Devotional & Reflection

Week 4, Feb 2002

Genesis 16: Tired Of Waiting
By Pang Hee Hung, Director & Trainer, Ezra Resources

Gen 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar;
v2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Gen 15:4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."
v5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

Have we ever been tired of waiting?

Sure, most of us do and on numerous occasions too. But have we ever felt so tired of waiting that we just go ahead and do it in our own way anyway? I have. I sense most of us have, in some way or another. We might have been under-invested and we went on to invest in the stock market. We might have been conservative but then changed our minds when we saw property prices rise with no let - up. Our funds in the CPF seemed like it did not keep up with inflation. We were tired of waiting for prices to settle down. So we bought a property. Then we got caught - saddled with debts and falling asset prices.

Sarai and Abram were tired of waiting too. They had waited for ten years already in Canaan (16:3). Abram was now 85 years old since he left Canaan at 75 (12:4) and Sarai was about ten years younger at 75 (10-years age gap between Sarai and Abram, 17:17). He had waited for ten years for God's promise in Gen 12:3 to be fulfilled. But the promise was yet to be fulfilled. It was tiring. But it is ironical that they grew tired of waiting after hearing God's reassuring promise to Abram again in Gen 15:4-5. God had promised them an heir. The heir was supposed to be from Sarai's (17:16) and Abram's (15:4) body - not from Eliezer's (Abram's servant, 15:2) nor Hagar's body. Abram's relationship with Hagar was certainly disapproved after all Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant and Abram must not intermarry foreigners (Deut 7:1-3). In addition, the heir must come from a monogamous relationship since God's intention is for the man to have one wife to become one flesh (2:24).

This passage re-presents the repeated folly of humanity - going about doing things our own way to receive a blessing. Eve wanted to be like God in her own way (3:5-6). The builders of the tower at Babel wanted to reach the heavens and make a name for themselves (11:4). Here Sarai and Abram formulated a humanly strategy through a surrogate to "help" God fulfill the promise.

The results of Sarai's and Abram's humanly intervention were tragic. Relationships between Hagar and Sarai soured. Strife between nations ensued because "they (the descendants of Ishmael) lived in hostility toward all their brothers" (25:18).

This passage reminds us that when we are barren - no child, no job, no business, no spouse, no love or no visible fruit in our ministry - we don't use our human ways to solve the problem. It reminds us to continue to wait - wait upon God and wait for His solution - then cooperate with His direction.

Yes ... it is certainly tiring and trying, waiting upon the Lord. But not tiring enough to be tired of waiting.

In what areas are you barren? How can you solve the barrenness?
What is God's leading and solution for your specific situation?

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