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Monday, 29 October 2018

Genesis 21 : 8-21

“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.” - Genesis 21:19

Genesis 17 is a turning point in the life of Abraham and Sarah as they received a new name from God.  Just as we read in 2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” , Abraham and Sarah received a new identity. Their new names signified the new identity that God gave them. Abraham had a past although he had the promise of God, but in spite of their mess up in life God changed his and wife’s names; He made a covenant with Abraham, giving him a new purpose in life to live in holiness and devotion.  “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai - ‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” (Gen. 17:1). 


The background to our reading today is that Abraham and Sarah, running ahead of God had come up with their own idea of how to have a son that God had promised them. As the years passed and both were getting aged, they came up with the idea of having a son by a mother in substitute.  It is very important to note that a son was born in Hagar when his name was Abram, but Isaac was born after Abram became ‘Abraham’.  Similarly, Sarai became ‘Sarah’ and that’s when the promised child was born to her. In the process of being made new in their totality, what they carried from their fleshly desires and sinful action had to be excommunicated (here in this case - Hagar and her son Ishmael) as it was causing disturbance in their peace and joy inside the home.  Although the matter of sending away Hagar and Ishmael was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight,  God confirmed the course of action as we read from Vs.12 onwards.


Is God unrighteous to have allowed Hagar along with Ishmael to be left in the desert to starve and die ? Of course not! For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5 )  Here we see God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.” Genesis 21:13


The subsequent move and the bitter experience was so painful for Hagar – for she said herself, “let me not see the death of the boy.”  So she sat opposite him and lifted her voice and wept.  And God heard the voice of the lad.  Immediately the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, “what ails you, Hagar?  Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.  Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”   It’s not the first time Hagar wanders in the wilderness. In chapter 16, she flees when she was pregnant due to a conflict with Sarah and ends up speaking with the LORD and even naming God: “A God of seeing” (16:13).  “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”


Matt. 5:45 reveals “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  God hears the cries of the outcast and abandoned.  He preserved the life of Hagar and Ishmael.


From a Broken Heart:   

“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5 (ESV) 

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