Thursday, May 15, 2014

Coffee with Hagar (Bible Mommies series)

Hagar: Single Mom

Like Sarah, Hagar's point of pain revolved around a child. But as a result, she met the pre-incarnate Jesus in a most unexpected way. Let's spend a few minutes visiting with Hagar and hear her amazing story!

Hagar, great to have you for coffee today!What was it like for you when Sarah stepped outside God's plan and drew you into her plan? 

Thanks for inviting me. I'm honored to be with you. Since I was Sarah's maid, her request did not come as a surprise to me. Having a child through one's maid was not unusual in our time period. 

I see. But what did it feel like to be a single mom?

Exciting at first, I mean, to have a child. But also very difficult, as in reality, I was bearing the child for Sarah. I'll admit, I despised Sarah. Then things turned ugly. My mistress treated me harshly, and Abraham allowed it, so I ran away.

As I understand it, at the worst moment, God intervened. How did that come about?

Well, I ended up near a spring in the desert. The LORD came to me and asked where I was going. He told me to go back to Sarah and do what she told me. Even though I balked at the thought of submitting to her, the LORD promised He would increase my descendants through the child I carried. 

What was it like to "meet" God?

Amazing! I realized I'd seen the God who sees me.

Did Sarah treat you differently once the child was born?

She was fond of my son, Ishmael--her son really. But she never quite treated me with kindness. And rumor had it that Abraham insisted God had told him he would have a child directly through Sarah, but I don't think Sarah quite believed it. Being past the age for bearing children, she laughed about the whole thing.

Well, this story's heating up! What happened after that?

Years later, God did enable Sarah to bear a son. They named him Isaac, "God laughs." On the day Isaac was weaned, Abraham held a great feast. Unfortunately, Ishmael publicly mocked Isaac. This only made Sarah angry, and she told Abraham to get rid of me and Ishmael. I could tell this made Abraham sad. After all, Ishmael was his son, too. But nevertheless, he sent us away with some food and water. 

Oh my, how did you manage?

I was an emotional basket case, to tell you the truth. When we finished the water, I put Ishmael under a bush and slipped away, not too far. But I couldn't bear to watch him die. We both cried. It was awful. Then God called to me. Again. I couldn't believe my ears. But what a comfort. He said, "Don't be afraid. I've heard the boy's cries. Take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation." Then I looked, and there was a well! Amazing! We filled the water skin, drank, and lived. When Ishmael grew up, I took a wife for him from Egypt. 

You had quite an experience, Hagar. What would you say you learned from all this?

That God sees and hears our cries. He seeks out the unloved, the undesirable. At the point of death, God intervened and reminded me of His promise. I was in an impossible circumstance, beyond my control. But that was God's way of getting my attention. As a single mom, I despaired, even of life. But God heard my cry and provided what I needed to care for my son. 

Thanks so much for drinking coffee with me today and sharing a piece of your story, Hagar.

Thanks for listening. 

~~

Remember when we spoke with Sarah--the most important thing in her life became the point of greatest testing. But God's plan was bigger than her imagination. His plan for Isaac exceeded Sarah's. And God can turn sorrow into laughter. 

Today, we learned that a blessing for Hagar became a curse for Sarah, and ultimately pushed Hagar to the breaking point. But God, in His relentless mercy, intervened.

Read Genesis, chapters 16 and 21, to get the complete flow of this story. 

* What does this account show us about the importance God places on names?
* What part did God play in Hagar's deliverance?
* What part did she play?
* What lessons can we learn from this Bible mommy? 

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