It may be difficult for our human psyche to grasp the word everlasting. Our finite minds just cannot completely understand. It is forever and forever and forever…
I am reading Isaiah and part of this morning’s reading was Chapter 51:9-11:
“9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? 10 Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? 11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
Now if those words do not get your hearts pounding with great hope for our eternal destiny as children of God Jehovah, I don’t know what ever would! And look at the last phrase – “sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” What great hope we have in God’s wonderful promises!
God wants us to have a right understanding of self. When we let Him heal us, He gives us that understanding. Those who know me and my testimony are aware of my past abusive relationships. There were times that some would say to me, “No one can make you feel a certain way, it is up to you if you choose to feel ashamed or hurt or guilty.” To a point that may be true, but when you share your life with someone who repeatedly says abusive things to you and/or repeatedly physically abuses you, you will start to believe those things are true and that you deserve to be treated that way. When we decide that we do not deserve that treatment, and stick close to “the one who is closer than a brother,” and His Word, He will bring us up out of those relationships and lies that we end up believing about ourselves. God does not want us to be hurt by others and I do not believe He wants us to stay in those kinds of relationships.
Guilt is a God-given emotion that takes place when our mistakes and faults are revealed in our own minds or publicly exposed. It may be a personal reminder of our own limitations and sinfulness.
Shame, however, says that the individual person is bad, of no value, or unworthy to exist–that we are hopelessly abnormal, unlovable, of no value, and worthless. Shame begins externally with a subtle implication through silence and neglect or with verbal condemnation through words of abuse. When such messages are repeated often enough, whether through words or actions, they become internalized into a false belief about ourselves: “I must be bad to deserve such terrible treatment.” This becomes the heart and soul of our identity and the beginning of thousands of future, wrong choices for the one who is suffering from shame.
We can begin to heal from our shame when we identify and confess the lies that we have believed about ourselves. Then we must start to replace those lies from satan with God’s Biblical truths. Truths about who God is and who we are as His beloved children. We are of immeasurable worth in God’s eyes, righteous through the blood and Jesus and, therefore, without condemnation.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:31-39 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
II Corinthians 5:17, 21 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new…For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Sometimes when we have been victimized over time, we become so shame-filled that we are emotionally bound by that shame, even though we may think that we mentally understand our worth in God’s eyes. Or, if we have actually committed shameful acts, a deep sense of shame may remain even after confession and repentance. Those acts, by others and/or by ourselves, must be brought into the presence of Jesus, and perhaps more than just one time. We need to remember that we suffered the abuse over a period of time, and it will not just go away suddenly. Ultimately, only God brings full emotional cleansing and freedom from such bondage.
I know that I would not be where I am in my walk with Jesus today had I not made the decision to leave the abuse relationship and cling to the Lord. There truly is a light at the end of the tunnel if we only trust Him.
There is a great song I love to sing and play on my guitar, “For Those Tears I Died”. The Isaacs do a great job on it:
Yes, it is so true that God knows every tear we cry and He feels our tears and cares about them.
We did get our house in Colorado sold and moved into our new home here in Amarillo on July 15th. We are nearly all settled in. It was quite an adventure that God was in total control of.
I am reading in the Psalms in my Bible at this point, and I was reminded of how God knows all about us, even every thought we have and every tear we cry. It had been a while, probably last year when I was reading the Psalms ;-), but I always receive something new each time I re-read any of God’s Word. Psalm 56:8 “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” It is always a comfort to me when I read this Scripture, but especially at this time in my life. God cares so very much that He puts our tears in His bottle and in His book!
A couple of weeks ago I received word that my 20-year-old grandson has left this world; so so very young. I have been witnessing to him, trying to lead him to salvation for the past 2 years. He was part of a gang, and admitted “he did not know Jesus as Saviour as he did not believe in Heaven or Hell; just that things just happen and that’s the way it is.” I can only hope that the Lord reached him before he died and I will see him in Heaven.
I know that God’s Word does not return to Him void – Isaiah 55:6-11 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.“
ALL things are possible for Jehovah and He would that none should perish.
