Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 16

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: To Record God's Creation and Identify His Plan (c 1-22)
Theme: The Story of Abraham (c 12-25)
Message: Abraham's Second Wife (v 1-16)

Genesis 16 Commentary

(16:1-3) Abram and Sarai Ignore God's Promises -  Sarai gave Hagar to Abram as a servant-wife, a common practice of that time. A married woman who could not have children was shamed by her peers and would often give a female servant to her husband in order to produce heirs. The children born to the servant woman were considered the children of the wife. Abram and Sarai were acting in line with the custom of the day, but their action showed a lack of faith that God would fulfill his promise. Like Abram, she had trouble believing God's promise, which was apparently directed specifically toward Abram and
Sarai. Out of this lack of faith came a series of problems. This invariably happens when we take over for God, trying to make his promise come true through efforts that are not in line with his specific directions. In this case, time was the greatest test of Abram and Sara's willingness to let God work in their lives.

(16:5) Sarai Sins and Blames Abram -  Although Sarai had arranged for Hagar to have a child by Abram, she later blamed Abram for the results. It is often easier to strike out in frustration and accuse someone else than to admit an error and ask for forgiveness. (Adam and Eve did the same thing in 3:12-13.)

(16:6) Sarai Lashes Out at Hagar -  Sarai was angry with Abram because she blamed him for her problems with Hagar. In her anger, she treated Hagar harshly enough to cause her to run away. Anger, especially when it arises from our own shortcomings, can be dangerous.

(16:7-8) Hagar Call Out to God - Hagar was soon to be an abandoned single mother. She had no voice, power, or authority. Once a slave, then a woman of privilege carrying Abram's child (16:4), she was understandably angry to be treated again as a slave. But her plight led to a deeper spiritual awakening. An angel spoke to her personally, saying that the Lord noticed her and heard her distress. The experience led Hagar to call God Thou God seest me." No matter how deep your troubles or how big a mess your family is in, God notices you and hears you, bringing good out of your desperate prayers.

(16:8-9) Don't Run from Your Problems -  Hagar was running away from her mistress and her problem. The angel of the Lord gave her this advice: (1) to return and face Sarai, the cause of her problem, and (2) to submit to her. Hagar needed to work on her attitude toward Sarai, no matter how justified it may have been. Running away from problems rarely solves them. It is wise to return to our problems, face them squarely, accept God's promise of help, correct our attitudes, and act as we should.

(16:13) Sarai, Hagar, and Abram React to their Sin -  We have watched three people make serious mistakes: (1) Sarai, who took matters into her own hands and gave her servant to Abram; (2) Abram, who went along with the plan but, when circumstances began to go wrong, refused to help solve the problem; and (3) Hagar, who ran away from the problem. In spite of this messy situation, God demonstrated his ability to work in all things to bring about good (Romans 8:28). Sarai and Abram still received the son they so desperately wanted, and God solved Hagar's problem despite Abram's refusal to get involved. No problem is too complicated for God if you are willing to let him help you.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Wait on the Lord

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 16 and in today's text we see Abram and his decision to not trust the Lord. In yesterdays text, chapter 15, God made a promise to Abram that he would provide him a son and that son would produce a great nation. Sarai, Abram's wife, still had not conceived and took matters into her own hands a gave Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to be his wife and they produced Ismael who's descendents are enemies to Israel even to this day. Even though Sarai came up with the idea it was Abram who went along with the plan. He could have rejected this plan and made a stand and told Sarai "no" we will follow the Lord. In making application, I too have failed to wait on the Lord and had to pay the price for my lack of faith. We have to trust God to do what he tells us through His Word as it relates to the needs and desires of our heart. The Lord does care and will meet our needs as it relates to His Will for our life. How about you? Are you waiting on the Lord and contemplating taking things into your own hands? Let us learn from our text today and Abram's mistake and the mistake of the testimonies of others and simply wait on the Lord.


Genesis 16

Genesis 16

 1Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

 2And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

 3And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

 4And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

 5And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

 6But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

 7And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

 8And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

 9And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

 10And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

 11And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

 12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

 13And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

 14Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

 15And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

 16And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.