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Despite God’s assurances, Abram’s faith is still wavering. He and his wife, Sarai, decide Abram should have a child with Sarai’s attendant. It was acceptable at that time for a man to have a child with a female slave, especially if his wife was unable to have children. It was acceptable in the culture, but not God’s plan. An angel tells Hagar her son will live in constant conflict with his relatives; a prediction that is fulfilled in the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors today.

It’s reasonable to look for alternative ways to get things do; so long as the alternatives don’t involve sin and are done while still trusting in God. Using the resources God has provided in a way that pleases God is a great thing! However, pursuing a path that is wrong is never God’s way. Getting something we are sure God wants us to have, or a relationship we know is right, or wealth we are sure we will use to accomplish things for God cannot be gained in ways God says are wrong. The end does not justify the means.