Daily Archives: January 30, 2009

Undeserved Mercy

Genesis 16:1-12

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2And 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. 3So, 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. 4And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5And 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!” 6But 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.

7The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8And 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.” 9The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11And 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.
12He 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.”

Sarai comes up with a plan for Abram to have a child by her servant Hagar and he agrees to it. Hagar’s response to her pregnancy is to hold Sarai in contempt. She now sees herself as better than Sarai and is not shy in letting Sarai know it. What a dreadful piece of work this is.

And yet who of us is immune to it and who of us has not done the same thing or at least had the same attitude? We attempt something that succeeds and we get filled with ourselves and treat others as if they are lower on the scale of people who should be paid attention to. Our children become successful and we think that we are better than those whose children did not. We find a mate and think that means we are more attractive, more entertaining, more captivating than those who remain single. The list is endless. Hagar forgot that had Sarai not come up with the idea it is unlikely that she and Abram would have ever got together.

But the amazing thing in the story is verse 7. The Lord seeks Hagar out, finds her, comforts her and pronounces a blessing on her that is similar to the very covenant He made with Abram. This is grace. This is what should cause us to rejoice. What it certainly should not do is focus on how Hagar should never have received such a visit from the Almighty.

God showers the undeserving with mercy. This is a characteristic of God that eventually sends His Son into the world to redeem sinners much worse than Hagar from eternal wrath.

What a gracious God! What a picture this account is of great grace. What a foretaste of the cross of Christ, for make no mistake; the reason God can ignore Hagar’s wicked attitude to Sarai is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Have a look at Romans 3:23-27. Utterly mind blasting.

Remember that if you are saved at all it is because of free undeserved grace because of the mercy of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look down on no one. They are not worse sinners than you and they are just as redeemable. Pray for their conversion and give them the Gospel.