My heart hurts much for my daughter who had gone away from our Lord as well, but she is saved. I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. I share my love and the Scriptures with her as I am led by the Lord, as well as fervently lifting her up for mercy and that God place someone in her path that is very strong in Him who will help her come out of this horrible darkness she is in. I know with all of my heart that if there is a chance that she will be able to reach out to and help even one person through something like this, down the road, God will not let her leave yet.
I know that our tears are a cry from our hearts, and I pray that when my girl is ready to receive it, she will experience God’s mercy, comfort and presence. As her momma, I so wish I could make this go away for her, but I must leave her in the hands of our loving, capable, and merciful God Jehovah.
I understand that we are all brought to tears at different times in our lives, for many different reasons. Tears have always been closely spun together with the human heart and may express such various emotions as grief and joy. God’s Word has much to say on this matter.
In the Old Testament, tears were often an expression of remorse – Lamentations 2:18, 19 “Their heart cried unto the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.”
Esther wept with a troubled soul over the predicament of her people – Esther 8:3 “And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.”
Hannah shed tears from a grieving heart and a bitter soul – I Samuel 1:8, 10 “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”
Mary and Martha wept over the loss of their brother Lazarus – John 11:31 “The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.”
The sinful woman at the feet of Christ shed tears, not from remorse, anxiety, or grief, but rather in humility as a grateful response to God’s mercy and love toward her in spite of her sin – Luke 7:38-50 “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Every one of us will experience circumstances in our lives that will move us to tears. In those times, we must hold fast to the promise that a day is coming when God will wipe away all tears – Revelation 7:17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (And God cannot and does not lie!)
Until that glorious day comes to us, may we each have a desire for tears of repentance, adoration, thankfulness, and joy!
While reading about how God watched over and took care of Elijah the prophet in I Kings this morning, I had this overwhelming joy as I thought about how wonderful it will be to meet people like Elijah when we get to Heaven. Oh, the stories he and all of God’s great prophets can tell! But until then, we are so privileged to have God’s only true KJV Word:
I Kings 17:1-16 “1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” And they had to do absolutely nothing but trust in God!
Won’t it be grand to sit and listen to all the people in God’s Word who are now in Heaven share the glories of our Lord while they made their journeys through this finite human world?! There is not enough paper in this world to write it all down.
Ahhh, the Book of Ruth. There is so much that can be gleaned from this beautiful story of how God blessed the loving commitment and loyalty between the Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law. These two women had, of course, grown close and been great comfort to each other when they lost their husbands in the land of Moab. I am sure that Naomi felt very grateful that Ruth insisted upon staying with her and melding her life with Naomi’s, even taking God Jehovah to be her God. They made a choice to be there for each other as though they were mother and daughter by blood. This is a great example of how we ought to think of our son’s wives today. What sweet relationship we can share if we welcome each other as family instead of in-laws. Unfortunately, some treat these new additions to their families as outlaws. I have experience that myself, sad to say. When I referred to my new sister-in-laws as sisters, I was told blatantly that we are sisters-in-law. Sadly, none of us have ever grown very close. My mother-in-law was very precious on the other hand. She lived with my husband and I while she had spinal stenosis and waited for surgery, which healed her, and then for a year after. When she was completely healed, she wanted her own independence and her own place. I would take her shopping every couple of weeks as she was afraid to drive any more, too many curb shots.She had a very sweet spirit and is with Jesus now. I promised my sweet new daughter that she will never be treated as an outlaw, nor even and in-law by us. She is part of our family now and we have gained another daughter. We are so so grateful that she loves our son as much as we do. ❤
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the sad fact that there are also some young women who act like monster daughters-in-law for whatever reason. I believe we must chalk that wrong behaviour up to their being young and immature, especially if they are immature in their walk with the Lord. Usually it is just them growing out of their insecurities as a young one. If there seems to be an issue with the young woman acting like she needs to one-up or compete with her new mother-in-law for her husband’s affections, that is definitely a problem and should lovingly and kindly be addressed. Sometimes it is best to love her and pray for God to move in her heart, for He can do all things.
There is also something to be learned from the Hebrew culture back in Bible times. Their family structure included many relationships: both those related by blood and those related by marriage. In the Hebrew society, a husband and wife were more closely associated with the groom’s parents than the bride’s. You will rarely, if ever, see this happen in today’s American society. First of all, current culture seems to want to belittle and demean the man of the home whom God placed as the head of the home. Wives run everything while the husband, when there is one, is told how things are and how they are going to be, hence one reason why the family is being torn apart in this country, leading to its eventual downfall. Unfortunately, many of these whipped men are perfectly okay with their wives running the show.
