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Hello Hagar Part I… click here.
Hello Hagar Part II… click here.
The last two weeks we learned about Hagar’s misfortune. She was a slave who was forced to have a child for her masters. Once she became pregnant an intense hatred between herself and her mistress erupted into mistreatment and Hagar’s running away. Last week we saw how God was with her through it all. He protected her in the desert and sent her back to her mistress. Today we see what happens almost 20 years later. Have they learned to live in harmony? Have they accepted their roles and flourished within them? Or has the underlying tension kept everyone walking on eggshells?
Genesis 21 drops a bit of a bombshell on the story. It let’s loose a rather unexpected turn of events. At this point Sarah, Hagar’s mistress, has had the child she has waited forever for. She decides that she no longer wants Hagar around, sending her and her son away for good has become her desire. Abraham wisely consults with the Lord and in verse 12 God responds. His answer may be surprising, let’s read it…
12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you…”
So God tells Abraham to go ahead and please his wife in this, to sendHagar away with her son. Basically Hagar got kicked out!!!
13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
God blesses the idea of sending Hagar away but not without first speaking a blessing over her son.
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and thensent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
I bet Hagar had no idea she was going to be exiled from the only home she’d known for more than 30 years when she woke up that morning. Maybe she was overcome with uncertainty and fear at the thought of having to leave and not knowing where to go. Back into the desert she went. This time she did not go alone. Her son accompanied her in the wanderings. Having a limited amount of supplies soon became an issue especially because they wandered without a final destination.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
Lack of water took it’s toll and her son began to dehydrate. One piece if information that strikes me about this story every time is the boys age. When read without background knowledge it comes off like he is just a young child. The reality is that the boy was a teenager. She walked away from her teenaged son and left him to die.
Wow! What a moment of hopelessness. How incredibly crippling it must feel to be in a position where the one person you love the most in the world is slipping away and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
But then God… maybe there is nothing you or I can do in some situations but there is always one who can make the impossible possible.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
I love how it says that He “opened her eyes” as if implying the wells presence the whole time. I wonder what is directly in front of you that you have been praying for but have not noticed? What is God opening your eyes to?
My Prayer for You:
Lord God I pray for for the unmet prayers. I pray for those in
Memory Verse: Matthew 19:26
Sarai couldn’t have children so she told her husband to create a family through her slave, Hagar.
Hagar became pregnant and began to despise her mistress.
Let’s see what happens next and what we can learn from it.
4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 6 … Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
I’ve experienced many different levels of anger: so mad I’m shaking, so mad I have to walk away, so mad my ears become extremely hot and turn red, so mad my voice steadily increases. The worst of all is when I am so mad I can’t contain myself and the tears start flowing.
Why do I mention my levels of anger?
Because I think Hagar was going through her own levels of emotional distress during this season in her life.
At this point Hagar has been with Sarai for years and I would imagine that even as her slave they had as cordial and positive a relationship as was appropriate. However the minute Hagar felt something other than complete respect for her mistress things began to go south. Hagar mustn’t have been the best at hiding her emotions because it’s obvious from verse 6 that Sarai felt her disdain and responded in tow.
Talk about baby momma drama!!!
I can’t begin to imagine how poorly Sarai must have treated Hagar for her to get to the point of, “I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”. She got to level 10 of fed up. Sick and tired of being sick and tired she packed a bag and hit the road.
Hagar ran away.
She ran away from the problem. She ran away from her reality. She ran away from a toxic and apparent hopeless situation.
Who was she to compete? She was still a slave and had no rights.
So she fled.
I know Hagar isn’t the only person who has ever felt so overwhelmed, hurt, disappointed, disillusioned, mistreated, hopeless or burdened and thought the best remedy would be to take the next exit off the highway to crazy. I’ve done this myself. I ran away from situations and circumstances instead of facing them head on. I am sure that maybe some of you have as well. Things didn’t go as planned in the fleeing process did they? I know they definitely didn’t for me and they didn’t for Hagar either.I bet she thought she could just go back to Egypt with her son and start a new life. Little did she know that in running away from Sarai and the mess her life had become she was actually running right into a holy encounter with God.
7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert;
I love verse 7. In such a low desperate moment God finds Hagar. She was Egyptian and probably didn’t even follow the same god that Sarai and Abram did, yet their God went and sought her out in the middle of the desert. The desert always makes me think of the driest most arid condition of the heart and soul. Hagar was physically and emotionally in a desert. God met her there. He didn’t just happen upon her, he went looking specifically for her.
Isn’t that beautiful?
So if you are in a desert today I hope these words may be a refreshing icy cold drink to your spirit. God can and will meet you where you are. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. 9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” God met Hagar in the desert to give her an instruction. An instruction to get out of the wilderness.
