Yesterday we considered God’s dealings with Abram noting that he was the man of faith (he believed God); recipient of God’s great promises (I am your shield) and the one with whom the LORD made a covenant ‘To your descendants I give this land…’
Today as we come to chapter 16 we see a very different man. The man of unbelief with respect to the promise made in 15.4. The man who now listened to his wife rather than to the LORD. The man who walked according to the flesh rather than the Spirit with regard to God’s promise of an heir.
It is all too easy to stand in judgement over Abram as if we are honest we have all failed in so many ways. We have failed the tests that God has put before us to see if we will stand firm for him, unlike Job who was confident that ‘he would come forth as gold’ Job 23.10 having had the dross removed by the fire of the trial.
In the chapter before us today we have Abram and Sarai doubting God’s promises and seeking their own way forward. Eve offers her servant to be his wife rather than standing firm on the promises of God. Recall the similar situation with Adam and Eve in Eden.
Taking things into their own hands leaves Abram and Sarai in a sorry mess. There is unkindness, family strife, recrimination but note that God is still the God or mercy and the God of grace. Primarily in this chapter towards Hagar and her child but as we shall also see as the story continues to unfold to Abram and Sarai for their faithlessness does not negate God’s unchanging faithfulness.
I have little doubt that most if not all of us have known that experience – from the mountain top of chapter 15 to the dark valley of chapter 16 but because God is who he is has never left us and in his grace and mercy restores us to fellowship and service.
A W Pink in his Gleanings in Genesis notes that there are in chapter 15 a number of important words and expressions that occur there for the first time in Scripture:
The word of the LORD came v.1
The words ‘Fear not’ or ‘Do not be afraid’
The mention of God as ‘shield’
The first use of the title Adonai Jehovah – Lord God v.2
along with among others such as ‘Believed’ “Counted or reckoned’ and ‘righteousness’
and in Chapter 16 he notes we have the first reference in Scripture to a ‘well’.
Tracing the ‘well’ through scripture it so often points to the one who is the source of living water – our Saviour Jesus Christ. What a source on which to end!