Chapter Three: Hagar Is Pursued By God
In chapter three we read the story of Hagar – a great story showing us that God sees all! I encourage you to click the links and read the entire story but I’ve included a condensed scripture reflection below – my commentary is in italics.
In Genesis 15, God promised Abraham a son but after many years his wife Sarah had not yet given him any children. I believe about ten years had passed, Sarah wasn’t getting any younger and perhaps, that’s why she grew impatient and tried to move ahead of God in the next chapter. Genesis 16, Sarah took Hagar, her Egyptian maid, and gave her to her husband Abraham as his wife, and they conceived a child. Sarah definitely tried to move ahead of God – this is not good for any of them. Once Hagar knew she was pregnant, her mistress Sarah was despised in her sight. Seems like a power struggle between the two women – one wanted what the other had. Sarah vented this frustration to Abraham but he told her to do what she thinks is right with Hagar. So Sarah, treated her harshly, and Hagar fled from her. Two wrongs never make a right! An angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness. God saw her and sent His angel to encourage and comfort her. The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority. I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count. Behold, you are with child, and you will bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers.” Wow! Imagine the decision Hagar had to make, if she listened to God and went back, Sarah would most likely continue to treat her harshly. This couldn’t have been an easy decision but I believe in her heart Hagar trusted the Word of the Lord. Then Hagar called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees” she listened to God and returned to Sarah and Abraham. Then Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, Abraham’s son. Abraham was 86 years old. That’s faith and trust in God! In Genesis 21, God remembered His promise (Genesis 18) and gave Sarah a son named Isaac. Then Sarah wanted Abraham to force Hagar and Ishmael to leave so he wouldn’t be an heir with Isaac. Oh, what trouble comes of moving ahead of the Lord! God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” So, Abraham gave Hagar and Ishmael some food and water and sent them into the wilderness. When the water was used up, Hagar cried out to God to save her son. God heard the them crying; and sent an angel to say to her, “Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink. God was with the lad, and he grew; and he lived in the wilderness and became an archer. God sees all and comes to our rescue!
Chapter Three focus point – God sees all.
Hagar was encouraged, comforted and waited on God. She trusted and remained faithful to God. Margaret Feinberg writes, “Even when no one on earth understands the impossible situation you’re facing, God sees you. That’s a powerful encouragement not to worry but instead put your trust in the God who sees!“ Amen!
I wear a ring that says, ‘YahWeh Roi’, which translates to the ‘Lord who sees’ – ain’t that the truth! I found a wonderfully detailed Bible study blog post on the ‘Names Of God’ from MBentham at ‘Inspired’, you can read it here. Needless to say, that little, silver inscribed ring has a much deeper meaning to me now. God’s endless pursuit of us never ceases to amaze me!
God sees, loves, and chases us!
Let’s answer some questions from what we have reviewed thus far – the below list is a mix of questions from the Bible study and some of my own.
1. What does God reveal to you when you examine the wildly different emotions of Sarah and Hagar?
2. Sarah and Hagar had completely different paths but God took care of both them. What does their individual faith teach us? Sarah moved ahead of God, while Hagar waited.
3. What parts of your life have you tried to move ahead of God’s timing? How did it work out? What have you learned?
4. God was there to comfort Hagar, He saw everything and was there to encourage her with His promises for her future. Do you think His promises are what she wanted to hear? She probably just wanted God to make things easier on her with Sarah but God promised so much more than that. His promises are what’s best for us but they don’t always come in our ideal packaging.
5. The Bible is full of God’s promises, which of these passages gives you the most hope? Write it down and carry it with you for inspiration or find your own hope inspiring verse.
John 1:12: Whoever believes in Jesus will not stay in darkness.
Proverbs 22:9: A generous man will be blessed.
Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and our strength and will be preswnt in our trouble.
Isaiah 43:1: The Lord has redeemed us and called us by name.
John 11:25: Jesus is the ressurection and the life. We receive eternal life through Him.
Isaiah 54:10: God’s unfailing love for us will not be shaken.
Digging Deeper: read and reflect on Jeremiah 29:11. Though written thousands of years ago, this passage is still revelant today. What does God promise in this verse? How do you find encouragement in His promise? Knowing God has a plan of hope for each of our lives is encouraging.
Bonus Activity: spend some time considering who you tend to be more like – Sarah or Hagar. In times of waiting or distress does your faith waver and you soon find yourself rushing ahead of God like Sarah? Or do times of trial strengthen your faith and trust in God, enabling you to wait on His rescue like Hagar?
I hope you enjoyed chapter three 🙂 I pray God spoke to you while you read this, I urge you to listen to whatever He put on your heart. I’d love your hear reflections about Hagar’s story, your responses to the questions, and any overall feedback about this chapter review. The goal and purpose of this study is for us to grow spiritually. I pray God gives us the wisdom to provide mutually beneficial thought-provoking, Christ-like inspiration.
God bless you.
Jennifer – I Give God All The Glory