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Hagar-Though Rejected-was not Abandoned

Image result for images of sarah and hagar

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.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2018 in God's Love

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 6

Gutenberg Bible - detail from the Old Testament

Gutenberg Bible – detail from the Old Testament (Photo credit: National Library of Scotland)

IX. What happened when Old Testament Saints died? There is an interesting statement found on 11 occasions in the Old Testament. It speaks of one dead as being “gathered to his people.” This phrase is never used in the New Testament. Here are a few examples: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8) “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.” (Genesis 25:17) “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:” (Deuteronomy 32:50)

That statement has perplexed Bible students for years. Some believe it just means that the dead body becomes the possession of the living relatives to bury where they want. Others believe the statement refers to an afterlife reunion with loved ones.

Some of the newer “per-versions” of the Bible do not tackle the subject at all – they just delete these words without any explanation. Matthew Henry in his commentary explains it this way, “His body was gathered to the congregation of the dead, and his soul to the congregation of the blessed.” Where was this gathering of Old Testament saints? It was to the place referred to by Christ in Luke 16:19-31. As you read it, notice the 6 references to Abraham:

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Christian views on Hell

Christian views on Hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This word hell comes from “Hades” which means “the place of departed souls.” It appears to be in 2 compartments within eyesight of each other. One for the damned, a place of torment. The other for the blessed, a place of comfort. The Old Testament saints were considered “captives” of that place within the heart of the earth until Jesus came and led them out at His Resurrection. Jesus’ soul went into hell (Hades) when He died: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27) “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31) “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

This intriguing story of Samuel shows us how he was brought up from the lower parts of the earth by the request of King Saul with the help of the witch of Endor. “Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.” (1 Samuel 28:11-15) Samuel said he was “disquieted” when he was brought up. He appeared to have been in quiet comfort, resting. This would reconcile Christ’s teaching about Hades with Abraham, who was comforted.

X. What happened when Old Testament sinners died? People in the Old Testament days were either converted or unconverted – Psalm 51:13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” The truths that we saw under the last point also apply here. These departed souls also go into Hades (hell), but into the place of torment where the Rich Man was – see Luke 16:19-31 again. The Old Testament saints were resurrected when Jesus rose from the grave. They ascended into Heaven. Those that were sinners remained in the same place. There is no reference to them ever coming out.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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