Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2018!!
I pray that 2018 will be a year of turnaround in every every of your life that needs to change – spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, health-wise and personally.
My hope and prayer is that it will also mark the year where we as Believers RECEIVE the Word, BELIEVE the Word and OBEY the Word in the mighty name of Jesus amen.
To mark the beginning of a new year, I’ve taken inspiration from the book of Genesis for today’s Word…
17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
– Genesis 21:17-21
Now the story of Hagar is really interesting to me, because I believe that Hagar’s story actually demonstrates how God works. He is a Father to the fatherless. He is someone who loves an underdog, that is the God we serve. Don’t you just love that about Him?
And the way God treated Hagar in her desperate moments shows us and reflects how God treats us when we have been desperate, and when we are desperate.
Obviously this encounter tells us that despite the fact that Hagar’s son Ishmael was not the chosen son of Abraham, not the covenant son, God still loved him, and God was still going to make a covenant with him and make a promise to him – He said that He was going to make him into a great nation.
And you can imagine Hagar, she knew already she was bearing ‘the son who was not really the son‘, the black sheep of the family, and yet she loves her kid, and so does God.
Now of course when God spoke to Hagar in the wilderness, it wasn’t her first interaction with God. She had this previously when she ran away from Sarah in Genesis 16:6-14, so she had already encountered God before, and she knew that the God of her master Abraham and the God of her mistress Sarah was a God who cares, a God who always makes a way, a God who provides constantly for His people and for His children, so what happened in Genesis 21 was just another example of God caring for people that no one seemed to care about.
Now just imagine Hagar’s predicament; her life has been a series of unfortunate events. For one reason or another, she has found herself a bondservant, a slave to Sarah. That’s her life, spending the rest of her days serving another person. You can imagine how desperate she must have felt, how low, how broken that must have made her.
Not only that, but as a result of being a servant, she finds herself promised to Abraham, forced to sleep with him (I don’t know if consent was an option for her at that time), forced to carry his child, and then forced to give birth to his baby, a son that she did not actually want. And to top it all off, her mistress, who actually initiated this whole liaison now hates her, because she envies the fact that she has given birth and she hasn’t.
Hagar to me is one of those sympathetic characters is the Bible, one that I feel is misrepresented sometimes as a wicked and spiteful woman, but she really wasn’t, or at least, I don’t read her in that way. She was a woman of circumstance, life had battered her and she had been dealt some really difficult cards YET God showed her favour.
And that really is what I want us to take from this chapter and these few verses.
Sometimes in life we find that we are in a broken down position, not because of actions we have taken, but as a consequence of other people’s actions. In these situations it is so easy to get mad at the world, and to get angry and bitter. But rather than do that, let’s remember that God will still hear our prayers. Let’s remember that God still loves us as much as He loves everyone else. Let us not feel cast out of God’s sight, because God cares, He sees, He hears, He listens and He will speak.