The Plan

Dick Dahlstrom | July 16, 2019

 Genesis 16:1-13

[Abram] 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 16:4-5

 

Sarah blamed God for not giving her the promised son and comes up with a plan of her own. When she tells Abraham her plan, he readily agrees.

 

Our first priority is to always obey God.  Abraham should have known Sarai’s suggestion was a bad idea and not from God, but he proceeded anyway. Two wrongs never make a right! Yet their plan worked. Hagar became pregnant with Abraham’s child. Did it work out as they had hoped?

 

Not at all. Now, there is pain and struggle between the three main characters: Hagar—a slave who has been abused; Sarah—a wife whose virtue and value in the ancient world was interpreted exclusively through childbearing; and Abraham—the would-be patriarch who had no heirs.

 

What Abraham and Sarah did to Hagar was sin. Now their sins were coming home to roost. You can never expect anything good to come from sin. And now, Sarah is blaming Abraham: You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.

 

Sin always has consequences. Even though God can and will forgive, You can be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)

 

What we have done, what we have said, who we have wronged, can all be forgiven; but the results of our sin will continue to have consequences.

 

When all our self-made plans go wrong and we realize we have sinned, why do we so often blame God or someone else? Yet God is at work even in our messed up, selfish, foolish plans to work out His purpose.

 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

 

Questions for reflection and discussion: Have you ever blamed God or someone else when things don’t go as you planned? Have you ever acted on advice that you knew you should not have acted on? How have you seen the purpose of God even in your failures?

This week's devotions were written by Dick Dahlstrom. Dick has attended Wheaton Bible Church for the past ten years. He participates in the ministry and fellowship of the Connections class and enjoys preparing and teaching Bible studies and devotions.

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