Lesson Two | Devotion #3: Hagar
Jill Osmon | Assistant to the Lead Pastor
Sarah and Abraham are significant in the Bible, their lives are followed, and yet in the middle of it all, a young woman named Hagar is thrust into their lives by one decision. She finds herself in a place I am sure she never imagined, did not want, and was not happy with how her life was moving. Genesis chapter 16 walks us through Hagar’s journey.
Genesis 16: 1-4 says, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.”
Genesis 16:6 adds, “…Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.”
After all of this, Hagar fled. She could not take the pressure, the shame, the anger, and her role in it all. We sometimes do this, we get to the middle of a season, a season that has been difficult, one that has hurt, and we leave. It is not just a situation, but we leave where God has placed us. It is easier to walk away, convince ourselves that God did not place us there and that God would never make us walk through this valley. It hurts too much to be accepted as being from God. Please listen, if we go through life by running from every valley and trial God has for us (whether that is self-inflicted or not), our faith will be small and weak. God grows us; our faith is strengthened through these moments. We see this throughout the Bible. We see it with Paul and his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It is evident throughout Moses’ life, whether it be his doubt or valleys God walked him through. We are not promised an easy road; we are not promised a life void of hardship.
God meets Hagar on her flight, and the first thing He does is remind her where she should be. God will not let world changers take the easy way out; you have to go through the valleys to get to the mountain tops. You cannot go around; you cannot take a shortcut, you have to go through it. He then quickly follows it up with a promise, can you picture it? Hagar is distraught and angry and bitter; God has just reprimanded her. Have you ever been there? It can feel lonely, joyless, and scary, yet God in His grace and mercy still gives us His promises.
GOD’S PROMISES – Genesis 16:10-12
God gives Hagar a promise, she will bear a son, and his offspring will be many. Her needs would be met. Her life may not be what she wanted, but her needs would be met. God’s promises are what brings us out of deep waters. One of my favorite songs is Oceans, by Hillsong United. Part of lyrics are, “Your grace abounds in deepest waters; Your sovereign hand will be my guide; where feet may fail and fear surrounds me; You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.” Hagar calls Him the “God of seeing.” He sees us, He sees you, all of your imperfections, all of your hurt, and all of your dreams. He sees EVERYTHING. He sees us, loves us, and gives us promises upon promises. He has never failed us and He never will.
GOD PROVIDES – Genesis 21:14-20
I wish the rest of Hagar’s story was one of joy and peace, but she finds herself in another valley. Once Sarai has a baby, Isaac, the reminder of Hagar and Ishmael is raw and ever present. So, Abraham sends them away with only a bottle of water and some bread.
Ishmael and Hagar go through the water and bread that Abraham provides and are on the verge of death. She cries out to God, not remembering His promise, but simply sitting, waiting to die. An angel calls from Heaven, tells her to take Ishmael, reminds her that God promised to make him a great nation, and then He provides for their earthly needs. Verse 18 and 19 say, “‘Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.”
I read in one commentary that Abraham gave her a bottle, but God gave her a well. Man’s attempt to provide will always pale in comparison to God providing for us. Our feeble human attempt to provide for ourselves or even for others without God amounts to a bottle versus a well. Even when we forget, even when God has to open our eyes, He still provides, and His promises endure. Even when we cannot see it, even when we doubt, God provides.
Hagar should be a reminder that no matter our circumstances, God provides, His promises endure, and He will never fail us.