Abraham Thought God Needed Help (Genesis 16:2)

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If we know anything about prayer, it’s that God’s timeline and ours don’t always match up.

Sometimes, we may think that what we ask for in our prayers should be delivered immediately. It’s on our mind, so it should be on God’s too, right?

Before you know it, thirty years have passed, and that prayer is finally answered. And never in the way that you expect it will. And probably not at all what you really even asked for.

Prayer is “funny” like that.

I’m no psychic, but I would imagine a lot of that impatience percolated in Abraham’s mind for a while, too. By the time you get to Genesis 16, ten years have passed since he first entered Canaan (Genesis 16:3).

Ten. Long. Years.

Did he think God forgot about His promise to give him a son?

Why Did Abraham Marry Hagar?

To be fair, Abraham’s relationship with Hagar was technically Sarah’s idea, similar to how Adam’s sin in the Garden originated with Eve.

Like Adam though, Abraham never seemed to protest; in fact, it says that he “agreed to what Sarah said” (Genesis 16:3). His blame lies with himself, not in what someone else made him do.

Why did he think it was a good idea though? 

Perhaps he thought that God’s promise of a child needed some help. Both him and Sarah were “advanced in years” and considered their ability to conceive as nonexistent (Romans 4:19).

To be clear, he never doubted God’s promise, he simply doubted the manner in which it came. At the end of the day though, that wasn’t his to orchestrate. 

God made the promise, God would fulfill that promise.

Did Abraham Doubt God?

The Bible is clear that Abraham didn’t lose his faith through this trial (Romans 4:20). Ishmael’s conception was from an abundance of hope in that promise — so much hope that his own wife was willing to watch him marry someone else in hopes of fulfilling that promise. 

This episode is a great illustration though of the mechanics of our faith. As we talked about in another article, faith is seen/evidenced/demonstrated/proven/enacted by what we do. Abraham’s faith, although misguided, was firmly guided by his conviction that God would fulfill his promise.

He never doubted, he simply erred in judgment. How many times have made similar mistakes when we try to force God’s hand to answer a prayer?