The previous story makes it evident that the principle of faith is the true philosophy of life. It builds on God and is satisfied with Him. It thus becomes the source of all righteousness. Faith, therefore, is the highest activity of reason.
All this stands out in even more startling vividness by contrast in the story contained in this chapter. Here we have the account of the second deflection from faith in the conduct of Abram. It is a sad one and the issue of the failure continued through the following history. The failure of faith consisted in Abram attempting, at the instigation of Sarai, to further the purposes of God by human cleverness and contrivance. The seed was promised and when there appeared no likelihood of the promise being fulfilled on the human level, there was deflection from the divine line for raising seed through Hagar.
The harvest of this folly Abram began to reap almost immediately in the division of his own household and the bitterness that sprang up therein between Sarai and Hagar, and the ultimate flight of Hagar through Sarai's harsh dealing with her. The far-reaching result is found in the story of the posterity of Ishmael as a constant source of trouble to the posterity of Isaac. Where faith fails, evil is wrought, the issues of which are far-reaching.
There is a very beautiful part to this story, however, in the tenderness of God toward Hagar, the wronged one; and in her recognition of Him and consequent naming of the well in the wilderness by which she had in all probability sunk down exhausted. It was called "Beer-lahai-roi," that is, "The Well of the Living One who seeth Me."
the Third Week after Epiphany