Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life Lessons From Biblical Characters | Hagar

We saw in the last few lessons how Hagar was affected by the decisions made by those who were in authority over her and by her own response to some of the results.  Today let us look at how God can reach into situations that are decided for us to pull us out, and how He can reconstruct them for our benefit and blessing.

After the abuse Hagar received from Sarai, Hagar ran away.  Did she know where she was running to?  Did she consider how far she would get in the desert alone and pregnant?  Was she running because that was the only thing she could think of without considering the consequences of this choice?  What would we do?

Many times, running from a situation is the first thing we think of doing, too.  We run because we cannot handle the pressures.  We run because we want a fresh start.  We run because those in authority are the reason we are hurting.  We run because we want to go where we are unknown and can start over.

During the course of her running, Hagar found herself at a fountain in a conversation with the angel of the Lord.  The angel's message to her was to "Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands."  The angel was, in a sense, reminding Hagar that Sarai was her authority and her attitude needed to change.  (Oh, attitude adjustment..... something we all struggle with!). 

She was then told that her seed would be multiplied exceedingly and would not be able to be numbered.  She would have a son and she would name him Ishmael "because the Lord hath heard thy affliction." 

What a promise!  God hears our afflictions!  He hears the cruel words spoken to or about us.  He hears the sound of our agony when our hearts are crying and no one else can hear it breaking.  He hears the sound of the hurt that builds up in us over time that we keep bottled up so no one else knows the hurt we have experienced. 

And He not only hears, but He restores.  As I read this passage, I could not help but think of Joel 2:25a. "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten..."   If decisions have been made for you that have caused hurt and damage to you or your spirit, God will restore.  If you made decisions based on pressures put on you by those in some kind of authority over you, God will restore.  If you have made decisions and have come to a realization that those decisions were wrong and have asked for forgiveness, God will restore.

Hagar returned to Sarai, and although we are not informed about the relationship that they had after Hagar returned, I can only imagine that even if Sarai's attitude did not change, Hagar's did.  After being in the presence of the Lord and knowing that He had heard her and her afflictions, that He saw her, a lowly maidservant, and that He had a promise for her, I can only imagine that Hagar's heart was lighter, her step quicker, and her smile broader.  Not because she had something that Sarai didn't, but because she knew that God heard.


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