Summary: Verse by verse study of Genesis 16

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Genesis 16

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 18, 2007


God has made promises to Abram. In Gen. 12:2, God promised to make Abram a “great nation”. We saw last week in Gen. 15:4 that God promised that “one will come from your own body” and that Abram would have so many descendants that they would be like the stars in heaven.

So what do you do when you think you have an idea of what God wants for you, but it hasn’t happened yet?

Do you keep waiting? Do you take matters into your own hand? Just how long do you keep waiting for God to do something?

Abram’s been waiting for ten years since God promised.

:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.

If Abram and Sarai were from Ur (modern Iraq), then where did Sarai get an Egyptian maidservant?

She got her on their trip to Egypt. This was the trip that brought so much trouble when Abram insisted on telling everyone that Sarai was his sister.

:2 So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

This is the first instance of a “righteous” man breaking God’s pattern for marriage.

Jesus taught on marriage in Matthew 19 and used Adam and Eve as a pattern God originally intended all marriages to be like.

Jesus’ point was to prove that God intended marriage to be permanent – “What God has joined together, don’t let any man tear apart”.

The pattern of the first marriage was also one of monogamy – one man and one woman.

There have been other instances of men having multiple wives, but they weren’t the “good” guys.

Abram’s son Isaac will stay monogamous, but his grandson Jacob will have four wives.

There are cults that will look at these patriarchs and say that they are the pattern for marriage. Joseph Smith leaned heavily on the example of Abraham and Jacob when he brought polygamy into Mormonism.

I shall obtain children by her – the custom of the day allowed for a childless woman to do exactly what Sarai is doing. According to custom, if the child is accepted by Abram, this son could be considered Sarai’s child. The problem is, God doesn’t always follow man’s customs.

God had promised that Abram would have an heir “from his own body” (Gen. 15:4). Technically, having a child through Hagar would qualify, right???

I don’t want to be crude and give you the impression that all men think about is sex, but here is Abram being told by his seventy-five year old wife to have sex with this younger woman. I think that for some guys, this doesn’t sound like a difficult decision. It doesn’t seem that Abram took too long to think about his answer.

Abram heeded the voice of Sarai – Some fellows look at the trouble that’s going to result from this decision, and they will say that this is why a man shouldn’t pay any attention to what his wife says. That’s not the real lesson. Yet later on, God will tell Abram to pay attention to what his wife says (Gen. 21:12).

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