You need to stay on course with this Scripture because it has been somewhat romanticized over time. There is a lot that screams injustice to our 21st century sensibilities. But let’s read this Scripture from the perspective of what does the Scripture actually say? God has promised Abram and Sarai a child from Abram’s own issue, from him actually. Sara knows this but as time passes and she does not bear a child she starts to wonder if maybe God meant, just maybe, that it is from Abram’s body but not from her’s. So she comes up with a plan, and I give her the benefit of the doubt as I give all people the benefit of the doubt, and maybe, just maybe, she thought she was fulfilling the Lord’s plan by this idea. We have seen people have ideas in Scripture and they are actually God’s plan all along, so maybe this could be one of those.
She had someone who waited on her, a slave actually, and thought she would be good to produce a child for Abram. Even today surrogate parenting is not unheard of, it happens. Abram agrees to it and this girl, Hagar, conceives. The problem begins not with Sara being angry with Hagar, but rather we find it begin at vs.4 when Hagar looked with contempt at Sara. Am I blaming Hagar, a slave girl who had no power to say no to Abram, nor to say no to Sara? Would I blame any woman who has been abused or even raped for any reason which others might call justifiable: clothes, a look, a word of encouragement, or any other straw men that are built up in order to ease the conscience at best or declare as innocent those who have abused women? Absolutely not! Scripture says that Sara acted out of anger because someone who was under her power, and she took full advantage of that power, as did Abram by the way, looked down on her because she, a slave girl, could do something that her mistress could not. She was able to produce children.
Sarai is not justified in the way that she treats Hagar. Hagar does look down on Sarai, but that is not justified either. You know what is interesting to me today? When a person is accused of something atrocious the immediate answer is that: Well, what I did is nowhere near as bad as what this other person did. As a result the wrong that a person does is never dealt with honestly because it is always deflected to the wrong that another person has done, which is completely unrelated to what that person had done. Does that make sense? Often the wrong that Hagar did: look down on Sara, is used as a weapon to justify what Sara did which was to kick her out of the camp. That totally circumvents the wrong that Sarai and Abram do which is force her to produce children by Abram. Such is the family of our Savior.
So now to Hagar. She is kicked out of the camp and is ready to die but God comes and speaks directly to her. Keep in mind that she is a pagan Egyptian woman and God speaks directly to her. She does not go on and come back into the Israelite tribe. No, Ishmael while still a brother of Isaac, is forced to leave the camp later on. This whole story ought to focus on the blessing that Hagar receives from the Lord which is His presence and His promise that she and her son will have progeny that will not be able to be counted.