Genesis 16, Genesis 21, Galatians 4:22-31
Honestly, I never liked Hagar.
But then I never put myself in her sandals.
She was a slave. She never had any choice about how her life would go. Although, sometimes we feel like we have no choice, I don’t think in the modern U.S. we can quite imagine her predicament fully.
She was an Egyptian. She may have been given to Sarah by the king of Egypt when he asked them to leave after the debacle of taking Sarah into his harem. Then she was given to become Abraham’s secondary wife when Sarah could not conceive.
I don’t want to imagine that! But Hagar obeyed her master.
Once Sarah had taken matters of providing an heir into her own hands (instead of God’s) and insisted Abraham take Hagar as a wife and Hagar conceived, the servant Hagar despised her mistress Sarah.
Note, Abraham like Adam went along with his wife’s plan. It’s interesting how much influence wives can wield over their husbands.
How did Hagar act when it says she despised Sarah? Perhaps proudly with boasts or insultingly with cruel remarks to Sarah. Or maybe with just snide looks and ugly smirks. As women, we’ve seen or possibly given those. Somehow though, Hagar thinks herself in a higher position now than Sarah, and she lets Sarah know it.
And pride goes before Hagar’s fall.
Sarah complained to Abraham, and he left Hagar out to dry, telling Sarah to do whatever she thought best. So Hagar had been wrong in her assumptions of her place, no matter her intimacy with Abraham. That probably hurt.
Sarah mistreated Hagar so badly (I’m not sure how, beatings, maybe?) that she ran away into the dry wilderness. Perhaps back toward Egypt. Alone and pregnant, she must have been pretty desperate to do so. She doesn’t seem to stop until she’s out of water, probably weary and parched. Hopeless. Pregnancy and desert running are not a good mix.
Then God shows up.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to dislike Hagar. Because I’ve committed the sin of pride. And in the past, I’ve found myself running until I can run no more. I was at the end of my own strength. Then I finally listened for God’s truth. Sadly, because I had nowhere else to turn.
So God sent an angel to Hagar. He tells her to go back and serve her mistress and submit. Interesting— God sends a messenger for an Egyptian servant. He still cares for her, no matter her race or background.
And Hagar obeyed God.
Occasionally God may have to send some sort of messenger to remind me to submit when I become prideful. Whether it’s a friend or a health problem or a sermon. Ever happen to you?
Hagar makes this testimony. “You are the God who sees me.”
He sees us too. And I’m so blessed by that.
What are your thoughts?
Several of you indicated interest in continuing with updates on my study of women in the Bible. This week, my notes are on Sarah. Please, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.
By the time in ancient history when Sarah lived, most people worshiped idols. Possibly Abraham and Sarah did as well. But God chose Abraham and called him out of the place he lived to follow Him. Sarah followed too. She was sixty-five when she left everything and everyone she knew. Only my opinion, I believe that took faith, not just for Abraham, but for Sarah too.
Sarah’s name, originally Saria, meant princess. Apparently this princess of a woman was extremely beautiful. So beautiful that twice, when Abraham had to go into foreign lands for food, he asked her to pretend to be his sister, so men wouldn’t kill him to get to her. These ruling men from other lands did indeed find her amazingly lovely, and they took her into their harem. The commentary I read assumes they didn’t defile her because God sent sickness onto those households until they returned her to Abraham. Either way, I can’t imagine how scary and creepy it would be to have my husband allow other men to take me to their homes.
Sarah suffered from the disappointment of infertility. I haven’t been there myself, but I’ve heard from other women how emotionally painful that is. Each month hopeful, only to be disappointed again—watching other women have child after child with no problem, feeling like a failure, and possibly angry with their body.
When Sarah still didn’t have a child for Abraham, she decided to take matters into her own hands and offer her servant as a surrogate for her husband. Isn’t it like us women to try to solve problems for God? We can be so impatient that we just can’t wait for His timing. I’ve often found myself in this state of trying to fix things ahead of God’s plan. This usually does not go well!
Things didn’t go well Sarah either when she took over for God. Genesis says Sarah’s servant Hagar began to despise Sarah, so Sarah treated her cruelly. I don’t know what Hagar did, but I believe Sarah suffered from the green-eyed monster of jealousy. Been there and done that. It’s easy to fall into that trap, even with much less cause than what Sarah had. We can look at what we believe to be other women’s nice houses, their well-behaved children, or their in-shape figures, then compare and find ourselves lacking. Comparison never goes well either. J
Finally, God came and announced to Abraham that Sarah would have a child. Meanwhile, Sarah was eavesdropping in the tent and laughed at the idea because she was so old by this time. When confronted about it, she lied to save face. Um, eavesdropping…I’m guilty. Lying to save face…sadly, ditto.
God kept his promise to Sarah because He always keeps his promises. She had her son. Can you imagine her joy in her old age to have that little boy? I can envision her smile with each milestone—that first step, the first word.
Despite her mistakes, Sarah was commended in the New Testament for her faith in God and also for being a good wife to Abraham. Whew. I’m so thankful to know that despite our failures, trying to take things into our own hands, and bouts of jealousy, God is graceful with us.
I hope you have a great week!
I pray you are well during these strange times. I wanted to share a bit of news. :)
My latest novel Star Rising is being advertised on Bookbub so it's on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon this week! You can get a copy by clicking here: Star Rising
Also, two more of my novels have been made into Audio books! Blown Together and Falling for Grace! Find them on Audible or Amazon. Here's a link to Blown Together. I have a few codes left I can give out, if you comment on my blog here, I'll let you know if there are any available.
On another note, I've been doing a study on women in the Bible. I'll share a few notes I made below if you're interested. No worries, if not! Let me know if I can pray for you :)
My thoughts about Eve
Eve was in the most beautiful, perfect place ever with her husband. God walked with them in the evening. All of her needs were met. Yet, she wanted just one more thing. I think many women can relate to that. I shop when I have a closet full of clothes and a house full of things. Am I the only one?
About walking in the evening with God--
Most days, I walk in my wooded neighborhood, and I often try to imagine Him walking with me. (Authors have big imaginations.) I feel the wind in my hair and hear the sound of birds in the trees, and I thank Him for not giving up on me, despite my many blunders.
Scripture identifies that Satan was the one acting through the serpent who tempted Eve. (2 Cor. 11:3 Rev 12:9) The strategy is to drive a wedge between man and God. Sin always drives wedges. Satan questions God’s Word and motives and love. Satan doesn’t mind lying or twisting the truth. Eve gave up her confidence in God’s provision of her needs. At times, I have done this as well, and I went my own way. I went searching for the wrong things to provide happiness. Those choices did not provide true joy, and they often led to disaster.
Once Eve and Adam (who was standing right beside her!) took the fruit and sinned, they hid from God, crushed with guilt and shame. They blamed others for their choices. I’ve been there, done that—played the blame-game. Sin kills our relationships with each other and God.
God sacrificed to cover Adam and Eve with clothing, as He sacrificed His son to cover our sins years later.
Eve was the first mother, and she went through the pain of losing a child too soon. She went through the horror of having a murderer for a son. She knew heartache over her children. I know many can relate to that as well, yet God can comfort.
I was surprisingly encouraged studying Eve. What are your thoughts on her?
If you’re interested in receiving weekly thoughts on women in the Bible, just reply to this blog post and let me know.
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson