Sarai therefore proposed to Abram that Hagar should become his secondary wife. This was a very usual custom in those days, but it was not a commendable one, and it was an unbelieving act on Sarai’s part to propose it. It is not always easy to patiently wait the Lord’s time. We are all too apt to run to expedients of our own; as if the Lord needed our help to fulfil his promises.
Thus those we love best may be the means of leading us astray. The father of mankind sinned by hearkening to his wife, and now the father of the faithful follows his example.
It was Sarai who proposed the arrangement, and now she upbraids her husband for. it. It is of no use to lay the blame of our faults upon others, for if we step out of the straight path we shall be sure personally to smart for it.
Thus Sarai was first unbelieving to God, next unkind to her husband, and then cruel to her servant; so one wrong step leads to others. Unbelief sins, and produces other sins. Even this holy woman was not without infirmity. “There is none good, save one, that is God.”
She did not say where she was going, for she did not know. Let each of us ask himself. “Whither am, I going?”
No one could use such language as this but the Angel of the Covenant. Here is a proof of the inspired declaration, “My delights were with the sons of men.”
First, God sees us; and then, by his gracious visitations, he leads us to look after himself.
The well of the living One, my Seer;
But this was not, as he had hoped, the promised heir; on the contrary, he became the occasion of much trial to the family. When we call in legality to help grace, or sight to assist faith, we miss our object, and ensure for ourselves no little sorrow. The whole scene is a painful one, and should warn us that even in a gracious household sin may sow dissension, and cause heartburnings and distress.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make!
Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,
And keep it still awake.
Oh may the least omission pain
My well-instructed soul;
And drive me to the blood again,
Which makes the wounded whole!