(Disclaimer: This is a longer blog, but we have much to learn from Hagar so I didn’t want to cut any of it.)
2. Hagar’s story starts in Genesis 12 when Abraham is paid male and female servants for Sarah. He lied to Pharaoh saying Sarah was his sister so Pharaoh wouldn’t kill him and to have Sarah. Instead Pharaoh took Sarah and paid Abraham for her. In Genesis 16 Hagar was doing her usual duties when she was called on by her mistress to become a surrogate mother for Sarah’s child. The problem was Hagar will become pregnant not through a medical procedure, but the natural way. This required Hagar to be a concubine of Abraham. Hagar was violated at the hand of another woman—Sarah. She became pregnant.
3. Hagar dealt with her situation by being angry with Sarah for all she brought upon her. Sarah then heaped more harsh treatment on Hagar. Finally Hagar couldn’t take it any longer so she ran away, heading back home.
4. The first emotion of Hagar’s we see is anger towards Sarah, “her mistress was despised in her sight.” I would guess Hagar also felt betrayed by Sarah and Abraham. Abraham was to be her protector and especially since she was carrying his child. I would also imagine she ran away because she felt hopeless, alone, and desperate.
5. God said a lot to Hagar!
a. He asked where she has come from and where she is going (verse 8). How important it is to answer these questions with God, to take time to evaluate where we’ve come from, what we’ve learned, and where we’re headed and how we will get there.
b. He told her to return to Sarai and submit to the very thing she was running away from (verse 9). But it gets better. . .
c. He went on to tell her He will multiply her descendants; that she will have a son; to name him Ishmael which means “God hears” because God “has given heed to your affliction” (verse 11).
6. Abraham failed Hagar. He did not protect her from Sarah’s plan or from Sarah’s harsh treatment. He did not give her equal treatment as a wife or the mother of his son.
7. Unlike Sarah, Hagar did trust, honor, and obey God. She acknowledges God sees her and cares about her (verse 13). She obeyed God and went back to Sarah. She didn’t have to but she did.
8. Hagar played a part in the cat fight in the Abraham household. We are not told her relationship with Sarah before this situation. Why did Sarah choose Hagar from all her maids? Did Sarah have the best relationship with her? Was Hagar the most beautiful? Did she feel she could trust Hagar to not steal the heart of Abraham? We don’t know, but whatever trust existed between the two women was broken by Sarah’s plan.
9. I learned much from Hagar. In this situation, Hagar is the “ungodly” woman. Sarah has the hand of God on her life. God is actively working in her life and talking over His plans with her husband. Hagar, however, was raised in culture that had many gods, none of which was the one and true God. Yet, when God spoke to her she acknowledged Him as “the Living One who sees me.” She has a personal relationship with God. This reality moved her to obey Him and go back to her hard situation. She was on her way to becoming a fierce woman of God—one who trusts, honors, and obeys God in difficult situations. I am challenged to live out my faith motivated by the intimacy of my relationship with God and not take my relationship with God for granted as Sarah did.
Life is hard and sometimes God tells us the hard situation is where we’ll be living for a while, but to do so honoring Him. God won’t always fix our hard situations or those of our loved ones. But, as we see in Hagar’s life, it is through the hard that she came to really know God. She learned and owned the reality that God saw her, knew her, and deeply cared for her. She also learned and believed the plan God had for her—unlike Sarah who did not trust and believe God’s plan for her.
The experience of really being seen by God touched Hagar’s heart so powerfully that she received God’s value and purpose in her life and for her unborn child. She knew God so intimately that she trusted and obeyed Him—something Even and Sarah failed to do. Hagar did something many Christian women in the 21st century have not done:
* She accepted God’s invitation to know Him.
* She believed that God saw her and never stopped seeing her.
* She believed God when He told her the special plan He had for her.
* She accepted the value and purpose for her life that God gave her.
These truths gave her purpose and confidence for her life.
God, please help me to live and own the reality that You always see me and are working your plan for my life. Help me to remain in the closeness of relationship with You.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.