In chapter 15, we are told of Abram’s moment of, what we would call, salvation. In verse 6 it says Abram believed what God told him and because of that, God considered him righteous. It’s interesting to have that event followed by this story of a misguided decision by Abram. Abram and Sarai decide to take a step to help God keep His promise. Although Abram is now going to become a father, their actions cause conflict that carries through to today. Ishmael becomes the father of the people we call Arabs, who still often live in conflict with Abram’s other descendants whom we call Jews.
This story gives us good news and bad news. Even someone we know God considered righteous made mistakes. When we do things we shouldn’t, we are in good company. The Bible is full of stories of people God loves who made mistakes too. The bad news: our mistakes can have long-lasting impact. Generations of conflict can result from our short-term solutions to the things we think we need. Although we are forgiven for our mistakes, the consequences remain. It is better to do the right thing so forgiveness is not required and the consequences are avoided!