“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And 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. And 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.” Genesis 16:1-3 KJV.
“The Lord said of Noah and his family who were saved in the ark, ‘For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.’ Noah had but one wife; and their united family discipline was blessed of God. Because Noah’s sons were righteous, they were preserved in the ark with their righteous father. God has not sanctioned polygamy in a single instance. It was contrary to his will. He knew that the happiness of man would be destroyed by it. Abraham’s peace was greatly marred by his unhappy marriage with Hagar.
After Abraham’s separation from Lot, the Lord said to him, ‘Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.’ ‘The word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’ ‘And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed; and lo, one born in my house is mine heir.’
As Abraham had no son, he at first thought that his trusty servant, Eliezer, should become his son by adoption, and his heir. But God informs Abraham that his servant shall not be his son and heir, but that he should really have a son. ‘And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell me the stars, if thou be able to number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.’
If Abraham and Sarah had waited in confiding faith for the fulfillment of the promise that they should have a son, much unhappiness would have been avoided. They believed that it would be just as God had promised, but could not believe that Sarah, in her old age, would have a son. Sarah suggested a plan whereby she thought the promise of God could be fulfilled. She entreated Abraham to take Hagar as his wife. In this they both lacked faith, and a perfect trust in the power of God. By hearkening to the voice of Sarah, and taking Hagar as his wife, Abraham failed to endure the test of his faith in God’s unlimited power, and brought upon himself, and upon Sarah, much unhappiness. The Lord intended to prove the firm faith and reliance of Abraham upon the promises he had made him.
Hagar was proud and boastful, and carried herself haughtily before Sarah. She flattered herself that she was to be the mother of the great nation God had promised to make of Abraham. And Abraham was compelled to listen to complaints from Sarah in regard to the conduct of Hagar, charging Abraham with wrong in the matter. Abraham is grieved, and tells Sarah that Hagar is her servant, and that she can have the control of her, but refuses to send her away, for she is to be the mother of his child through whom he thinks the promise is to be fulfilled. He informs Sarah that he should not have taken Hagar for his wife if it had not been her special request. Abraham was also compelled to listen to Hagar’s complaints of abuse from Sarah. Abraham is in perplexity. If he seeks to redress the wrongs of Hagar, he increases the jealousy and unhappiness of Sarah, his first and much-loved wife. Hagar fled from the face of Sarah. An angel of God meets her, and comforts her, and also reproves her for her haughty conduct, in bidding her return to her mistress, and submit herself under her hands.
After the birth of Ishmael, the Lord manifested himself again to Abraham, and said unto him, ‘I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant.’ Again the Lord repeated by his angel his promise to give Sarah a son, and that she should be a mother of many nations. Abraham did not yet understand the promise of God. His mind immediately rests upon Ishmael, as though through him would come the many nations promised, and he exclaims, in his affection for his son, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!’
Again the promise is more definitely repeated to Abraham: ‘Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.’ Angels are sent the second time to Abraham on their way to destroy Sodom, and they repeat the promise more distinctly that Sarah shall have a son.
After the birth of Isaac, the great joy manifested by Abraham and Sarah caused Hagar to be very jealous. Ishmael had been instructed by his mother that he was to be especially blessed of God, as the son of Abraham, and to be heir to that which was promised to him. Ishmael partook of his mother’s feelings, and was angry because of the joy manifested at the birth of Isaac. He despised Isaac because he thought that he was preferred before him. Sarah saw the disposition manifested by Ishmael against her son Isaac, and she was greatly moved. She related to Abraham the disrespectful conduct of Ishmael to her, and to her son Isaac, and said to him, ‘Cast out this bondwoman, and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.'” EGW, SOP, Vol 1, 1870, pp. 94-97.
Have a wonderful preparation day to you.
Back to the Roots Part II: Christ, Food, Health, Garden, etc. A follow up on the counsel of SCRIPTURE & SOP on these important subjects via Zoom on September 10-15, 2023 nightly 7:00-9:00pm US EDT.
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