Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.
Abram and Lot’s families represent polar opposites in many ways, but today in our reading we see that they shared a common flaw. Their abuse of God’s gift of sexuality brought terrible consequences.
We can understand Sarai’s doubt in the promise of a son, which from the beginning seemed ludicrous. Lot’s daughters had just left the glamour of Sodom for life in a cave (19:30), not a place likely to enhance their prospects of remarriage. No matter where our sympathies lie, however, all of these women failed to trust in God’s provision and did not understand the consequences of sexual sin.
We have already seen that God gave marriage in part to make humanity partners in bringing forth new life. The physical act of union creates a spiritual bond. This is what makes Sarai’s instruction to Abram to “build a family” through her servant Hagar so tragically misguided. Abram’s physical union with Hagar created an entirely new family apart from Sarai, evidenced in Abram marrying Hagar by sleeping with her (16:3). Sarai recognized this after the fact, and then she cruelly insisted that Abram banish Hagar and Ishmael after Isaac’s birth (Gen. 21:8–10).
Lot’s daughters showed both the moral carelessness of their father and Sarai’s impatience. Not coincidentally, the fruit of these incestuous unions resulted in two nations that would later be Israel’s direct enemies. God gave Ishmael protection and blessing, but his descendants were not children of the promise. God can always bring good from evil. But we must understand that because our sexuality is such a powerful gift, its abuse may lead to dire results.
Apply the Word
Many of our own sins—whether sexual or otherwise—have the same root of failing to trust God. We think our needs are not being met, and we try to solve the problem rather than believe in God’s provision. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you of any sin, confess, repent, and trust the Lord to provide for you.