Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hagar and the Angel of the Lord

Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her:
“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
Genesis 16:7-12, NKJV

Hagar and the Angel of the Lord

You will remember that problems have developed between Sarai and her handmaid, Hagar. Because Abram and Sarai were not able to have children, Sarai gave her handmaid to Abram so that she could have children through Hagar. When Abram followed the advice of Sarai and Hagar conceived, Hagar despised her mistress, Sarai.

Sarai, then, dealt harshly with Hagar, and Hagar ran away. As we read the verses above, we find that the Angel of the Lord found Hagar by a spring of water in the wilderness.

What a time for Hagar. None of this happened through her own choosing. Yet God had His own purposes in all of this. How amazed Hagar must have been when she was visited by an Angel of the Lord. Even more amazing were the words He spoke.

First, the Angel told her to return to Sarai and submit herself under Sarai's hand. This was not the news that Hagar wanted to receive. Many times in our lives, as we go through very deep valleys, our desire is to be delivered from our dire situation. God, however, does not always do so. Sometimes His will is for us to go through the waters and lean on His help while we traverse these deep valleys of life. That is not always what we want to hear, but later in life, we realize that it is through these adverse times that we really learned to trust in God.

The Angel's words did not stop here, however. These next words must have been a shock to Hagar.

“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 

The Angel then continued by giving Hagar a glimpse into the future. She would give birth to a boy whom she was to name Ishmael. God had heard her prayers. Even though Ismael would become a wild man, he would also become a father of a great nation. 

Now, in this the 21st century, we find that both Ishmael and Isaac, who would later be born to Abram and Sarai, both have become fathers of great nations. The descendants of both are, truly, as the stars in the sky and the sands in the seas.

So, did all of these events interrupt or change God's plans? No! God uses us, the weak and foolish of this world to accomplish His great purposes. No man, great or small, changes the plans of God. He uses all men to accomplish His perfect and holy will.

What an encouragement this is to us today. As we see great evil spread through the entire world, we know that God is still God. All that He has planned will come to pass. As His children, we are not to fear, but rather we are to trust that He will faithfully use us, guide us, and direct us. He will keep us safely in His arms all of the days of our lives upon this earth. 

Evil, in the end, will not win. Though we live in troubling times when it seems as though almost everyone is running as far away from God as possible, we can still trust in Him. He saves us, He keeps us, and He will bring us safely home to live with Him, where we will be forever!

What an amazing God we serve. Do not let the foolish things of this world blind your minds, but, rather, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our only hope and He will not forget His children!

God Bless You,

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