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Since they still had no children, Sarai convinces Abram to have a child through Hagar. A son would be a legal heir according to the customs at that time.
After Hagar conceived, she treated Sarai disrespectfully. Sarai asks Abram to address the situation. Abram puts Hagar back under Sarai’s authority. She treats Hagar harshly and Hagar flees as a consequence.
As pregnant Hagar is running away, she meets the angel of the Lord. He tells her to return and submit to Sarai’s authority.
The angel of the Lord promised Hagar she will have numerous descendants. He tells her to name the baby “Ishmael” and that he will, unlike Hagar, be a free and independent man who will bow to no one.
Hagar recognized the angel to be God. She returned and bore a son to Abram. They named him Ishmael.
Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.
In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).
After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.
Genesis chapter 16 contains the events of the birth of Ishmael. Abram and Sarai still had not conceived a child, a decade had passed. Sarai suggests that Abram have a child with Sarai’s servant Hagar. When Hagar does get pregnant, Hagar despises Sarai and is treated harshly in return. So, Hagar runs away, but an angel of the Lord speaks to her and tells her to return and submit to Sarai. Hagar has a son and they name him Ishmael. This chapter shows that God’s plans are bigger than the plans of humans.