In any event, in Biblical times, the bride left her family and people to become a member of her husband’s family with all the rights and responsibilities of a daughter – Ruth 1:1-7 “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.” So we see that the two daughters-in-law had become like daughters to Naomi.
Because people are people, those relationships in the husband’s family ranged from extremely hostile – Genesis 26:34, 35 “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” to lovingly helpful – Ruth 4:15 “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.”
God’s plan for husbands and wives in Genesis 2:24 is very specific – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” In other words, a man is to forsake dependence upon, release, and let go of his dependence upon his parents. Jesus addressed another aspect of the issue in Matthew 19:6 “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” No one is to come between the couple. If we as parents have done our job and led our children to be independent and responsible as they grew older, trusting them to be self-sufficient and in God’s care, it is a little easier to let them go and be what God leads them to be and do what God leads them to do.
However, this does not mean that the couple is to forsake their parents like they never existed. Remember, God gave a Commandment concerning children and parents, and He did not put a time limit on it – Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” We know this as the first Commandment with promise. So, the gist is that our loyalties will move from our parents to our spouse. This can be quite a challenge for both the parents and the couple, especially when the child had a close loving and loyal relationship with his/her parents.God knew this would be a challenge, but He also knew that the answer was for the couple to become one and still honour their parents. The key to it all is keeping the Lord first, as our focal point in the home.
Having gone through three children leaving the nest, I have learned that it is best for us parents to stay out of things unless they come and ask counsel. I try never to give un-solicited advice. Have I messed up “a time or two” in that area? Of course, and I probably will again, but I try. If I am working on my own close relationship with my Lord, I will know the Holy Spirit’s prompting to either be still or speak what He leads. The young couple needs guidance and direction as they grow in becoming one, but the first point of that guidance and direction must be God Jehovah. If they are close to Him, they will discern when He leads them to seek counsel from their parents. And who better to go to than those who know them better than anyone else and who has their best interests at heart. Needless to say, the parents have been through it themselves. It truly does also help if we parents keep the Lord as our focal point and seek His guidance in how involved we are in our adult children’s lives in this area.
Of course, the ideal in-law relationships back in Biblical times were mutually beneficial to all within the family circle, extending the supportive base of the family for helping and encouraging one another and exemplifying and teaching spiritual values to younger generations – Psalm 78:4-6 “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:” Dare I say that it would be much easier on parents and grown children today if more of us actually lived by the teachings in God’s Word and taught Godly principles and values to our younger generations. That is sadly lacking these days.
In conclusion, it really ought to be the desire of mothers and daughters-in-law to make a loving commitment to grow to know and love each other over time. For there will be times we will need to turn to each other for loving support in one area or another. Just as in all of life, it is what we choose to make it.
Poor Leah. While we experience righteous indignation at Jacob and Rachel being tricked, we cannot help but feel sorry for Leah. Though her father was supposedly looking out for her best interests by putting her in Rachel’s place as wife to Jacob, she had to know that she would never be first in Jacob’s heart. Although she must have been at least willing to be part of this deceit, she could have also been just being an obedient daughter. I am sure she did not look forward to being considered the “old maid” of the family because she was the older daughter. She probably felt like she would not have much chance finding a suitable husband in the short-term.
Of course, had Leah’s father been obedient to God’s plan for marriage being one man-one woman, this would never have had to happen in the first place. Had he truly been a faithful servant of God, he would have went to Jehovah and trusted Him to bring a husband for Leah. But alas, another story for another time.
The Bible describes Leah as having “tender” or “weak” eyes – Genesis 29:17 “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” This could infer that she had poor eyesight, but as I read “but Rachel was beautiful…” I am inclined to think that Leah was more plain looking compared to Rachel. As time went on, she grew to love Jacob and became a devoted wife throughout their marriage, even though her soul must have withered knowing that she was a disappointment and scorn to him, as well as being the tool that her scheming father used to get both of his daughters married off.
