“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.” Genesis 16:1 Amplified
As beautiful as Sarai was she was not able to bear Abraham any children. God had promised Abraham descendants to inherit the land He would give them. Sarai tells Abraham that maybe God would give them children through her handmaiden, so instead of waiting on the Lord to provide, they took matters into their own hands. Just as Eve had given the forbidden fruit to Adam and he ate it, Sarai gives her handmaiden Hagar to Abraham and he has intercourse with her. Hagar became pregnant and looked down on Sarai, their perfect plan didn’t work. Interestingly, Sarai told Abraham in Genesis 16:5, “May the responsibility for my wrong and deprivation of rights be upon you!” As head of the family whatever Sarai did would fall upon Abraham, he would be responsible. When the plan was initially hatched he could have, and should have told her no, but he didn’t, the flesh won again. God could have stopped Sarai and Abraham from letting this happen, but there again is free will.
So Sarai drove Hagar away from their camp into the wilderness. An Angel of the Lord appeared to her by a spring and asked her where she had come from and where she was going. She told him that she was running from her mistress Sarai. He told her to go back and humbly submit to her control, God would multiply her descendants exceedingly so that they shall not be numbered. He told her to name her son Ishmael (God hears), because the Lord had heard and paid attention to her affliction. “Ishmael will be as a wild ass among men, his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.” We see this in the middle east today and all the conflict there.
Hagar is our woman of the Bible for today. She is a lesson to us on submission to God. As a victim of circumstance, she had no control over all that happened. Now in her flesh she did contribute to being thrown out of the camp because of her contemptible attitude toward Sarai. Ultimately though she returned to the camp of Sarai and Abraham, living there with her son Ishmael, at least for a time.
She trusted God and obeyed. Though it may be hard sometimes for us to submit to someone, especially someone being cruel, we must seek to do what’s pleasing to God.