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Daily Devotional Genesis 16:1–16

Many people live by the motto, “The end justifies the means.” The idea is that if our goal is good, it does not really matter how we achieve it. That mindset has been the rationale for many evils, big and small. The Bible is clear that God cares deeply about how we go about achieving our goals.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.”


God had promised Abram and Sarai children. Yet, it had been ten years since they left their homeland, and they were still waiting (v. 3). So, Sarai came up with her own plan for helping God to keep His promise. She convinced Abram to have a child with her servant (vv. 1–2). This seems quite odd to us today, but it was a customary practice in Abram’s world. That is the way people in the ancient world addressed issues of infertility. Yet, that clearly went against God’s plan.

In this scene, Abram and Sarai tried to achieve a worthy goal in an unworthy manner. It did not turn out well. When Hagar became pregnant, it immediately caused tension between her and Sarai (vv. 4–5). The Bible does not sugarcoat what happened. It plainly says, “Sarai mistreated Hagar” (v. 6). Hagar ran away to free herself from Sarai’s oppression.

When Hagar was in the wilderness with her son, the angel of the Lord met her (v. 9). He instructed her to go back to Sarai (v. 9). But he also made a promise to her. Her son would become the founder of numerous descendants (v. 10). God would bless him. Hagar learned that day that God cared about her, an abused servant who had run from Abram and Sarai. She celebrated this knowledge by declaring, “You are the God who sees me” (v. 13). God is known for hearing the cries of the oppressed and caring for them.

Go Deeper

What did Abram and Sarai do wrong? What was the consequence of their sinful action? What is the key takeaway from Hagar’s story?

Pray with Us

Father, You are the God who hears the pleas of the oppressed. You have compassion on the oppressed of today! Assure them that You are with them and deliver them from their oppressors. Teach them Your love.

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