Thursday, January 13, 2022

My Story Matters: Hagar

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; and the angel of the Lord said to her:  “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your misery.” And Hagar 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... So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
Genesis 16: 7, 11, 13, 15

Peeking across the yard from the tent of Abraham's wife, Sarah, we find Hagar, her Egyptian maid-servant. 

Ever wonder how Hagar might have felt about being a pawn in Sarah’s forced, and frantic, arrangement to have a child?  

Let’s saunter over and see if we relate to her in any way...  

In order to understand Hagar, contemplate these questions:

* Have you ever felt as if your life had been completely ripped away from you?
* Ever felt that everything near and dear had been stripped away?
* Have you ever felt that even your identity was stolen from you, and now, you are a complete non-entity?
* In fact, have you ever felt that you were nothing more than a poker-chip? A pawn in someone else’s game of life?
Have you ever been made to feel devalued?  Insignificant?
* Worse, have you ever felt invisible?
* And, on top of invisible, completely unheard?
* Ever felt trapped...forced to go where you didn’t want to go; to do things you never wanted to do?  Enslaved?
* Have you ever felt completely alone?
* Have you ever longed for compassion and come up empty...every. single. time?
* Have you ever felt completely hopeless, as if hanging onto life by a single thread (and even that thread seemed to be unraveling in front of your eyes)?

This was Hagar’s day to day existence.  

She was a slave.  

Probably part of the “loot” Abraham received from Pharaoh after he tried to deceive the ruler with lies about his wife, Sarah.  

Hagar was forced to leave home, family, country, comforts of a palace-life, and everything familiar to live a nomadic existence.  

She was also forced to obey the whims and fancies of her mistress.

It’s difficult to judge Hagar's reaction when she found out she was pregnant with Abraham's child - and, I wouldn't want to try.  

“When she knew she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress (Gen 16:4).”  

She began to look on Sarah, perhaps in the way she felt looked upon...with an inner attitude of “smallness.”  

She probably didn’t have to say a word to Sarah; her demeanor said it all.  

Body language conveys A LOT!

In doing so, she pushed Sarah’s core fear button with a vengeance, and Sarah (like all of us who have our core fear buttons pushed) reacted...harshly.  

So Hagar ran and hid...


But God! Those two words have a powerful impact!

The Lord came to her in the desert - the driest place of her life!  

He “looked” at her as no one else had.  

Verse 11, the name of Hagar's son, Ishmael, means: 

"The Lord has been attentive in my humiliation.”  

God saw.  

Verse 13,  “You are El Roi – the God who sees me.” 

 Read this carefully.  

He didn’t just see – He looked right through her, examined her heart, paid close attention to her “woundedness.”  

The Lord didn’t just hear – he listened.  

Sarah was God’s princess.  Hagar was the slave.  

Yet, never once did God appear directly to Sarah, and twice (again in Genesis 21), God appeared to Hagar.  

Truth:  God doesn't look at status, when it  comes to the cry of the human heart...

Seeing and hearing Hagar's misery would have been enough in itself, but God went even further.  

He restored her significance and her hope...and He eliminated her humiliation! 

Hagar mothered her own line of descendants too numerous to count.  

(In spite of the repercussions of that tribe today, Hagar's descendants are a part of God's plan.)

Now, Hagar had a reason to return to Abraham and Sarah for a season.  

Her son needed a father until such a time as he could adult on his own.  

With restoration of her dignity, her humanization, a future and a hope, and having been comforted by the One True Comforter, Hagar could return with submission, until her next steps were revealed, as God ordained them to be.

This is our God. El Roi!  El Ysma! 

The God who Sees - me!  

The One who Hears – me!  

Do we run to that God when in need of compassion and hope?  He’s waiting!  And, we will never come up empty!

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