Thursday, January 26, 2023

Getting a Wife-Mandated Mistress

Suggested Reading: Genesis 16:1-16

One of my favorite authors, Stephen Lawhead, often puts a disclaimer at the beginning of his books when the subject matter required him to consult others to make his details realistic. In this disclaimer he thanks those who have helped him with his research and then adds a note that any place the details might not add up the way they should is entirely his own fault. He gives credit for the help he had received but takes credit for the mistakes up front, not that I ever have or would have noticed any mistakes.

At the opposite end of that spectrum are Sarai and Abram. As they grew older, with Abram in his 80s and Sarai in her 70s, they still had not had any children. So Sarai convinced Abram to have a child with her servant Hagar so that she could count the servant's child as her own. Abram might have refused but the practice was fairly common at the time among couples who couldn't have children so Abram went along with it. When Hagar got pregnant she began looking at Sarai with contempt, possibly believing she could now replace her mistress (one of the common problems with this plan). So Sarai approached Abram, scolding him, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” (Genesis 16:5, NLT).  Sarai, emotional and insecure as she was, came storming in, blaming Abram that her own plan had worked. She had come up with an idea, persuaded Abram to go along with it, and then got bent out of  shape at the predictable consequences when it did work. Isn't that just like us, sometimes?

How often do we come up with a plan or take action without quite thinking it through all the way and then get angry when the natural consequences of that plan come to pass? Worse yet, how often are we unwilling or unable to accept the blame for our own actions and try to pin the blame on someone else? We forget to make an appointment but it's the repair shop's fault they can't get us in. We wait to leave until the last possible minute but it's traffic's fault that we are late. We tell a spouse to set out hamburger meat, but it's their fault they didn't know we meant chicken breasts. We talk about someone behind their back but it's their fault they're being overly sensitive.

One of the least endearing qualities in any human being is the inability to take credit for mistakes or for the consequences of our own choices. When we mess up, let's have the courage to own up to our mistakes because Sarai was right about one thing:  The Lord will show who's wrong

What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?

Suggested Reading: Judges 16:4-21 or Judges 16 (the whole Samson and Delilah story) I may lose some readers over this statement, but.....