Summary: Abram and Sarai are desperate for an heir. So desperate, in fact, that they are willing to try anything...and, do. As life spins out of control the impact of their poor choices affects more than just their own relationship. But, God shows up as a searching and seeking God.

A Runaway Is Found, A Poor Decision Is Exposed, And Faithful People are Tested.

Text: Genesis 16: 1-16

16 Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child. She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said.

3–4 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. Abram had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place. He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress.

5 Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse. I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May God decide which of us is right.”

6 “You decide,” said Abram. “Your maid is your business.”

Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away.

7–8 An angel of God found her beside a spring in the desert; it was the spring on the road to Shur. He said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, what are you doing here?”

She said, “I’m running away from Sarai my mistress.”

–12 The angel of God said, “Go back to your mistress. Put up with her abuse.” He continued, “I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.

From this pregnancy, you’ll get a son: Name him Ishmael;

for God heard you, God answered you.

He’ll be a bucking bronco of a man,

a real fighter, fighting and being fought,

Always stirring up trouble,

always at odds with his family.”

13 She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!

“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!”

14 That’s how that desert spring got named “God-Alive-Sees-Me Spring.” That spring is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15–16 Hagar gave Abram a son. Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave him his son, Ishmael.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.


We live in an interesting time.

Silicone Valley’s Frearsome Five (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook) have a greater place in our lives than God, or His Word! When was the last time you had to tell your teenagers, "Put down that Bible! I want your attention right now!" ?

It is a time when knowledge of popular culture overshadows critical thinking about the important issues in life.

A time when many of our young people retreat from reality to live lives of fantasy in role playing computer games…but, are unable to accomplish very much in real life. They may save the universe in Warcraft, but are unable to be productive in day-to-day life.

A time when people’s deepest secrets, most astonishing desires, most embarrassing life problems, and most intimate details of their lives are the fodder for afternoon television.

Our text this morning has it all…deceit, accusations, a pregnant house-maid, an angry wife, and a runaway who finds God.

Reading text you almost expect to hear a T.V. presenter’s voice: ABRAHAM, YOU ARE THE FATHER. -OR- The lie detector determined, THAT WAS A LIE…

Put Abram and Sarai in designer clothes…give them a cellphone…a huge house on the hillside…a net worth in the billions of dollars…and, we can see they were the Bill and Melinda Gates of their world.

Modernity isn’t everything its cracked up to be…in fact, human nature hasn’t changed all that much from ancient times…

What lessons can we learn from the experience of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar? Are there warnings about the issues of life we should heed? Are there any unexpected blessings?

There are five things I want for us to take away from this text.

When you fail to trust the Lord, your troubles multiply.

At age 75—when the promises of Genesis 15 were made to Abram—Abram had hope. Sarai, his wife had lost hope of having a child long ago…but, Abram had hope.

At age 85—when the drama of chapter 16 begins to unfold—Abram had lost hope as well.

Let’s be clear: Abram and Sarai were not bad people. They were desperate people. Desperate people in desperate situations do desperate things. They were desperate for an heir. They were willing to do almost anything to have a child in their family…who would inherit their name and riches…and, continue to build a nation.

Desperate people in desperate situations do desperate things.

We can relate to this.

Most parents can relate to the feeling of desperation; is there anything you wouldn’t do to keep your children from starving? Or from being the victim of violence?

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