Leah lived with the constant comparison to her unusually beautiful sister, but she was nevertheless, not ever hidden from God’s caring eyes. In God’s all-knowing wisdom, He allowed her to conceive while he made Rachel’s womb temporarily barren. Though Leah had the honor of mothering Jacob’s oldest son, she wrongly assumed that it would earn her her husband’s love – Genesis 29:32 “And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” (I have seen women strive to become pregnant to save their marriage, but instead they usually end up dealing with much heartache.)
Leah faced her second childbirth more realistically, but apparently a deep desire still gnawed at her – Genesis 29:33 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.” Then she exclaimed with her third pregnancy “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me.” (Verse 34) She never completely gave up on her hope and longing for her husband to return her love. What a sad state of affairs to have to live through.
She had begun her marriage by focusing on what she lacked and feeling miserable, but she changed her heart and focus to what God had given her as she determined to praise the Lord. Leah did not really learn to trust Yahweh until the birth of her fourth son, Judah. Genesis 29:35 “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” If we trace the Messianic Lineage, we can rejoice with Leah as her faithfulness was rewarded. “The Lion of the tribe of Judah,” Jesus the Messiah, came through her offspring, Judah, and the priesthood through her son, Levi. Revelation 5:5 “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
Leah embodied for every woman our crucial need to live primarily for God and his glory. Though she may have been unattractive in appearance, unloved, unwanted, and even despised, God saw her inner beauty which equipped her to carry out his plan – Genesis 29:31 “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” She could not change Jacob, but she could change herself and recognize God’s hand in her life – Genesis 30:13 “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.” She did not let the attitudes of others distract her from the task God had given her, as he turned all the wrong choices that were made on her behalf into part of His wondrous plan for the Hebrew Nation.
There are times in our lives when things happen to us that we see as unfair, but God is faithful and He always turns them around for His purpose and, of course, to make us the better for them. There have been times in my life that I have made very bad choices and faced some dire consequences, but every one of them I have seen God turn to good for His glory and for growing me to be more like Jesus.
We know Hagar as Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant whom Sarah acquired when she, Abraham and Lot moved from Canaan to Egypt because of a famine in the land of Canaan. In ancient Near Eastern homes, the rank of personal maidservant to the master’s wife reflected honor, obedience, and trustworthiness. On the other hand, the position stripped Hagar of all personal rights, making her totally subject to Sarah’s every whim.
Because Sarah was barren, Hagar’s surrogate maternity was perfectly legal, though it was a clear violation of God’s law – Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This act, on Sarah’s and Abraham’s part, was a lack of faith in God Jehovah. They took things into their own hands, like many of us do when we lack faith and patience to wait on His sure promises.
During Hagar’s pregnancy she became full of pride and started thinking too highly of herself. She probably mocked Sarah for not being able to give Abraham a child, and possibly even stated that he thought better of her than Sarah for it. Women who were sterile were considered a reproach in those times. Sarah responded to Hagar’s pride with a vindictive accusation against her husband, who then insisted that Sarah assume full responsibility for her maid – Genesis 16:6 “But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” So Sarah mistreated Hagar to the point that she ran away.
God heard Hagar’s cries and He revealed Himself to her in Genesis 16:7-13 – “And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” God met Hagar’s immediate need in tender grace while He allowed her to experience His presence.
Twice “the Angel of the Lord” came to Hagar’s aid, in the instance stated above, and also in Genesis 21, after Isaac was born, and the Lord told them to send Hagar and Ishmael away, after Sarah saw Ishmael mocking. Verses 9-20 – “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.”
Hagar’s legacy speaks very tenderly to the growing number of disadvantaged and unfortunate women of the world. Under no circumstance can they escape God’s caring/watchful eyes. As He provided for Hagar, He can and will provide for every woman. What great love and compassion our LORD has for all mankind!
Throughout Hargar’s life, she experienced estrangement and prejudice as a foreigner, hardship and abuse as a servant, grief and abandonment as an unwed pregnant woman, and hopeless despair on two occasions as she faced imminent death. Yet, despite all these difficulties, Hagar responded to the God who addressed her. She did not get compensation from Sarah and Abraham; her life was never easy, but God did reward her. In the all-seeing God, Hagar found refuge and life.
Yes, Hagar was rejected because God had a purpose. But we may take much comfort in knowing that just as God was there for Hagar, so is He here for each of us.