At our church for the next 6 months, we will be going through the Old Testament. As we journey through the Old Testament, expect to see some posts related to what we are studying here too. We just started our reading plan this past week, so I want to start near the beginning on today’s Wednesday Devotional. Today, we are going to look at the story of Sarai in Genesis Chapter 16 and taking a peek at how she failed to trust God and how culture equals unrighteousness.
Let’s read the Scriptures: Genesis 16:1-6 “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, The Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and se conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you!’ I gave my servant to your embrace,and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me! But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.’ Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.'”
What It Says About Why Culture Equals Unrighteousness
Sarai gave into life’s and culture’s pressures. She was barren and wanted children. In those days, it was important to bear children, so you would have an heir for your possessions. God had come to Sarai and told her she would have children. She waited and waited, maybe for what seemed like to be forever, but still no child. She became impatient and decided to take things into her own hands.
How many times do we do this same thing to ourselves? Oftentimes, we may not even wait. We may react immediately without having any confirmation from God. We seek culture’s quick response instead of answers from God.
Today, in our culture, the pressures are overwhelmingly real. Social media, the news, advertisements-they all tell us how we should behave and all the things we should accumulate. “They” tells us it is okay to blur the lines and live on the edge. “They” say, “It’s okay if…” and put stipulations on situations where they need not be.
It was culturally acceptable for Abram to get a maidservant pregnant because he didn’t have a son to become his heir. Now, it is culturally acceptable for us to get a divorce because we ‘fell out of love”. These cultural norms equal unrighteousness in the eyes of God. We are not to live by cultural standards. Instead, we were called to live by God’s standards, which He clearly defines for us in the Bible.
So here is my charge to you wives. Abram was influenced by his wife. She was the one who suggested he sleep with Hagar to get her pregnant. Similarly, Eve was the one who swayed her husband into eating the fruit God told them not to eat. So here it is ladies. Are you ready? Be careful not to tempt those you are close to, namely our husbands, into wrong doing. It may feel good and even be culturally acceptable. It can even benefit you, and you may have the right cause in mind. However, these cultural aspects do not equal righteousness.
I am preaching to the choir here too. This lesson is one I had to learn and constantly have to remind myself. Being a pastor’s wife, it is easy to want to sway him into some decision that benefits me selfishly. I have to be on guard to check my feelings and desires to determine what is best for the church and not what is best for me. There are times when it might feel better for me to go after what I desire, but it is unacceptable for me to chase an unrighteous choice.
Also, be careful not to take the easy road. God doesn’t call us to take the easy route. He calls us to take the righteous road. Yes, it was easier for Abram and Sarai to take matters into their own hands and have a child with Hagar because they feared they would not have children in the future. Since they did not trust God, their path became more agonizing.
Seek the Lord on every decision. Abram didn’t seek God’s wisdom on whether or not he should get Hagar pregnant and neither did Sarai. Therefore, God remained silent and Abram and Sarai moved forward in their sin. So let me say it again, culture equals unrighteousness.
We often like to think, “Oh, God will step in and prevent me from messing up.” NO! This thought is not true! If we don’t seek the Lord, He may remain silent. Furthermore, culture may tell me it is okay to pursue this route without even needing to seek God, but the Bible tells me to look to God in everything I do. Culture equals unrighteousness.
So be careful how you are influencing others, seek God and pursue righteousness. Don’t end up like Abram and Sarai, where they spent years trying to untangle themselves from the mess they were in from trying to do things their own way. God will still work even when we mess up, but it will be much more painful.
God, thank You for always turning my mess into a magnificent glorification of who you are. Forgive me for being self-righteous and not seeking You in my decisions. Help me to seek You in all I do. May I always seek righteousness instead of my own selfish ambitions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are swaying your husband the wrong direction? Do you take the easy road instead of the righteous road? Do you seek the Lord in all your decisions? What can you do to guard yourself in the future from cultural unrighteousness?
Did you catch last week’s Wednesday Devotional? If not, you can find it here!