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?
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson