A Lesson from Hagar (Genesis 21:14-19)

Abraham has sent Hagar and Ishmael away with bread and a container of water.  She leaves and wanders in the desert.  That was her first mistake – to wander.  She, who once called God The God Who Watches Over Me (and under similar circumstances out in the desert (Genesis 16:6-14)) seems to have forgotten Him and His promises to her about her son having many descendents.  She neglects to ask for direction. 

When their water is gone, she gives up.  She puts Ishmael under a bush and goes off far enough away so she won’t have to watch the boy die.  She doesn’t ask God for help.  She doesn’t go looking for water.  She doesn’t even stay with the boy to comfort him.  She selfishly tries to spare herself pain.  She sits downs, sobs loudly and has a pity party, forgetting all about The God Who Sees Me, who saw her once before.

Interestingly, verse 17 says God heard the boy crying.  He doesn’t respond to Hagar’s selfish, pitiful sobs, but He hears the boy crying and steps in to help.  The boy Ishmael, whose name means God Hears.  Another lapse of memory of Hagar’s part.  God tells Hagar to go back to the boy, help him up and take him by the hand, repeating the promise of making him into a great nation.  God opens her eyes and she sees a well.  A well she couldn’t see in the desperation of giving up.  A well she couldn’t see through tears of pity. 

Who says the Bible has no application in our lives (especially the Old Testament)?

When our lives fall apart or are turned upside down, we shouldn’t just start wandering – we should seek directions from El Roi, The God Who Watches Over Me, The God Who Sees Me, the God who knows the best way to the next well of mercy and grace.  Remember His promises like Isaiah 46:4.  “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you!  I have done it, and I shall carry you, and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you.” 

Don’t give up, even when it seems nothing is left.  Don’t seek to avoid the pain – God’s only going to send you back to what you’re avoiding, like He did with Hagar.  Walk through the situation and the pain to healing. Do everything you can and leave the results to God.  Cry out to El Roi, The God Who Hears Me, and remind Him of His promises.  Don’t be afraid.  Remind yourself that God hears and is working out the answer no matter how circumstances appear to be.  Get busy helping someone else in need.  Be sure to open your eyes – and don’t look at yourself or your circumstances.  Look up at God and out to see what He’s doing.  Look for His wells of comfort, mercy, grace and provision.  Fill up your mind on His Word, your heart on His love, your spirit on His truth, and press on!  He plans to accomplish great things through you!


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