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Updated: Apr 29

Genesis 16:1-9, 13
Hagar and Ishmael
16 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. 7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. 9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 


As I was reflecting on a familiar passage during my recent devotion, I gained four insights. The acronym ‘D.R.I.P’ helps me to remember these four points as I reflect on our sinful tendencies as human beings in comparison to God’s higher ways.


In this passage, Hagar was referred to as a slave by both Abram and Sarai (v.2, 5 & 6). Hagar was treated as a mere possession, as one to be used. However, in verse 8, an angel of the Lord referred to her by her name and gave her the dignity that her human masters deprived her of. It is comforting to know that no matter who we are, the colour of our skin, our socioeconomic status or our education level, God does not look down on us in the way that man often does.

This reminds me of Ms TJ, the cleaner lady that my wife and I used to employ at our small business while we were serving on the mission field. She confided in us that her family looked down on her for being a single mother and also for being poor and uneducated. She appreciated that we treated her with respect and dignity, despite being her bosses. She also knew that we were Christians. When we give dignity to those who lack it, the Gospel message gains impact. It also reveals a loving God who knows us by name and gives us dignity. Hagar recognised this as she declared in v.13, “You are the God who sees me…I have now seen the One who sees me.”

While we as humans often deprive each other of dignity in this broken world, God never does. His Son, Jesus Christ, died an undignified death on the cross for us. Even as we honour Christ in His resurrection, let us be reminded of God's unwavering commitment to redeeming and dignifying mankind. May we also be committed to spreading His love to people like Ms. TJ, whether it be in our own homes or beyond. 


When I read this passage, it reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve. In that story, Eve convinced Adam to make a bad decision. Making bad decisions is a part of life, so that's not the main issue. However, the main problem is that both Sarai and Abram did not take responsibility for their actions. When the initial plan of conceiving through natural means did not work, Sarai came up with an alternative plan (16:2). Unfortunately this plan went awry, and she then blamed it on Abram instead of taking responsibility for her choice. “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering…” Sarai told her husband (v.5). Playing the blame game has been around for as long as the human race has existed; think of Adam, Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Of course, Abram too was responsible for his actions but it was easier to let someone else take the blame. When Sarai took her displeasure out on him, Abram was happy to let Hagar bear the brunt instead, (v.6) causing her to run away. However, running away from one’s problems is not God’s way and the angel told Hagar to go back to Sarai (v.9).

It's human nature to try and take the easy way out or push responsibility onto others. Unfortunately, this tendency is evident from a young age. As an example, my wife and I have a 5-year-old son who, when asked to do a chore that he doesn't like (which is most of them), will sometimes respond with, "Why don't you ask Mikey (his 7-year-old brother)?"

If the Lord beckons, “Leave everything behind and follow Me” to the mission field, we have two possible responses. “Here I am Lord, send me.” OR “How about him/her? Why don’t you ask him/her instead?” If the Lord indeed calls us to cross geographical borders with the Good News, rather than pointing our finger at someone else to do it, let’s take on our sacred responsibility with faith and courage.



Sarai wanted a child and she had been waiting long enough. God might have promised Abram a child in the preceding chapter (Gen 15:4), but Sarai was not going to wait anymore. Her biological clock and her patience had run out. She concluded that since God was not going to give her a child naturally (16:2), it was time to move on to Plan B.

I wonder how often I move on to Plan B without giving God enough time to work. Just to be clear, it’s NOT because God needs more time to make things happen, in the same way that we need time to finish a task or project. He can make things happen in a split second if He desires, but He often doesn’t. God seems to take His time from our limited viewpoint, which we dislike.

God uses the waiting time to develop our perseverance and character, as well as to grow our faith. These are virtues, but the problem is, we are often impatient. Chelsea Clinton once said, “Patience is a virtue, but impatience gets things done.” We don’t like God’s timing because waiting is tough and we just want to get things done. This is one of the reasons why mission work among the Unreached People Groups is so challenging. Sometimes progress can be slow and we may feel like we're not making any headway despite years of labour. But it's important to remember that God's timing is perfect. Being patient and trusting in His plan can lead to greater things than rushing and hurrying towards an end result. Let us embrace patience and trust in the journey.



 Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit appears before a fall.”

This is certainly true in this Bible passage. Hagar, Sarai's slave, became arrogant after becoming pregnant and started to look down on Sarai for her inability to conceive (Gen 16:4). Although the Scripture does not mention what Hagar did when she despised Sarai, it tells us Sarai's response in verse 6. Hagar's actions were foolish, and she paid the price for it.

Christian mission workers are not immune to pride and often this negatively impacts the work on the field. Perhaps it is smugness in one’s ability to learn the local language while looking down on teammates who are not gifted in this area. Or perhaps it is ethnocentrism which leads to criticism of the way the locals carry out their everyday tasks. Pride can come in many different forms but they all lead to broken relationships. Without good long-term relationships, it’s very difficult to plant a healthy, growing church on the mission field.

Hagar failed to realise that her ability to conceive was from the Lord. We too need to realize that whatever gift, ability or success that we have is from the Lord, and remain humble, just as the Lord is humble (Philippians 2).



The story of Hagar reminds me of my personal shortcomings as a human being. The acronym D.R.I.P represents my need for a Saviour who can change my heart and help me to be more Christ-like in every way. Even as we celebrated Easter recently, may our hearts overflow with gratitude for Christ's love and His power to redeem and transform us. May we also burn with the desire to make Jesus known to the ends of the earth.

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