My God will not leave you in the desert longer than need be! God will provide you with a way out, a lesson learned. Which is exactly what he did for Hagar. He tells her to go back and submit. Basically he’s telling her to get her emotions under control and not allow them to interfere with her responsibilities. Sarai may have been wrong but that doesn’t mean it was okay for Hagar to be anything but honoring.
10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.
After God gives Hagar an instruction he gives her a promise. That’s so encouraging. Just as much, or maybe more, as God wants our obedience he wants to bless us. I have a friend who would always say, “God wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed.”
Listen for the promises and get ready for your blessing!!!
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen” the One who sees me.”
In closing, Hagar went through so much in a matter of 13 verses. She started off as a slave who was ordered to become pregnant and when it happens she despises her mistress. As a result her mistress treats her severely and she runs away. While fleeing she encounters God in the desert and he gives her an instruction and a promise.
Her response is FAITH! She declares her belief in God. She reminds us that God’s eyes are on us. He sees us. He hears our cries. He knows our pains and sees our misery.
My Prayer For You:
Heavenly Father, I am so blessed by Hagar’s story. Thank you for this image of protection. Thank you for revealing to us how you watch over us even when life seems to be the driest of deserts. Lord God I pray that you may use Hagar’s story to bless and impact someone’s heart today. That as we celebrate Easter this weekend we may remember the gravity of your sacrifice. Help us not to take you for granted but that we may live lives that reflect who you truly are. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Memory Verse:Deuteronomy 31:8
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Last week we wrapped up Hello Sarai/Sarah.
Remember her servant?
No? Then go back and check out Hello Sarai/Sarah Part I, II, III, IV.
The servant/slave girl that is sprinkled throughout Sarah’s story, her name is Hagar. Today I want to take a closer look at Hagar and all that she experienced as a result of being Sarah’s slave.
The first thing we learn about Hagar is that she is a servant.
No, worse. She is a SLAVE.
When I think about what the word slave means I think phrases such as: confined, ordered around, can’t make own choices, controlled.
We can all agree that slavery no matter the circumstances is not a good way to live. So off the bat we see that Hagar already has a difficult life. In verse two Hagar gets a curb ball thrown at her that is about to make things even more challenging.
[Quick side bar… What are you a slave to? What controls your decisions? What confines you? What dictates your thoughts and emotions?
Good news is that Jesus came to set you and me free. We DO NOT need to be slaves to our sins any longer. We can be coheirs with Christ.]
Genesis 16:2… Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 … Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Now I understand that Hagar is a slave but it kills me that Sarai thought of her as an object that she could “take” and “give” to her husband. Hagar had no say in the matter. I wonder. Was she raped? Did Abram force himself upon her? Well. It’s not like she had the option to say no.
Genesis 16: 4 … When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.Verse 4 is our window into Hagar’s emotions. She “DESPISED” Sarai. That’s such a strong word.
Who do you despise? I know who I have despised…. that person who I felt had ruined it for me… that person I don’t want to see even in a painting. It’s an emotion like many others, yet the bible has something pretty convicting to say about hatred.
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.
Ouch! Sometimes people’s actions towards you or me are painful and unmerited. We may even think that despising or loathing them is what they deserve. However let’s be careful that we don’t allow others actions towards us to cause us to think, say or do something we can end up regretting.
I can’t say I’m surprised by her reaction. Hagar did not request to become Abram’s baby momma. This was forced upon her.
Sucks, because sometimes that’s how life is.
Sometimes something gets forced upon you or me that we did not look for, we did not ask for, we do not want.
My question is this… How do you respond?
Heck, how do I respond?
In those dark moments when we have no control and someone else is making the decisions that ultimately affect you or me directly.
Those moments when we want to shout NO! STOP! and our screams go unheard. The pain seems overwhelming and unbearable. I’ve been there. You are not alone.
1. It’s NOT your fault.
2. Don’t beat yourself up over someone elses actions.
3. You are not defined by the incident.
4. Forgive the people involved, yourself included.
5. Surrender the situation to God and make good choices as you move forward.
Next time we will see what course of action Hagar takes.
My Prayer for you:
Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us that there were women in the bible who felt real emotions. Thank you because that reminds us that we are not alone in our pain. We are not alone in our suffering. I pray for every reader experiencing pain at this moment. Any heart ache any disappointment or disillusionment. I ask you to surround their hearts with your love and with your joy. Your word declares that you are with the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit and I believe you are with each broken heart right now. I ask you to heal all broken hearts and help us forgive those who have caused us to feel any negative emotions such as hatred or jealousy. Thank you for hearing and responding to this request in Jesus’ heavenly name, Amen.
Memory Verse: Psalm 34:18