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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.”—Genesis 16:1 (NKJV)
Abram’s life teaches us many important things. One of the more critical lessons is that bad choices have consequences, and we see a painful fulfillment of this here in Genesis chapter sixteen.
It starts out by telling us that Abram’s wife, Sarai, has not been able to conceive a child to serve as an heir for their family. Hold that thought. It also tells us that she has an Egyptian female servant named Hagar.
Now, we need to remember that God originally called Abram to dwell in the land of Canaan, not Egypt. However, when a famine hit Canaan, Abram took it upon himself to leave the land God called him to and go to Egypt, where there seemed to be relief (Genesis 12:10). This was an act of unbelief, a bad choice, and it’s more than probable that Hagar was acquired on this spiritual side-track.
Up until now, this decision may not have seemed very consequential, but watch what happens with Hagar now. “So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai” Genesis 16:2 (NKJV).
Sarai, despairing that she will ever get pregnant, decides the next best thing is for Abram to impregnate Hagar. In that case, at least her husband will have an heir, even if unrelated to her. Abram decides to go along with the plan. This is yet another bad choice, because the child produced with Hagar will prove a thorn in Abram’s side, as well as his descendants who would eventually come through Sarai.
But for now, let’s focus on the damaging ripple effect that one bad choice can have in a person’s life. The decision to flee to Egypt incurred ongoing consequences. Even though it wasn’t apparent for several years, seeds had been planted in Egypt that eventually would eventually produce the fruit of bitterness and worse for many generations to come.
What are we to take away from this? While we know our God is capable of redeeming any situation, our appropriate response to this episode in Abram’s life is to avoid bad choices at all costs. If we know something is wrong, if we know Egypt isn’t where we’re supposed to be, we need to not go there!
Again, God can and does forgive our bad choices in life. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences, ongoing consequences, which we will reap. The best time to fix a mistake is before we make it. May we take this truth to heart and decide to make the decisions that won’t come back to haunt us.
DIG: What bad choice did Abram make and how did it come back to haunt him?
DISCOVER: What should we learn from Abram’s mistake?
DO: What choice are you facing right now that falls into the “bad” category? Pray about what you’re going to do with regards to it.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.