Thursday, September 3, 2015
Hagar - I'm not invisible
At the end of yesterday's study, Hagar was on her way back to Abraham and Sarah. She gave birth to Ishmael, who is now Abraham's first-born son. Of course, Sarah does conceive and Isaac is born. Now the trouble begins in earnest . . .
We have two half-brothers -- each of them could make the claim as being the first-born. We have Sarah, one mother, who despises Hagar, the other mother. Then there's Abraham, who is caught in the middle.
It's no wonder that the Bible says the whole situation was "very distressing" to Abraham!
Oh, my goodness . . . Sarah is taking matters into her own hands again.
In spite of the fact that she finally has the son that she and her hubby were promised, she doesn't want "that slave girl" and her son around. She tells Abraham that she wants them gone!
Well, there is a problem here: Abraham loves his son Ishmael. But God tells him to go ahead and send them away, because He will take care of them.
Hagar once again leaves the camp and heads out into the wilderness; this time she has supplies that Abraham provides for them.
After a time of wandering, Hagar and Ishmael run out of water; Hagar puts Ishamael under a bush for shade, and then because she can't stand to see her child die, she retreats to another spot a little ways away. I'm sure that Hagar and Ishmael were both crying.
Those of us who have had kids have experienced the situation where a number of children are being noisy, and one is actually hurt. Our "mom ears" can discern if it is our child or another who is needing attention, right? We can know from this passage that God knows our cries, too.
The angel of the Lord says to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Don't be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy." The angel tells her again the promise of blessing for Ishamel, and then He opens her eyes so she can see a nearby well. She gives Ishmael a drink of water that saves his life. The God that the Egyptian slave girl named "El Roi," the God who sees her, helps her to see the well, and the water saves her life and the life of her son.
We can learn from the story of Hagar. We are reminded by her story that the God of Abraham is also the God of Hagar. Our worth to God, is not dependent upon our status, our birth order, or our usefulness. Even the most invisible people in our world are important to God. They matter. The single ones, the foreign ones, the pregnant ones, the poor ones -- all of them matter to Him, and He sees them. Just as He sees us. And He does see us all.
The same God Who heard Hagar and Ishmael's cries hears our cries. He knows each one who cries out. He hears the cries of those we think are invisible, too. They are God's children, just as we are. Isn't it awe-inspiring to realize that God is interested and cares about every one of the people in this world? Today, God points them to special "vessels" full of the life-giving water that Jesus promised. You got it. That's us.
God fills us and equips us each day, filling us with the "water" that can quench the thirst of the people in this world who are dying of spiritual thirst. He shows us the people that others may not feel are important, but that He loves. And He puts us in the place where we can give away that living water. We don't have to go to the wilderness places of this world. Some do, and they work a mighty work for God in those places. But there are people near us every day that need to hear that they matter. They are looking for hope, and for mercy, and for love. They want to know that they are seen.
Hagar and Ishmael both mattered to God. They were not invisible.
Do they matter to us?
You and I are not invisible. We matter to God. Praise Him; He is still in the business of hearing our cries and answering our prayers!