Please turn your attention with me to Genesis chapter 16. As we read Genesis chapter 16, we understand that it had been more than ten years since the promise was made regarding Abram’s descendants. We see in Genesis chapter 16 verse 1 that “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.” My friends’, waiting is no small job; it takes courage, patience, faith, energy, long suffering, humility and dependence of God. Have you ever felt like waiting gets on your nerves? This chapter is an eye opener to all who think they are too strong to fall or stumble; devil can creep into the tiniest of hole and cause drastic damages. Apostle Paul said: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12) Watch this! Abraham and Sarah were such wonderful, God fearing couple, picked and chosen by God to do His will; however the question is, can something as insignificant and petty like a servant cause such great damage? Yes, it can if you are not alert and vigilant! Sarai was the one who initiated this devious plan of taking Hagar; I guess she used emotional tactics of tears to coax Abraham into this. In verse 2 we see Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me away from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Hagar had not wanted to do what was asked of her, but as a slave with no rights or opinions, she had no choice. Hagar, she was a slave in that household. She was an Egyptian slave. And in those days, slaves were bonded. They had to do just as told by their Masters. They had to stay just the way they were asked to and to do just as they told. Beware, Satan uses and also looks for all kinds of ways to get you into a mess which further leads you into complicated mess. It is crystal clear that Sarai’s mind had been attacked by the devil, he must have whispered, ‘the waiting is a waste of time, nothing has happened so far and so don’t wait anymore, look at the opportunity right before you (Hagar) and now grab that. So she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me away from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” When you have an option: When you have an easy option out, right in front of you then it would be hard to trust for a miracle. If your eyes wander away from God to other options then you would do a drastic mistake like Sarai who made her husband have a baby through Hagar. We just cannot put the entire blame on Sarai and release Abram completely because he speedily and easily consented to the plans of his wife. He was a man of prayer, yet here he did not take this matter to God in prayer. When we read further in Genesis 16: 6, we see Abram said “Your slave is in your hands’, ‘Do with her, whatever you think best.’ Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. I need not to give the background to this story. You and I know, Hagar, Sarai and Abram, this trio are in a messy situation now. They have gotten into a very complicated situation. Hagar is mad at Sarai, Sarai is mad at Hagar. And Abram is stuck in between, does not know whose side he has to take. So we see that all three are trapped in this chaos. There is some serious conflict right there. All three are wondering what we have done. All three are wondering where we have come to. What were we thinking? Now what are we going to do? This has become so messy. Is it too late to fix it right now? Have we gone too far to bring everything back in place? All three of them, not just one of them, all three were affected. All three felt broken. All three felt ashamed. All three disappointed. All three having their dreams and desires shattered. All three confused. All three were trying their hardest to find a way out. There was so much guilt and there was so much brokenness.
Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. Hagar was running away. She was on the move. But we need to try and understand certain things. Where was Hagar going to go? Who would take her in? Who would want her while she was carrying another man’s child? Was she safe traveling alone through the wilderness? The LORD helped Hagar by slowing her down by asking Hagar some questions. In verse 8 we see the angel of the Lord asked her, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” For that she answered “I am running away from my mistress Sarai”. I love the fact that the LORD allowed Hagar to share her story. He allowed her to say things out loud to someone whom she thought didn’t know what was going on. The writer of Genesis doesn’t share the whole conversation. But I am sure she has shared her heart with the angel. We have to acknowledge that Hagar said more than just the one sentence we see in this chapter. I am sure before the LORD said anything He allowed Hagar to have her say. He allowed her to clarify her story. The Holy Spirit is not interested in judging us. The Holy Spirit works with us and in us. He listens to our thoughts and our feelings. He listens to our stories and allows us to share what is going on in our hearts. The Lord did this for Hagar. It was very encouraging and healing experience for her. The LORD reminded Hagar that she was not alone. Hagar needed that kind of an encouragement and comfort that day and she received it from the LORD. His presence brought peace, courage and strength.
