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Monday, June 06, 2005

God of the Wilderness

We have been looking at mothers who were rewarded by God for their outstanding acts of faith and sacrifice. This week I want to look at a woman who showed neither, but we shall see what God did in her life.

Hagar was the Egyptian maidservant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. But Sarah, who was too old to have any children, one day had a bright idea. She thought, why don’t I give my maid to my husband so we can have a family through her? So she sold her idea to Abraham who bought it, and Hagar became pregnant.

Hagar’s status changed overnight, and she became disrespectful to her mistress, who in turn, mistreated her and Hagar fled into the desert. But the angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar and told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her and that "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude" (Genesis 16: 10).

So Hagar went back to Sarah, and she bore Abraham a son just as the angel had prophesied. Life went on smoothly after that until Sarah bore her own son, Isaac, whom God had promised. Sarah asked Abraham to put Hagar and her son out saying, "... the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac" (Genesis 21:10).

Once again Hagar found herself wandering in the wilderness, this time with her son and only some bread and a bottle of water. But soon the water bottle became empty, so Hagar placed the child under some shrubs and went and lay down a little way off and wept. But once more an angel of God came to her rescue. He told her to pick up the boy and her eyes were opened and she saw a well of water. The angel again promised, "I will make him a great nation" (v 18).
So the boy Ishmael’s life was spared.

There are many Hagars in our society today. Some of them were raped and became pregnant, or some of them might be unwed mothers, still others might be divorced mothers bringing up their children alone. We might call them unfortunate, victims of circumstance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time or whatever. If you are a Hagar today I hope that this discourse will help you to take heart. God will look after you. He will be with you in your wilderness experience. He will hear your cry, and He will save your children.
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