Monday, 6 January 2014


God had promised to Abraham (at the time known as Abram) that one day his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.(Genesis 15:5-6)

But Abram's wife Sarai had not heard from God. She had to take her husband's word for it that the unseen creator would perform a miracle and bless them with a child in their old age.

Why should Sarai believe this crazy promise that her husband told her about? Would you? I must admit that if I were in her position then I wouldn't be in a hurry to decorate the nursery either. 

Sarai tried to trust God, but it was just too hard. Instead of waiting for a miracle she decided to help God along. Instead of being patient she decided to speed things up in her own way. It's understandable in a way. She really wanted God's amazing vow to be fulfilled but she just couldn't see how it possibly could be.

 Sarai intervened by convincing Abram to sleep with a servant girl to get her pregnant. 

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.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” (Genesis 16:1-5)

Sometimes it's hard for us to trust God, especially if we have been given prophetic words that seem unlikely or are taking too long to be fulfilled. Manipulating people or situations can often seem like an easy answer, but can have unhappy consequences.

Sarai bitterly regretted her decision to let her husband sleep with Hagar. I'm sure that every time she saw their son Ishmael, she was reminded of her mistake. It would have been hard not to feel bitter, and ask God angrily why she still hadn't conceived.

God sent three messengers to remind Abraham (God had changed his name) of his promise. Sarai's name was also changed to Sarah.

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

(Genesis 18:10-13)

God had not given up on his promise, despite Abraham and Sarah's sin. At the right time (according to the Lord, not people) Sarah finally conceived their longed-for son.

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

(Genesis 21:1-6)

I can only imagine how ecstatic Abraham and Sarah were! God had not forgotten them after all.

I can't really blame Sarah for what she did. Sometimes having faith is really hard. But it would've been so much easier for her if she had trusted God and waited for his perfect timing.

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