifests even more. “So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.” (Gen 16:15-16)

Abram, Sarai, and Hagar all reaped the consequences of Sarai’s initial sin. As a result, they all had to live with the effects of Sarai’s impatience and poor choices. A child from another woman was brought into the middle of this tragic situation. In addition, God’s promises were delayed for both Abram and Sarai to have their own child.

Think about it. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar birthed their son, Ishmael. (Gen 16:16) He waited another 13 years before God appeared to Him about his son, Isaac. (Gen 17:1) During the wait, both Abram and Sarai had to go through name changes from God. (Gen 17:5, 15) Abraham initially laughed at God’s word to him regarding His promise. However, God’s promise came to pass for them when Sarah was 99 years old and Abraham was 100 years old. (Gen 17:17) After all of that time, Sarah finally birthed their son, Isaac. (Gen 17:19; 21:1-3) However, Abraham and Sarah had to wait at least a total of 14 years for God’s promise to come true for them.

Now, think about them and their previous circumstances. If both Abraham and Sarah had initially waited on God together, He may have provided their child a lot sooner. However, their collective and bad decisions took them on a detour that ended up costing them a lot of unnecessary heartache, pain, grief, and extra time away from God’s true purpose and plan for them. Therefore, it took many more years for God to get Abraham and Sarah back on the path He had for them and fulfill His perfect will for both of them. (Jer 29:11; Rom 12:2)

Whether you have pulled a Hagar before or are in the middle of pulling a Hagar now, just ask God to help you to be obedient to Him starting at this very moment. Ask God to help you to wait on Him and His timing. Seek Him and His ways. (Matt 6:33) By going to Him first, it will save both you and others a lot of time as well as preventing many unnecessary consequences from sin. You will also be much better off doing it God’s way first by waiting on Him and His timing.

Copyright 2012 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.


  1. I really love your thoughts on this familiar story. But, do you mean "pull a Sarai" rather than "Hagar?" I know I've "pulled a Sarai" way too many times to count.

  2. I appreciate your compliment, Merrie. No, I actually meant that Sarai 'pulled a Hagar' by not seeking God as well as not waiting on Him and His timing. Sometimes, we are like Sarai trying to do things in our own way and in our own timing. Thanks!