Genesis 16: 7-10 NLT
The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”
Before I begin this blog, I want to make a qualification here. People in an abusive situation need to get out of it , immediately!! This lesson is based on the context of Old Testament times.
Where was Hagar?
Hagar was in the desert and there weren’t many springs of water. The angel of the Lord met her at a well. Shur, the city that means ‘wall’ indicating support and protection (1), was probably the closest town located from Abram’s caravan.
Hagar, Sarai’s servant
The angel addressed Hagar as a servant of Sarai and not as Abram’s wife. God did not dispute Abram’s ruling concerning Hagar but in fact, backed it up. The angel not only identified Hagar, but reinforced the position she held in Abram’s and Sarai’s household.
Hagar’s answer to the Angel
The angel asked her two questions. First, he asked Hagar where she came from and secondly, where was she going. Her response was interesting. At first glance, it appeared that she only answered one of the two questions but in fact, she answered both. She didn’t say that she left Abram’s caravan and was now heading towards Shur. Hagar’s response implied that she came from servant hood but now she was heading towards freedom.
The Angel’s warning
Hagar thought she would find help and support in the city of Shur. The angel is telling her that's not so. Hagar was a pregnant runaway slave. She was in an extremely dangerous and vulnerable position with no protection. The angel could have been preventing a far worse fate for her and her baby, even death.
God’s will in this situation
The Angel redirected Hagar’s focus by telling her to return to Sarai. She would have to forgive Sarai and Abram for forcing her into this sensitive position. Then she would have to forgive herself for the chaos, strife, and contention caused by her attitude. And, the most difficult of all, she will have to humble herself and submit Sarai’s authority. But if she did, God will deal with Sarai and Hagar will be safe.
Obedience comes with a great reward
I am sure that Hagar’s heart sunk at the prospect. But, the angel's directions and promise would anchor her soul with hope for a full life. Hagar would have more descendants than she could possibly count.
Hagar's freedom was coming. In thirteen years she would be released from Abram's household and would start a new life. She listened to the angel, and in God's perfect timing she was able to throw off the title of slave and raise and support her son who would be a prince of twelve tribes.
The lesson for today
This is a hard lesson. There will be times in life when God will ask us to do something extraordinarily difficult. Like Hagar, our hearts will sink at the very thought. Forgiveness will always be involved for all the parties concerned including ourselves. But, by humbly submitting to God’s will, obedience will be rewarded with a promise that will anchor your soul.
Hebrews 6:18-19a NLT
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
Father, there are times when I want to run away from a situation because it is overwhelming. But, there are times when You give me instructions that are difficult to follow because You are trying to spare me from making an even worse mistake. You are my refuge. Give me the grace to submit to Your will concerning my situation and to obey Your instructions. Your promises anchor my soul. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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