“Whoever sees me sees the One who sent me.”
John 12:45 NCV
In March of 2018, I was given the opportunity to speak to some ladies in my church about Hagar. I recently found these sermon notes below and built them into the lesson I want to feature here today and in the blog next week.
(Here are some sermon notes on the story of Hagar in Genesis: https://www.sermonnotebook.org/Hard_Cases/HC%2010%20-%20Genesis%2021_9-21.htm)
Before we get to the story of Hagar, we must first understand the backstory with Abraham and the promises God gave him. Let’s start by breaking down Genesis 15:1-6 NCV (God’s agreement with Abraham):
As you read through these passages, place yourself in their shoes. I believe your story is different, but the feelings within are similar. There is a truth for you here if you pray for eyes of faith to see into what you can’t see YET!
“After these things happened, the LORD spoke his word to Abram in a vision: ‘Abram, don’t be afraid. I will defend you, and I will give you a great reward.’ (Destiny.) But Abram said, ‘Lord GOD, what can you give me? I have no son, so my slave Eliezer from Damascus will get everything I own after I die.’ Abram said, ‘Look, you have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will inherit everything I have.’ (Twice he asked how? - The Voice of Doubt.) Then the LORD spoke his word to Abram: ‘He will not be the one to inherit what you have. You will have a son of your own who will inherit what you have.’ (Confirmation.) Then God led Abram outside and said, ‘Look at the sky. There are so many stars you cannot count them. Your descendants also will be too many to count.’ (Evidence of His promises – Reminder.) Abram believed the LORD. (This truth sunk into his heart. He believed it could be done.) And the LORD accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.”
The Lord’s voice came against fear and spoke in peace. He then encouraged Abraham by telling him His intent: I will be with you; I am your Defender; No matter what it looks like ahead always go back to My spoken word to you. The Lord then finished with a reward and promises.
Abraham questioned the how. The Lord gave him permission to ask questions, and He was not mad or disappointed in Abraham’s doubts of His plan. This statement above has really made a big difference in my personal walk with Jesus. He likes questions and He is not a mad or disappointed in me for asking them no matter my feelings. His grace is all over His face. I can’t see it, but I can feel it and that’s enough for me to have the faith to believe it.
The Lord directed Abraham to look up. The sky was a symbol for him to always remember the promises of God. It was then that Abraham believed. His doubts were settled. Then, the Lord accepted his faith. This is a picture of true relationship. I talked about true relationship in a recent blog post of mine. Here is a link if you have not read it before: A Statement of Friendship.
The desire of my heart is to create a space for me and Jesus to have a true relationship; for it to be evident not just within me, but for others to see Him working outside of me. At the Rock Church, my home church, our motto is, “Faith, Family, Future!” I was praying for someone and this came out of my mouth: I have faith for your family and I have a faith for your future. I hope you have a hope so anchored within you to pray the same over someone.
Now, to the story of Hagar…Let’s look at Genesis 16:1-16 NCV:
“Sarai, Abram’s wife, had no children, but she had a slave girl from Egypt named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, ‘Look, the LORD has not allowed me to have children, so have sexual relations with my slave girl. (Compromise voice of desperation - doing it in your own strength; I will take the matter into my own hands; You are not doing anything so I'm losing trust in Your promises.) If she has a child, maybe I can have my own family through her.’ (Voice of hopelessness.) Abram did what Sarai said. (He listened to her voice over the voice of the Lord.) It was after He had lived ten years in Canaan that Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Abram. (Hagar was her slave girl from Egypt.) Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress Sarai badly. (Contempt.) Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘This is your fault. I gave my slave girl to you, and when she became pregnant, she began to treat me badly. Let the LORD decide who is right—you or me.’ But Abram said to Sarai, ‘You are Hagar’s mistress. (Voice of frustration.) Do anything you want to her.’ Then Sarai was hard on Hagar, and Hagar ran away. The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the desert, by the road to Shur. The angel said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, where have you come from? Where are you going?’ (Voice of identity, Whose are you?) Hagar answered, ‘I am running away from my mistress Sarai.’ The angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Go home to your mistress and obey her.’ (The divine gave her permission to listen to the authority over her and showing her no matter what is done to you, I will bless your family and your descendants.) The angel also said, ‘I will give you so many descendants they cannot be counted.’ The angel added, ‘You are now pregnant, and you will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your cries. (Identity was spoken, a name was given, and a purpose was given.) Ishmael will be like a wild donkey. He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. He will attack all his brothers.’ The slave girl gave a name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are “God who sees me,”’ because she said to herself, ‘Have I really seen God who sees me?’ So the well there, between Kadesh and Bered, was called Beer Lahai Roi (the well of the living One who sees me). (That day she realized her life mattered and she was not alone.) Hagar gave birth to a son for Abram, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.”
That day, Hagar realized her life mattered and she was not alone. This speaks to me sooo much. On our Sending and Mending website, our mission statement is that we will provide everyday reminders that you are loved and never alone. These reminders can look like a lot of different things, and many items will be added to this site over time to meet this need in small tangible ways.
I hope you will come back next week for part 2. Until then, stay cheery, smile dearly, and love on someone through different methods in this social distance epidemic.