This message is centered on Hagar and how the Lord deals with her during her time of pain and suffering. Let us examine how the Lord helped Hagar and how He is ready to help us with our times of pain and suffering. Hagar had been mistreated by her mistress. Out of desperation, she finally fled because she could not take the abuse and the pain anymore; but she quickly found herself alone and defenseless, without shelter or sustenance. If we say she felt scared, lonely, and unloved; it is an understatement. She wondered in her despair, if anyone cared about her or what was happening to her or her unborn baby. Can you relate to her? Perhaps not to her situation, but to the emotions she experienced: fear, loneliness, feeling unloved? You may have wondered, out of all the billions of people in this world, does God even know that you exist? Could he single you out as an individual, or are you just unknown in the mass of humanity? Know that God sees you! God of Hagar is the God who sees, the one who is a constant companion, and a covenant keeping God. This God is a compassionate father. As an individual, you are known by Him! The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” He called her by her name. One of the things that come into my mind in this short passage is that every time Sarah or Abraham mentioned Hagar in their conversations, she was simply referred to as “my slave” or “your slave” (Genesis 16:2, 5, 6). This leads us to conclude that she had no value in their eyes other than someone to be used for their own selfish gain: to manipulate God’s plan to provide an heir. I can only imagine how demoralizing that must have been for Hagar. But when God found Hagar at the spring of water, the first word out of His mouth was, “Hagar” (16:8).
Yes after being in a mess, after being mistreated, after being abused, Hagar is now running away. The angel asked her, where are you coming from Hagar? Hagar where are you going? She said, I am running away, running away from this mess, running away from this unfair treatment, running away from this unpleasant situation, running away from this unrewarding experience. I do not know what your situation of life is. Hagar says I am running away. Even though she was a bonded slave to stay, we cannot blame Hagar for choosing not to stay in that unpleasant situation. It was her conditional stay. And you see Hagar was serving Sarai and Abram. Hagar must have spent all her days serving them. Hagar must have given herself to fulfill their needs, just as she gave herself to bear them a baby. But now these masters did not choose to be faithful to her, did not choose to stay kind to her, did not choose to stay merciful to her, and did not choose to stay gracious to her. She being an Egyptian slave, no family and no friends, she was alone and lonely. Now you see the angel is asking where are you coming from and where are you going? Hagar says I am running away. If Hagar wanted a new life, if she wanted something better, if she thought she deserves so much more than the present situation Hagar could have run away to somebody else or to somewhere else to find another job, to find another means to life or seek shelter in somebody else’s home. But the Bible says, Hagar ran into a desert, she ran into a place where there was no promise for a new life or future. She ran into a desert not hoping for somebody to give her comfort or counsel. She ran into the desert not expecting that somebody would come along the way and give her a helping hand. But you see Hagar is running in to the wilderness, where there is no soul to see her, nobody to save her. But the angel asked her where are you running from? Yes the same question is being asked to you and me. Which past are you running away from? Which brokenness and failures are you coming from? What kind of a mess are you coming from? What kind of wrong doings are you coming from? Are you running away from your own life? Are you running away from your own past? In the midst of all your mess, confusion, conflict, brokenness, amidst all difficult situations and failures how many of you felt like running away? To run away to a place where nobody would see you, nobody can see you, leaving everything and everyone behind.
But in the Bible we see in Genesis 16:13 “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the one who sees me.” Hagar says I have seen this God who sees. The angel appeared to her, she thought this God sees me. Yes, He sees you and me, just as we are. He sees you right where you are. He is seeing you in your situation right now. Despite seeing you in your situation, he is staying by your side right now. He is choosing to stay by your side. This God who sees, He sees it all and still He is a God who stays with you. So don’t think God is distant in your life situations. The moment you realize you are unworthy and ready to run away from God, but this God of Hagar sees you just as you are. So do not run away, do not run away from God, the God who sees you will meet in you in your mess. He meets you in your brokenness whether you sit in your wilderness or inside the closed doors of your homes, He sees you. He unconditionally stays with you. We see in Genesis 16: 9 “Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” But He adds a promise to that “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” He says go back, go back to your life, go back those people from whom you were running away, go back to where you are coming from. But this is the promise, when you go back to your life, when you go back to the same situation, I will be the God who stays with you. I will fulfill the promise that I have given you.
The LORD told Hagar He had a plan for her life. You can put up with a lot in your life if you know in the end there is going to be something that happens for the better. The Lord wanted Hagar to know that He had a plan for her. The pain and suffering she was going through right now would not last forever. That is why the LORD sent her back to Abraham and Sarah. He did not send her back so Sarah could continue to mistreat her. He did not send her back so that she could suffer again. The LORD sent her back so that she could live in safety. He sent her back so that she would have food, water, shelter and help during her pregnancy. He sent her back so that Abraham would reach out and put her under his care. He sent her back so that Abraham and Sarah could understand that just as they were His Children, so too was Hagar. Hagar went back to Sarah as a victorious woman. She went back and gave birth to Ishmael. She went back and began to fulfill the abundant life God had for her. Finally, God blesses Hagar in that generation.