Sarai was Abram's wife, but she did not have any children. She had an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai told Abram, 'The Lord has not allowed me to have children, so sleep with my slave. Maybe she can have a son, and I will accept him as my own.' Abram did what Sarai said.
So after living ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai gave her Egyptian slave to Abram as a second wife. Abram slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar realized this, she became very proud and began to feel that she was better than Sarai her owner.
Before Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael (now recognized as the Patriarch of Islam and the forefather of the Prophet Muhammad), Abram and Sarai had been childless for decades. Preceding their desperate move toward Hagar, God promised Abram on more than one occasion...
'I will make you a great nation' (Genesis 12:2); 'I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered' (Genesis 13:16); 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them... So shall your descendants be' (Genesis 15:5).
But in the eyes of Sarai, precious years had passed. She and Abram were well-past prime time as parents. Like when Saul didn't believe Samuel would come and took God-ordained matters into his own hands, so did Sarai convince Abram to do the same.
Even so, consider some positives:
1. This power couple was chosen by God.
2. Later, Isaac's birth was a miracle.
3. Abraham is the father of our faith.
On the challenging side, we might take note:
1. Sarai's impatience caused her great anguish.
2. Abram agreed, when he could have said no.
3. Ishmael and Hagar were sent away.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Waiting on God is so hard to do. But to push ahead of His timing is to push ahead of His blessing: like closing your umbrella in a turbulent, unpredictable storm. In this case, the storm was Ishmael: troubling to Sarai in many ways.
If Abraham became the father of God's children, both Jews and Christians, then Ishmael became the father of those who would later oppose them.*
To Be Continued...
* In fairness, not all Muslims oppose Christians. Even more, God ordained their rise: 'And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation' (Genesis 17:20). However, the lineage leading to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, to Jesus Himself, and to us, would come from Isaac, the miracle child.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Parent Traps series.