Women Of The Bible
Read Genesis 16:1
“Hagar is the person mostly concerned in the story of this chapter, an obscure Egyptian woman, whose name and story we never should have heard of if Providence had not brought her into the family of Abram. Probably she was one of those maid-servants whom the king of Egypt, among other gifts, bestowed upon Abram.” Mathew Henry Commentary – Gen 16:1
Read - Genesis 16:2-6
“Abraham’s marriage with Hagar resulted in evil, not only to his own household, but to future generations. Flattered with the honor of her new position as Abraham’s wife, and hoping to be the mother of the great nation to descend from him, Hagar became proud and boastful, and treated her mistress with contempt. Mutual jealousies disturbed the peace of the once happy home. Forced to listen to the complaints of both, Abraham vainly endeavored to restore harmony. Though it was at Sarah’s earnest entreaty that he had married Hagar, she now reproached him as the one at fault. She desired to banish her rival; but Abraham refused to permit this; for Hagar was to be the mother of his child, as he fondly hoped, the son of promise. She was Sarah’s servant, however, and he still left her to the control of her mistress. Hagar’s haughty spirit would not brook the harshness which her insolence had provoked.” Patriarchs and Prophets, E.G. White, P145
*Sarah and Abraham made an unwise decision regarding Hagar which caused unrest in the family home. They distrusted the power of God to fulfil His promise in His timing. Can we distrust the power of God?
Read - Genesis 16:7-16
“She made her way to the desert, and as she rested beside a fountain, lonely and friendless, an angel of the Lord, in human form, appeared to her. Addressing her as “Hagar, Sarai’s maid,” to remind her of her position and her duty, he bade her, “Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.” Yet with the reproof there were mingled words of comfort. “The Lord hath heard thy affliction.” “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” And as a perpetual reminder of His mercy, she was bidden to call her child Ishmael, “God shall hear.” Patriarchs and Prophets, E.G. White P 145-146
*God cared about Hagar so much that He sent an angel to talk with her! God though, wanted Hagar to have a humble spirit and to return to Sarah.
Read – Genesis 21:9-14
“The birth of Isaac, bringing, after a lifelong waiting, the fulfillment of their dearest hopes, filled the tents of Abraham and Sarah with gladness. But to Hagar this event was the overthrow of her fondly cherished ambitions. Ishmael, now a youth, had been regarded by all in the encampment as the heir of Abraham’s wealth and the inheritor of the blessings promised to his descendants. Now he was suddenly set aside; and in their disappointment, mother and son hated the child of Sarah. The general rejoicing increased their jealousy, until Ishmael dared openly to mock the heir of God’s promise. Sarah saw in Ishmael’s turbulent disposition a perpetual source of discord, and she appealed to Abraham, urging that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away from the encampment. The patriarch was thrown into great distress. How could he banish Ishmael his son, still dearly beloved? In his perplexity he pleaded for divine guidance. The Lord, through a holy angel, directed him to grant Sarah’s desire; his love for Ishmael or Hagar ought not to stand in the way, for only thus could he restore harmony and happiness to his family. And the angel gave him the consoling promise that though separated from his father’s home, Ishmael should not be forsaken by God; his life should be preserved, and he should become the father of a great nation. Abraham obeyed the angel’s word, but it was not without keen suffering. The father’s heart was heavy with unspoken grief as he sent away Hagar and his son”. Patriarchs and Prophets, E.G. White P 146-147
*Hagar’s disappointment festered into bitterness, which affected her and her son’s behaviour. Is this something that we need to think about? Can our disappointments get turned into bitterness in the way we react to the situations that happen in our own lives? What are some other ways Hagar could have responded to her difficult situation?
Read – Genesis 21:15-21
*Here an angel visits Hagar a second time to give her reassurance of her and her son’s future. God also provided a well of water that they could drink from. God was giving Hagar plenty of evidence that He cared for her and Ishmael.
The story of Hagar is a complex one, but despite her difficulties our Bible readings show us that God still cared for Hagar. Are there any aspects of Hagar’s situation that we can learn from?