Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hagar; Fleeing: Genesis 16:7-9

Genesis 16:7-9: 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?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”

Do you ever feel like ‘fleeing’? Hagar did and she fled. When you consider the culture of the day, Hagar had done no wrong in her willingness to be a surrogate mother for her mistress and master. She fled out of fear. She could not flee from God, however. The text says that the “angel of the Lord” found her. Hagar, carrying a child in her womb, fled Abram’s camp and traveled in the hot surrounding desert. Even there, God had arranged for a spring of water to meet her needs and He sent His angel to provide her His guidance.

There is no doubt in my mind that the angel knew exactly where Hagar had come from and where Hagar was going. Think about it. He was sent on a mission to meet up with “Hagar, Sarai’s maid” for that is what he called her. So, as a minimum, he knew where she was coming from. But still, he asks her the question he did. Sometimes before God can help us the way we need to be helped, we need to fully personally recognize and admit the situation we’re in. We need to realize what we have done or where we are in our life. We need to realize that we are beyond our own ability to resolve the situation and that the only One who could help us is God. Hagar answered the question openly and honestly.

Now here’s the most interesting part of these three verses: the Angel gave her advice that I am confident she likely did not want to hear. He told her to do two things. First, return to her mistress. That was bad enough. How could she do that knowing how her mistress felt about her? That was going to be tough. But wait, there’s more. The Angel told her to not only go back to her mistress, but to “submit herself to her mistress’s authority.” Wow. Can you believe it? No way, she would like that.

Is not that often the way God deals with us when we flee. He tells us to go back and then He tells us to submit. “God, that takes a bigger person than me!” No, if Hagar the maid can do it, you and I can do it. And besides, as Christians, we have recognized where we are in our lives. We know we cannot do it alone. God is willing to help and He is the best at what He does. So, now why do we fight that advice. How foolish can that be? Sure, it’s tough medicine but it’s the only thing that will fix the problem properly. And after all, let’s admit it, we knew all along, before God ‘found’ us in our state, that this advice in our case, as in Hagar’s, was in fact exactly what was both needed and right. Funny how things work when you’re dealing with God and His ways.

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