How is God Faithful Even When We are Faithless?: Genesis 16:1-16 (14)

  • Most families have some dark secrets (Deathbed)
  • The Bible brings these kinds of dark secrets into the light & invites us to do the same

= A. Prevention                       B. Hope

Faith-Filled People Have Faithless Days

Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

Barrenness – ancient world great fear/crisis (legacy, generational inheritance)

  1. Could lead to divorce & remarriage
  2. Other option was a “surrogate”


  • God first promised son w/Sarah (15:4)
  • Waited 10+ yrs still no child, in her 70’s (impatience reveals they are not ready)
  • We are told she’s “beautiful” but her identity is “barren”
  • Speaks 2 verses – “I” 2x & “me”  5x = selfishness
  • Egypt – silence.           Here – folly
  • No indication she prayed for a child
  • Blames God “the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.”
  • Common practice in ancient world, not for God’s people
  • Like Eve took charge w/a bad plan
  • HER plan = “succeeds” = cursed not blessed
  • Sees herself as a victim “May the wrong done to me be on you!’


  • Egyptian – God just delivered them from Egypt (probably brought her with them)
  • Opportunist?????
  • They are married, so which son will be the heir of God’s promises ????
  • Does have contempt for Sarah, seeks to replace her
  • Will raise her son to have contempt for Isaac who is much younger

=this is like a blended family w/both wives under 1 roof


·         Passive – let Lot choose land, gave Sara away to Pharaoh

·         Active – rode 100+ miles into war to rescue Lot & family

·         Here – passive again w/Sarah

·         Another FALL – 2 trees (1 forbidden) vs 2 women (1 forbidden) Adam/Abraham passive

= Adam’s wife handed forbidden fruit. Abraham’s wife handed forbidden female.


A. Polygyny – 1 man multiple women        B. Polyandry – 1 woman multiple men (0x Bible)

  • Started godless Lamech (Gen. 4)
  • Not practiced by Noah or his family – no polygamists survived the flood
  • Here introduced to believers

= In our lifetime we will see A). Polygamy legalized B). Age of consent challenged

God Is Faithful Even When We are Faithless

Genesis 16:The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 12  He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.


Pr 30:21-23 Under three things the earth trembles…a maidservant who displaces her mistress.

  • Abraham & Sarah do not refer to her by name
  • Left freely = could have done so prior
  • Echoes Mary –  young, alone, pregnant, scared, divine visit
  • She names God “El Roi” = the God who sees me (only person in Bible to name God)
  • For her safety, she is sent back


  • Name means “God hears”
  • Has 12 sons (like 12 tribes Israel) that become nations
  • Father of the Arabs who are wealthy & blessed
  • Wild donkey – Used to protect livestock – fight hyaenas/wild dogs/coyotes – kick & bite


  1. God pursues her, speaks to her (outcast, rejected, scared)
  2. Very unusual in the Bible & ancient literature in general
  3. Blessed not Saved

The Angel/”messenger” of the Lord usually Jesus – like Jesus @ well w/Samaritan woman

OT –     48X “angel of the Lord;                       11X “angel of God”     Christophony/Jesus


People Groups traced to Abraham 4000 years later 

15 million Jews descended from Abraham through Isaac

436 million Arabs descended from Abraham through Ishmael

Religions traced to Abraham 4000 years later


16 million Mormons, 8 million Jehovah’s Witness


2.4 billion Christian

1.9 billion Muslims

2 million Orthodox Jews

Islam = fastest growing religion, 2x population, passing XN before 2060 latest


Islam (dominant in Arab world)

-Muhammed born 570, revelation for Islam 610 AD

-Ishmael is Koran as a hero

-Believe Ishmael was the “firstborn” son of the covenant promise

-God asked Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael, not Isaac & Eid ul-Adha

event sacrifice animal (counterfeit Passover?)

-Believe Ishmael settled in Mecca

-Every year during the Hajj (ritual pilgrimage) to Mecca reenact Hagar’s search for water for Ishmael, running 7X between 2 hills & drawing water from well of Zam Zam that “miraculously” sprung from under baby Ishmael’s feet

-Muhammed is believed to be a descendant of Ishmael

-Abraham in Koran 69X – more than anyone but Moses

Cave of the Patriarchs

I need a photo of the Cave of the Patriarchs such as:

-Cave of the Patriarchs (holy site Jews, Muslims, XN’s)

-Herod the Great built large structure over burial cave around the time of Jesus, only fully surviving Herodian structure, church later built, then destroyed & mosque built, then captured & returned to church, then conquered & returned to mosque, built & rebuilt over 2000 years

-Historically – XN’s & Jews – if you go beyond 7th step to pray you’re severely beaten

-1994 29 shot & killed; 125 wounded

-Jews – only enter SW side & limited to SW corridor 19%. (Israeli army guards)

-Muslims – only enter NE side & limited to non-Jewish areas 81% (Palestinian army guards)

since 1995 each side can visit the other side for 10 holy days

Redemption NOT Religion

Jesus came through the line of Abraham & Sarah & Isaac as promised

Jesus came to fulfill the promises of the Jewish prophets

Jesus came to seek us as the God-man like He did Hagar

Jesus came to bless the nations, including Israel & the Jewish nations

Jesus does not abandon those in covenant relationship w/Him like Abraham & Sarah

Jesus is faithful to us even when we waiver in faith to Him

God who sees                                   God who hears (pray/sing)

In this sermon from Genesis 16, Pastor Mark preaches on the story of Abraham and Sarah trying to, once again, take matters into their own hands, this time to get a son they believe to be God's promised son. He ends with the good news that, even though faith-filled people have faithless days, God remains faithful when we are faithless.
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