And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
(Genesis 16:4, KJV)
He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.
Delivered on Sunday, May 11, 2008, @ Castalia Baptist Church during 8a.m. worship
Drunkenness does not seem distasteful while it is taking place. The carnal mind sees drinking as pleasurable fun. Thus, the glutton of alcohol consumption does not allow moderation to halt his or her intake. Instead, the undisciplined sucks up all the alcohol that he or she can. Wisdom flies out the window as the drunkard becomes delusional.
However, it is the next morning when the drunkard realizes the error of his or her ways. They pay for their folly with a hangover. Their eyes are red. Their breath is unbearable. Their head splits with pain. Generally, they feel awful because foolish behavior has put them in this condition.
Generally, that is the way sin operates. Only after the transgression does one come into a realization that his or her sin has a great penalty. Feelings of guilt overtake the sinner after the sin. The realization of the mistake is appreciated after the grievous error has been committed.
That is what we see in our text. It is after the polygamous affair between Abram and Hagar, the Egyptian slave of Sarai, that all parties see the problem with the arrangement. The copulation between Abram and Hagar was no secretive affair. It was in the open. Not only did Sarai know about it, but she gave her blessings to it.
In fact, it was Sarai who suggested that Abraham beget a child by her handmaid for her sake. The feminist theologian J. Cheryl Exum contends that male domination was the culprit here that played two women against each other. Now in our gender conscious era that is a tempting thesis.
However, a careful reading of the text shows that is not the case. The instigator of the plot was Sarai, Abram’s wife. She thought God’s promise of a heir for Abram needed a supplement. She knew both she and Abram were well advanced in years. Sarai doubted that she could give birth. She knew that her biological clock was beyond its years of productivity.
Thus, impatience and a lack of faith prompted her to suggest a short cut to her husband. She tells him to take her hand maid and beget a child for Sarai’s sake.
In addition to the polygamous concerns, we see here how slave owning is a sinful issue. Some commentaries accuse Hagar of being a sinner. However, in the initial proceedings Hagar is a victim, not a schemer. As Sarai’s possession, she is used by her owner. Without consulting Hagar, Sarai tells her husband, Abram, he can have her slave. Without determining Hagar’s feelings, Sarai volunteers her as a surrogate mother for the child she desires.
Even, worse than not consulting Hagar is a lack of prayer on this matter. God’s will and way are not sought by Sarai. Strictly in her flesh she arrives at an answer to her dilemma. On her own she figured that since old age had overtaken her, the only way to preserve Abram’s seed was to get some auxiliary aid.
It is a dangerous thing to do things on our own. Secular humanism has so many in this mind set. Frank Sinatra used to sing, “I Did It My Way.” This seems to be the theme of so many who are wrapped up in themselves. They fail to pray to seek God’s guidance and direction Even some who pray, pray dictatorial prayers to God. They instruct, direct, and order God to do this and that. Many people pray to God as if He is a cosmic bellhop. They send Him to hospitals that they do not visit. They send Him behind prison walls while they avoid them. They instruct Him to touch the sinner man or woman, but they never witness to the unsaved and unchurched.
It was after the deed, when Sarai and Abram saw the error of their ways. After Hagar became filled with prideful arrogance and expressed it in her indignation for her mistress it was then seen that the polygamous arrangement was not a good idea.
Like the drunk who suffers from the hangover, so it is that the sinner frequently only sees the consequences of his or her sin after sinning. When we are wise, we will allow God’s grace to help us to see way down the road. We will be able to see the consequences of momentary pleasure. The wise and righteous individual will understand that beyond a few minutes of sinful pleasure can come a lifetime of grief.
We would be wise to let our Lord and Savior control us before we engage in sinful dissipation. We need His discipline and correction before we indulge our greedy and carnal appetites.
If we did this, less children would be born unloved and unwanted. If we did this, abortion would cease to be an issue. If we did this, we would not need to pass out free condoms to stem the flow of sexually transmitted diseases.
Let us respect ourselves by making our bodies a clean and undefiled temple of the Holy Spirit. Avoid impulsive emotional pursuits that can leave you with a lifetime hangover.
We were given our bodies that God might get glory from them. There is a way that might be enticing to the flesh, but the end thereof is death and destruction.
Too many people today are playing with holy things. Marriage and parenthood are consecrated activities. God must be in our exercise of these holy functions. Young people need to save themselves for marriage. It is within the holy bonds of matrimony that we can birth and raise our children to the glory of God.