Those who Help Themselves
Gen 16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
One of the gifts from the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Gen 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
Learn this, if God promises something, we do not do in the flesh what is to be done by the Spirit. Abram listened to Sarai, as Adam listened to Eve. Abram harkened, foolish Abram in the flesh. What we do we are accountable for. Righteousness is by faith and righteous works follow. This would fit the illustration "God helps those who help themselves." No, this is a lie from satan. Not a Bible truth. If we help ourselves apart from God's promise and by His faith, we sin.
Gen 16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
Jewish teachings were that Sarai and Abram thought because they were not in the promise land, that God kept them from having the promised child. They had been in Canaan land for ten years, surely this was enough time. They lost faith in God's timing and decided to do something.
Gen 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
It was a reproach for a woman in that culture to be able to bear a child. Hagar despised Sarai her mistress and Sarai was made aware that she was the infertile one. This hurt her and made her jealous and angry. When we rely on the flesh, it gets ugly.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gen 16:5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
Abram had did the greater sin. He should have been the spiritual head. A loved one may lead us into sin, but we are accountable to God. He was the head of his household. Women try to rule and then they blame any failure on the man. the LORD judge, the LORD give you the blame Abram!
Gen 16:6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
Abram puts Sarai first, above Hagar and Sarai punished Hagar. Sin makes for hardships and confusion. Hagar fled from her persecutor. We often flee from strife, I know I do. But, we cannot flee from our responsibilities.
1 Pet 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Pet 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Gen 16:7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
The angel of the Lord, or the messenger of the LORD. I have trouble calling Jesus an angel. But many commentaries claim that this was Jesus.
Gen 16:8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
Gen 16:9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
Return and submit. Always we submit to the will of God and blessings follow.
Gen 16:10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
This sounds similar to the promise to Abram, but these would oppose the son of faith and his decendants.
Gen 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Gen 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
A wild man, the father of the Arabs and Islam. his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. This is seen in Iraq and all the nations opposing Israel and us, today. The children of flesh, religious, against the children of faith.
The spiritual significance of this is explained in Galatians 4. There Paul says that Hagar is a picture of the Law and Ishmael, her son, is a picture of those who try to establish favor in God's sight through religious activity. These are the Ishmaelites, and God says there shall be a great multitude, more than any man can number. Spiritually it is written of them, "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God," (Romans 8:8 ).
Gal 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Gal 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Gal 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Gen 16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Gen 16:14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
She named the well after God: The well of One who lives and sees. Kadesh means: holiness and Bered means hail or judgment. The well between holiness and judgment is the Grace of God; the grace of the one who lives and sees.
Gen 16:15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Gen 16:16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born and we hear nothing else for thirteen years.The next chapter opens when he is ninety-nine years old. This means that for thirteen years, strife, disagreement, bitterness, jealousy, and heartache characterized that tent in the land of Canaan. It is God's way of teaching Abram: "... for apart from me you can do nothing," (John 15:5b ). It does not depend on us, it all depends on him.
How do we know we are not doing things in our flesh? I would suggest prayer until you find peace about a decision. One verse of controversy concerning waiting on the LORD is Isa 40:31:
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The word in question is wait or wait upon the LORD. Some translate this as waiting as a waiter upon the LORD. Other Bible versions say to wait, to be still. In context of knowing God's will about something. Which is better, to be busy or to wait until we receive an answer?
06960qavah; to wait -- 1) to wait, look for, hope, expect, a) (Qal) waiting (participle) b) (Piel) 1) to wait or look eagerly for 2) to lie in wait for 3) to wait for, linger for 2) to collect, bind together a) (Niphal) to be collected, 8802 Stem - Qal, Mood - Participle Active
To actively wait; in context to walking in faith, we can do what we know is of faith, but that which is in question, we are to wait. To do something that is not of faith is sin.
Rom 14:23 ...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
We wait upon the Lord before doing something in the flesh, that is not of faith. Two more ways to know if it is of faith
(1 Do you have peace about what you plan to do?
(2 Will it bring God glory?
One more illustration is the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy serving, but in the flesh. Mary was sitting at the master's feet. Jesus commended Mary.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said untoher, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
2 Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
We do not help God by helping our self apart from his known will. We are to actively seek the will of God and walk by faith in his word. This is our duty.