- The LORD came to Abram in a vision.
- The LORD tells him NOT to be afraid.
- 'I am your shield.' 'Your reward will be very great!'
- Abram questions God. What can you give me since I have no child?!?! Look, you haven't given me any offspring!
- God answers, You will have a child, an heir. Look at the sky and count the stars…if you are able to!!! Your offspring will be that numerous.
- Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD.
- The LORD once again promises that Abram's descendants will possess the land. (15:7)
- Abram questions: How can I know that I will possess it?!
- God's covenant with Abram. 3 year old cow, 3 year old goat, 3 year old ram, a turtledove, pigeon. Split livestock down the middle, laid them opposite each other; Abram shooed birds of prey away and waited for the sun to go down. Abram fell into a deep sleep.
- 'Know this for certain.' Prophecies Israelites will be enslaved by Egyptians for 400 years, prophecies
- God will judge Egypt, and that they will leave with many possessions. Then He will bring them to the land. His descendants will possess the land--but, not yet--they must wait.
- Smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed through the divided animals.
What can I learn about God in Genesis 16?
- God is the God-who-Sees! The God-Who-Sees appeared to Hagar. He came to her--revealed himself to her. Gave her bad news and good news. 1) She had to go back to the master and mistress who had treated her unfairly. But. 2) She was promised that her son would have offspring too numerous to count. He will not live in peace with his brothers, but he will live. (Would she have considered this promise a good one? Would she have seen her son's friction as a good thing? Certainly understandable that he wouldn't get along with Sarai and any of her children.)
- The LORD told her what to name her baby--Ishmael. God is continuing to name!
- God is the God who hears! Hagar may have felt outside of this God-business. a) she was an Egyptian, b) she was a slave, c) she was a woman. But He heard her; He saw her; He cared enough to come to her and reveal himself to her.
- God treated her kindly. She was not rescued from her circumstances but she was comforted in her circumstances. She may have felt all alone, but God reminded her she was not.
What can I learn about myself by reading Genesis 16?
- How am I like Abraham? He wanted to control the when and the how of God's promise. He needed to believe and wait, not believe and act. Though sometimes belief leads directly to action, sometimes the action IS waiting. He followed the advice of his wife who also had ideas on how to make God's promise happen here and now. They wanted "to help" God keep his promise. God doesn't need help keeping promises. Abram was impatient and wanted to be more in control. He didn't have to listen to his wife, but, he chose to. The fact that he did listen probably means he was already tempted to rush things and hurry God up. After all, each month meant a "not yet" from God…and believing in God's promise faithfully for years--think of all those months--could not have been easy mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
- How am I like Sarai? She was an emotionally-driven woman. Bitter. Impatient. Angry. She blames Abram for listening to her and doing exactly what she wanted! Also jealous and hurting. She thought claiming Hagar's baby as her own would take away the pain and shame of being barren. Sarai desperately wanted to be a mother. She was tired of waiting. I imagine that each time Abram came to her with news that God had spoken to him again--and OH THE PROMISES! She probably got excited and his enthusiasm and hope became hers for a time. At least in the early years. I think it's been ten years since the last few chapters. It does say something that she didn't push Abram into this after just a year or two of waiting. So it wasn't that she lacked the ability to wait…just not able to wait long enough. It would be 23 years, I believe, from the promise in Genesis 15 and fulfillment in Genesis 21. No wonder she laughed!
- How am I like Hagar? She was the victim of circumstances. Commanded by by both Sarai and Abram. Her life was in their hands. She might have let her new position as future (birth) mother of his heir go to her head. But if there was unkindness, I think we can say it went both ways. She probably went from feeling invisible to having unwanted attention. Discouraged. Anxious. Bitter. She was abused and mistreated. Her life wasn't fair. But she found herself seen and heard.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible