Genesis 16

* Sarai gives Hagar to Abram. (1-3) Hagar's misbehaviour to

Sarai. (4-6) The Angel commands Hagar to return, The promise to

her Birth of Ishmael. (7-16)

1-3 Sarai, no longer expecting to have children herself,

proposed to Abram to take another wife, whose children she

might; her slave, whose children would be her property. This was

done without asking counsel of the Lord. Unbelief worked, God's

almighty power was forgotten. It was a bad example, and a source

of manifold uneasiness. In every relation and situation in life

there is some cross for us to bear: much of the exercise of

faith consists in patiently submitting, in waiting the Lord's

time, and using only those means which he appoints for the

removal of the cross. Foul temptations may have very fair

pretences, and be coloured with that which is very plausible.

Fleshly wisdom puts us out of God's way. This would not be the

case, if we would ask counsel of God by his word and by prayer,

before we attempt that which is doubtful.
4-6 Abram's unhappy marriage to Hagar very soon made a great

deal of mischief. We may thank ourselves for the guilt and grief

that follow us, when we go out of the way of our duty. See it in

this case, Passionate people often quarrel with others, for

things of which they themselves must bear the blame. Sarai had

given her maid to Abram, yet she cries out, My wrong be upon

thee. That is never said wisely, which pride and anger put into

our mouths. Those are not always in the right, who are most loud

and forward in appealing to God: such rash and bold imprecations

commonly speak guilt and a bad cause. Hagar forgot that she

herself had first given the provocation, by despising her

mistress. Those that suffer for their faults, ought to bear it

patiently, #1Pe 2:20|.
7-16 Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her

duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her. It is

a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by

conscience or by providence. Whence comest thou? Consider that

thou art running from duty, and the privileges thou wast blest

with in Abram's tent. It is good to live in a religious family,

which those ought to consider who have this advantage. Whither

wilt thou go? Thou art running into sin; if Hagar return to

Egypt, she will return to idol gods, and into danger in the

wilderness through which she must travel. Recollecting who we

are, would often teach us our duty. Inquiring whence we came,

would show us our sin and folly. Considering whither we shall

go, discovers our danger and misery. And those who leave their

space and duty, must hasten their return, how mortifying soever

it be. The declaration of the Angel, "I will," shows this Angel

was the eternal Word and Son of God. Hagar could not but admire

the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been

favoured with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to

a better temper, returned, and by her behaviour softened Sarai,

and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always

suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!
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