It is hard for me to even imagine Hagar’s life. She was an Egyptian handmaid, a slave, given to Abram for Sarai as they were thrust out of Egypt in Genesis chapter 12.
As a slave, Hagar had no choice but to leave her homeland and all that she had ever known.
Neither did she have a choice when her mistress ordered her to be a wife to Abram.
As a result, Hagar would never know the love of a man who had chosen her above all others. She would never be courted and given the opportunity of accepting, or rejecting, a marriage proposal.
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Without the benefit of love and attraction, I can only imagine that Hagar felt very used, to put it mildly, to have to marry Abram.
Her life was not her own. Her life was nothing that she would have chosen…yet she survived. And even thrived!
God was with her. God saw her plight and cared. And encouraged her when she needed it most.
When Abram went in to Hagar, she conceived. However, she knew how this would work. She would be expected to carry the baby, experience the sickness and joys and pains of pregnancy and delivery…but the baby would not be hers to love and raise as her own. The baby would be considered Sarai’s child.
Again, I cannot fathom such a thing.
Apparently, Hagar couldn’t either for…
when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. Genensis 16:4
Hagar could not get past that thought—that her baby would not be hers.
Can you blame her?
She began to despise her mistress, Sarai. And Sarai didn’t like the attitude she was getting from Hagar. Sarai’s plan for obtaining a child by Hagar was not going well.
So, Sarai complained to Abram. Which kills me, since the whole plan was Sarai’s to begin with!
Nevertheless, Sarai wasn’t happy. So, Abram wasn’t happy. And told her to do whatever she wanted to with Hagar.
But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. Genesis 16:6a
Again, how awful to be so little considered. Abram still thought of Hagar as his wife’s maid, and not as his second wife.
Hagar’s feelings meant nothing to this couple. She was just a womb to them both.
We do not know exactly what Sarai’s hard treatment of Hagar entailed, but we do know that whatever it was, Hagar felt she had to escape.
And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. Genesis 16:6
And then, we see unfold a most wonderful truth…Though man had so mistreated and abused Hagar, God had not forsaken her!
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. Genesis 16:7
I think it’s interesting that the verse says that the LORD found her in the wilderness. Not that He ever lost sight of her. That word choice tells me that Hagar was important to God.
He sought her out.
Just as He does us.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10
God found Hagar in her lost and hopeless condition in the wilderness…And spoke to her!
Hagar became one of the very few people to ever be approached in this life by the angel of the LORD. Hagar met the pre-incarnate LORD Jesus Christ!
Can you imagine? What a special privilege and blessing!
Hagar suffered much, but God had a plan for her life. Just as He does for our lives and our sufferings.
And just like Hagar, in order for God to fulfill His plan in our lives, we must be willing to submit to Him and His plan and obey His will.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. Genesis 16:9
God commanded Hagar to go against her fears and her desires. He told her to go back and submit herself again to her mistress Sarai.
Oh, how hard that must have been!
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard at times to submit myself to my loving husband. How much more difficult would it be to submit to slavery to a jealous mistress!
Yet Hagar obeyed God. Why? I believe because she recognized God’s love for her.
He also didn’t minimize her suffering, but rather acknowledged it.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. Genesis 16:11
God also gave Hagar a great promise which assured her that her suffering had a purpose.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. Genesis 16:10
Sometimes, like Hagar, all we need in order to return from our wilderness wanderings from God is to realize anew that…
God does see us.
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Genesis 16:13
Hagar made it back from her wilderness. Are you in the wilderness right now?
Be assured, God sees you.
He knows your situation, your pain, your fears, your desires. And He cares.
Let Him be your comfort.
Let Him hide you under the shadow of His wings. (Psalms 17:8)
And remember—Just as it was with Hagar, it is often in our darkest moments that we are finally able to hear God’s voice…and experience the reality and nearness of His presence like we never have before.
So, rejoice! And with a surrendered heart, listen for His voice.
Obey Him. Whether your circumstances ever change or not…He is God.
And let His promises carry you back from the wilderness into a renewed faith…and a greater joy in Him and His love for you.
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
What lessons did you learn from Hagar this week? Does she inspire you? Why? Is there a command of God you are finding it hard to submit to?
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