Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life Lessons From Biblical Characters | Hagar and Ishmael

Genesis 21: 14-21

God hears our children's voices and answers when they call to Him.

In this passage, Hagar was sent from Abraham's home with Ishmael for good.  Abraham gave her provisions, but Hagar ended up wandering around in the wilderness and soon her provisions were used up.  She  knew that she and Ishmael would soon die out there, so she put her son under a bush, sat opposite him, and cried.  I don't think there is a mother in the world who wants to watch her child die, especially when she feels powerless to do anything about it.

However, verse 17 says, "And God heard the lad crying..."

God did not respond to Hagar's cry. He responded to Ishmael's cry.

Then the angel of God called to Hagar and said (and I love this!), "What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is."

Again, we see that God responded to Ishmael's cry. 


I wondered that for a bit after reading this passage. I am not an expert by any means, but I think that maybe, sometimes in order to build the faith of our children, God responds to their cries instead of ours.  Our children see the relationship we have with the Lord, and they have heard the stories of how God has answered our prayers and requests, but the only way for their own faith to gain strength is for God to hear and answer their cries to him. 

I think that when we see God answering our children's cries and requests, it is so important to acknowledge the relationship that they have with Him. It is important for us to recognize the fact that they cried out and God heard.  When we chime in with, "Oh, I was praying for that as well," or "I was praying that God would answer in that same exact way," we are basically telling our children that their relationship with the Lord is not enough, that their relationship also requires our help and involvement.  What a faith destroyer that is!

I also love how the angel of God responded to Hagar.  "What is the matter with you?" 

I do not know what Hagar's relationship with the Lord was like at this time. She had lived in a God fearing environment for many years.  I'm sure she was aware of the promise of a son that Abraham had received.  And I wonder if, as Abraham sent her off, he told her the message that God had given him concerning Ishmael- that a great nation would come from him and his descendants too.

"What is the matter with you, Hagar?"

Yes, the situation looks dire.  Yes, this looks and feels like the end for you and your son.  Yes, the thirst is unbearable right now.  Yes, your provisions are gone....... but this is not the end.  A promise had been made to Abraham.  A promise concerning your son was made.  And God always keeps His promises.

And for you today...... whatever you are facing..... whatever your situation...... this is not the end..... God always keeps His promises.


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