Walk In The Spirit & Not The Flesh.

Genesis Chapter 16


Intro: I am a very impatient driver - I hate traffic - get off freeway - go on a detour - I like to explore !

A) Reminded of a statement that Vance Havner often made: “The detour is always worse than the main road.”


B) Genesis 16 records a painful detour that Abraham and Sarah made in their pilgrim walk,

1)  a detour that brought conflict not only into their home but also into the world.


C) What today’s journalists call “the Arab-Israeli conflict” began right here.


D) But this account is much more than ancient history with modern consequences.

1)  It’s a good lesson for God’s people about walking  in Spirit - contrasted by walking in the flesh.


E) Contrast between a Carnal life & a Spirit filled life!


In Gal. Ch. 5 we are commissioned by the Lord to walk in the Spirit - if we do told we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

A) Scriptures make a clear distinction between walking in the Spirit Vs in the flesh


B) Carnally minded is death - worldly & fleshly


B) In Ch. 15 saw Abe walking in the Spirit - battle victory - resisting temptation from King of Sodom - Giving to Melch.



C) But here in Ch. 16 we see Abe diverting to carnality - 

          1) 10 yrs have passed - promise -  decide to help God out


V.1,2 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.

2  So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.


Where did this idea come from  ? World - not uncommon in pagan  cultures for men to have several wives - ( Possibly Ur - Probably Egypt - Harem)

A) Wasn’t God’s will or way - man will leave …. Two will become one flesh


B) So this plan was carnal first of all in the sense it was worldly - idea that had its basis in the world .  Follow example of the world

1)  Listen the minute that we as a church or as individuals start looking to the ways of the world - for guidance we are in trouble.


C) Marriage problems - world says - your rights - your needs -

1)  I am amazed by those who call themselves believers & yet - seek counsel from the ungodly.


D) Prov.21: 29  A wicked man hardens his face, But as for the upright, he establishes his way.

30  There is no wisdom or understanding Or counsel against the LORD.


So Abe was walking carnally by following the example of the world

A) And 2ndly  He was walking carnally - by seeking to fulfill the plan of God in the energy of the flesh.


B) Attitude that says lets help God out -  God is taking to long / I will do it myself - I will make it happen.


C) We fall into this mode whenever we try to please God in the energy of the flesh - whenever we try to do what God desires in our own energy !



Submission? Abe to Sarah - Eph. 5:21  fear of the Lord



Result of carnal living is always problems:  v.3-4 3  Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.

4  So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.



B) Hagar despises Sarah - v.4


A) Woman I cancelled - caught hubby for the 3rd time



v.5,6 5  Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me."   ( Your fault Abe )

6  So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.


Abe says honey you do what you think is best


major problems - because of the flesh

A) Everyone is behaving naturally -


A) Hagar flees - Person they brought into their house could have led to the Lord - ended up - chasing away.

Prov. 21:19 19  Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.

B) Be careful who you bring in - realize - witness


V.7 Great verse 7  Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.


A) Angel w/ a  Capital A = Jesus

The place where He found this poor Egyptian girl attracts our attention. It was "by a fountain of water in the wilderness," termed in verse 14 "the well.


 This is the first time we read of the "well" in Scripture.  


The Well speaks of Him who is the Living water / Jn. 4 woman at well broken relationships - 13  Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,

14  "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."



Three things are to be observed concerning this "well."

A) First, it was located in the "wilderness." Second, the well itself was "by the fountain /  mark the repetition of these words in verse 7.


B) And third, it was at this well that God revealed Himself to Hagar.

1)  Scene paints an interesting picture .


C) 1st Many are drawn to Christ in the wilderness - tough times

1)  Things going well - people think I don’t need Jesus.


D) It is in the wilderness, where is it that the needy one finds the Savior?



2nd The well was by the fountain - fountain led to the well - fountain represents the written word !

A) for they are they which testify of Him.



3rd thing to note is that it was there at the well that God revealed Himself

A) 13  Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"

14  Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.


B) Beer Lahai Roi = The Well of the one who lives & sees  me!


C) Jn. 17:3


Now it is also interesting to consider other places in scripture where the Well is seen.


The next Place that the word well is used in Scripture is found in Gen. 21:19 and again the connection is w/ Hagar

A) 19  Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water


B) Again neat picture - John 6:44 44  "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;

1)  God opened Hagar's eyes & she saw the Well




In Gen29:1,2 29:1  So Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the East.

2  And he looked, and saw a well in the field; and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks.


Rest & Refreshment - parched souls - where the sheep graze - thirst quenched.



Num. 21: 16  From there they went to Beer, which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, "Gather the people together, and I will give them water."

17  Then Israel sang this song: "Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it;


A) The well was a gathering place & a place of rejoicing !




2 Sam. 17: 17  Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David.

18  Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom. But both of them went away quickly and came to a man's house in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down into it.

19  Then the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground grain on it; and the thing was not known.


Place of protection & Covering -

A) Col. 3:3 Our Life is hidden w/ Christ in God.


B) He is Our Protection & our covering!





The angel called her “Sarah’s maid,” which suggests that God did not accept her marriage to Abraham.


 God told her to return to Abraham’s camp and submit herself to her mistress.

That would take a great deal of faith, because Sarah had mistreated Hagar before and might do it again.


God then told her that she was pregnant with a son whom she should name Ishmael (“God hears”). While he would not be Abraham’s heir in the blessings of the covenant, Ishmael would still enjoy blessings from God since he was Abraham’s son.


God promised to multiply Ishmael’s descendants and make them into great nations and He did; for Ishmael is the founder of the Arab peoples.

Ishmael would be a “wild man” (16:12, ), which is not a very flattering



It identified him with the wilderness where he lived by his skill as an archer (Gen. 21:20-21; Job 24:5).


He would be a hated man, living “in hostility toward all his brothers” (Gen. 16:12, niv).


While we must not apply these traits to every descendant of Ishmael, the centuries-long hostility between the Jews and the Arabs is too well known to be ignored.


The Arab nations are independent peoples, dwelling in the desert lands and resisting the encroachments of other nations, especially Israel and her allies.


Hagar’s wilderness experience brought her face-to-face with God and taught her some important truths about Him.


She learned that He is the living God who sees us and hears our cries when we hurt. The name of the well means “The well of One who lives and sees me.”

He is a personal God, concerned about abused people and unborn babies.


 He knows the future and cares for those who will trust Him.