Genesis 16:11-12 NLT
And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”
In my last blog, Hagar was reinstated as a slave of Sarai and was told to submit to her mistress. God gave her a promise of countless descendants if she followed through.
God prepares Hagar for the future of her son
Now, the angel confirms to Hagar that she is pregnant and her pregnancy will come to full term. Her baby will be a son and his name is ‘God hears’ (1). Imagine, every time Hagar calls this child’s name she will remember that God heard her cry of distress and came to her aid.
It is also important for future reference that Hagar would cry to God for aid concerning her son. He will be a difficult child to raise. The angel first described him as wild, conjuring up images of an uncontrollable stubborn man who easily gives into his passions.
The second descriptor the angel gives to Hagar about her son is ‘untamed as a wild donkey’. Not exactly what you want to hear about your new born baby! Tamed animals can be tethered and are controlled at the bit. But a wild donkey is handled by no one and follows its own will.
The angel continues to relay that her son will raise his fist of defiance against everyone. Ishmael will be the catalyst and the cause of contention among his own people. This trait laid dormant in Hagar until she became pregnant and it reared its ugly head when she defied her mistress, Sarai. Ishmael will attempt to dominate others by being a rebel and his relatives will respond in kind.
God gives difficult news with a promise
This had to be hard for Hagar to hear. She may have felt victimized for a situation beyond her control, but God prepared her for the task ahead. God sees that she is able and will be a good mother to her son. Hagar’s hands will be full raising this difficult child and yet, his very name will remind her to call upon the God who hears her. Every time she calls on God, He will answer and help her in her time of need.
Bible examples of hard news with a promise
There are chapters in the Bible that are difficult to digest. Examples of people who had a promise but experienced great difficulty attaining those promises are all over the Bible. Think of Joseph who was a slave for 13 years before he became second in command of Egypt. David served Saul 14 years before he became king. Paul preached many years before he witnessed to Caesar. Joseph, David, and Paul diligently served in each position God placed them with a humble attitude. All were all presented with promises that anchored their soul.
God wants us to call on Him
When we hear words that are hard to swallow, we must embrace them and allow ourselves to be prepared physically, spiritually, and emotionally for what lies ahead. In every case, we can always call upon the God who hears us. Call on God and He will answer and give us the information we need to know and the grace to see it through.
Father, this is a hard lesson, but I know that it is for my own good. When You give me information that seems more than I can swallow, help me to bear it. Give me Your grace to overcome difficulties that lie ahead. Thank You for preparing me for the future. I will always call on You because You are the One with the answers. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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