Passage of the Day: Chapter/Verse Reference: Genesis, Chapters 16-18 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Genesis 16: 1-5: … [Abram (Abraham) ] … 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 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. 3 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. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 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.”
My Journal for Today: Today in reading through Chapters 16-18 of Genesis [linked above for your study if you’re reading with me through the Bible this year], there are many lessons which I could reflect upon in this journal entry; but one bubbled to the top in my consciousness; and I believe it’s the one the Holy Spirit is trying to emphasize for me. Perhaps it is one from which any reader along with me here can benefit [especially you married men].
Right at the outset of Chapter 16, in Verses 1-5, we read of Sarai making a decision, independently, to give Hagar, her maid-servant, over to her husband for conjugal intercourse in an attempt to conceive a child for Abram and Sarai, … a child that would be theirs by the law of the day. Now, this was not an unusual practice in that day when a couple could not conceive and bear a child. However, we know from previous reading of God’s covenant promise to Abram, that the God Whom Abram and Sarai worshiped was going to insure that they would have a child naturally. But Sarai was impatient and felt that God could and would answer the promise if she intervened and involved Hagar in the scenario.
How often do we find ourselves “jumping the gun” when it comes to God’s promises or in trying to be obedient to the Lord’s will? But this human impatience is nothing new, especially in a marriage, is it? The tendency goes all the way back to the first married couple, when Eve listened to the Serpent in the garden; and she decided it would be okay to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. And Adam, who had been set aside by God as the keeper of the garden and Eve’s covenant leader in their marriage, stood by and let Eve eat of the fruit of the tree; and the result we all know was expulsion from the garden.
And here with Sarai and Abram, once again in human history, we see a wife not able to wait in faith on God; and we see a husband, sitting idly by and buying into the disobedience by consenting to the sinful act. To me this illustrates a couple important lessons – for me, personally.
The first is … each of us, as surrendered believers and worshipers of the living God, need to be able to seek out and hear God’s will; … and then to wait on God for His promise; … and then to also wait for God to provide the way He has promised. It is the premise of my wife’s life verse in Scripture, Proverbs 3: 5-6, which you probable have memorized: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. [OR – “will direct your paths”]
BUT … how often, when we know God’s will or His promise, as did Sarai and Abram, are we tempted to move out and try to “jump start” God’s plan with our own. And that’s what Sarai did by coming up with the plan to involve Hagar as the vehicle to fulfill God’s will and to provide the couple with the promised child.
Now, … the second lesson – for me – is that, like Adam in the garden, Abram, also knowing God’s will and promise, passively listened to his wife and did not assert himself as the Spirit-led leader in their covenant of marriage. God has establish the male partner in His institution of marriage to be the primary spiritual leader in that marital covenant. Now I know that is not a politically correct position to take; and the concept of female spiritual “submission” in a marriage is widely (and often wildly) unpopular, especially with women who believe that they should be totally equal with their husbands in a marriage.
But in this marriage illustration today, as well as the first couple in the garden, we see that the male spouse really should not (actually, CANNOT) ignore his God-instituted role as spiritual leader in the marriage. Both Adam and Abram clearly knew God’s will when their female spouses decided to short-circuit God’s plan; and when their wives involved them in the plan, they had the opportunity to stand up – in obedience – and exercise their God-led authority to say “NO” to the impatience, asserting that it was the couple’s responsibility to be obedient to God and wait on HIS will and HIS way, following HIS word.
However, in both of these instances, the wife asserted her plan, not being willing/able to wait on God; and the husband buckled and went along with the will of the wife rather than the will of God, their mutual Father, … their leader in the covenant of marriage. And my reminder lesson today is that, as the husband in our Christian covenant marriage, I’m responsible to lead us, as a couple and as a family, in seeking out and following God’s will for our lives now that we’ve been joined spiritually in marriage. I must not become passive when I know God’s will and I perceive either of us, me or my wife, moving too quickly ahead on our own and not waiting on God’s promises or His plan.
Certainly we know the result of Adam’s and Eve’s inability to wait on God and to be obedient to His will; and we are reminded of that same marital lesson here today in this passage about God’s promise for Abram and Sarai. May all of us learn to wait on God; and may we husbands, in God’s institution of marriage, BE or BECOME the leaders we were designed to be in a marriage.
My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank you for this reminder of who I am – or need to be – in my marriage. Help me to be Your man of obedience and purpose with my wife so that we may – together – glorify Your Name. Amen