Genesis 16

The bible, that collection of Gods works on earth, does not hide the truth about people, not even those chosen by God personally to do his work.  Genesis 16 gives a wonderful insight into people, not just people of their time but people for all time.

Around about 2000 BC God reaches down to a man called Abram living around Ur in what is now southern Iraq and tells him to leave his father and mother and go to a place he will be shown.  At the time it is likely Abram only knew the goddess situated on top of the ziggurat in Ur itself and the lesser moon-god placed alongside her.  So why did God reach down to Abram?  There were I believe 25,000 or so in Ur and many more like Abram round about, why pick this man?

Eventually Abram makes it to Canaan and settles there.  However his wife has not produced a child and feels this deeply so she resorts to the fashion of the day and forces Abram, who shows little reluctance, into sleeping with her slave girl as wife.  This situation is not recommended in scripture but as these people did not possess scripture bar God revealing himself to Abram their lack of appreciation is understandable.  Hold on a minute, even though scripture was not laid down in our hearts we know right from wrong yet Sarai & Abram went ahead with this just the same.  Conscience is inbuilt I say.

Inevitably this goes wrong.  Hagar, the slave, becomes pregnant (I wonder how long that took? Did Abram make it last?) and soon a bitchiness found only between females comes to the fore.  Having suggested the idea in the first place Sarai then blames Abram for Hagar’s abuse of her mistress, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering,” she yells at him.  Abram, head of the house though he is, responds with a courage renown to belong to many a married man, “Your servant is in your hands, do with her whatever you think best,” he says running for the hills.

Things do not turn out as one would expect.  Hagar, being abused, runs for the hills but meets with God there.  In similar fashion to Abram this son is given the promise of becoming a huge nation, many descendants, too numerous to count, although he will however be a ‘wild donkey of a man’ and turn everyone against him.  Why does God do this?  It is unclear to me why this should be, surely ‘wild donkeys’ ought to be avoided? However she returns to her home and life continues.

Note the lack of scripture, the human responses so similar to our own, and at no time did Sarai nor Abram ask the God who called them out of Ur about their lack of child.  These people had no bible, we have it complete yet we are less used by God than they!  We know that in all things God works for the good but his ways do not match our understanding. In this situation Abram was 86 years of age, God appears to him later when he is 99 and he has a son then, his own.  Some of us may find that encouraging…


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