Life is pretty tough for Hagar, and far from the bed of roses she thought it would be when she left her life as a princess to join Abraham and Sarah’s household. Naomi last week shared the awful situation she found herself and her son in, dying of thirst in the desert (check our her post here.). At that moment she had given up, she had wandered away from her dying son and she was sobbing. Gone were the thoughts of a God who saw her, gone was the excitement of following a God who protected and blessed those He loved, and gone was any trust or hope that He would intervene now. Then enter our verse:
“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid: God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Genesis 21:17
Crying reaches God
The first thing I noticed about this verse was that the crying reaches God. God is not so distant that He can’t hear us or be affected by our heartbreak. For me, that is an enormous comfort, as it means I never have to cry alone, but God is always listening and there with me in the pain.
But interestingly its not Hagar’s crying that is noted, its Ishmael’s. God heard the boy. We are not told why the boys cries are heard and not Hagar’s. I don’t really want to speculate. But God had made a covenant with Hagar that this boy would become a great nation too, and when He hears Ishmael crying He knows He has to act to ensure His promise would be upheld.
God’s first reaction is to comfort
Now in a human sense we know that the most important thing that this sorry pair need when in the desert is probably water. Words surely will make no difference to the situation, but rather than just instantly put a fountain in front of them, the angel of God speaks to Hagar’s spirit first. His words are “What is the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid.” Words of comfort and hope. This reminds me so much of the story of the paralysed man who was dropped through the roof down to Jesus. Jesus first words were “Your sins are forgiven” rather than “get up and walk”. To God the spirit is far more valuable than the physical body, and so that is what He deals with first. We do then see in verse 19 of this chapter that God provides water for them so they can survive. But that comes second.
What things are we looking for a physical answer to at the moment, and instead God is seeking to comfort and sort out our spirits first? Maybe by just surrendering to His comfort you might find the other issues are then sorted out. If not, then you haven’t lost! You’ve gained the best thing which is a spirit at peace.
What have we learnt from Hagar?
I would love to know how Hagar has inspired and challenged you. I personally was moved by her passionate desire to know the living God that she would leave a life of luxury to follow Him. I have been challenged by her willingness to step up and serve in ways that go above and beyond by having a child. I have seen bits of me in her doubting and fears as she runs away and wanders in the desert. But most of all I have seen how God sees and hears us, no matter how insignificant or unwanted we might think we are.
Our next biblical woman that we will be stepping into the shoes of is Rebekah! We will be taking a whistle stop tour through her story over 4 weeks so if you have time why not read Genesis 24 through to 28 to find out more about her. Naomi will be leading our discussion over in the Facebook Group as we look at this verse:
“After she had given him a drink, she said “I’ll draw water for you camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” Genesis 24:19
If you would like to join us in learning more about Rebekah and have access to FREE resources such as phone lock screens, workbooks and more, then do join our Mummy Meditations community using the form below: