Monday, July 30, 2012

Ishmael: God Hears

Recently as I was reading in the Bible, the story of Hagar reminded me of a beautiful truth. It is a truth that I pray will encourage you as it did me. Reading in Genesis 16 verses 1-6 we see a difficult situation that had no easy solution. I have read and studied the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar before, as I am sure you have as well. However, this time, I was smitten with the awareness that Hagar's very awkward, uncomfortable, and unchangeable situation was largely a direct result of the decisions of others. Often times we too, find ourselves dealing with the results of decisions that others have made.

If we read further in Genesis 16 verses 7-12 we see an amazing happening. A lonely, distraught woman finds herself destitute, pregnant, and in desperate need of help. In her very moment of need God makes Himself known in a very real way to her. Can you imagine her surprise, when God Almighty seeks to comfort and instruct her in what she ought to do next? After getting over her shock of talking with the Angel of the Lord, I am sure she took time to process what she had been instructed to do. As we read, we understand, God did not give her an easy way out. God's dictates to her were hard. They called on Hagar to humble herself and return unto Sarai and Abram. She was told to submit herself to Sarai and with that obedience, God would provide a miraculous blessing.

If we continue reading, we see in Genesis 16 verses 13-16 that Hagar did indeed obey. She submitted first to the Lord's will, then to Sarai's. The lessons we can learn from this passage are manifold; however, I would like to draw your attention just to two.

I love how we see God meet her where she was in her hour of need. So many times God is faithful to do the very same thing for us! One of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:1 reminds us of this fact. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." That is a verse to cling to in our very own "wilderness moments."

Also, when I think of what the Lord required of Hagar, I am struck with the fact that it was not easy. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions that she felt as she listened to God's command. Perhaps for me, the reminder is this, sometimes God's solution to my problems will not always be the easy thing. At times, I may be required to really exercise character, obedience, faith, and self-control to do as the Lord wills. God's blessings always follow obedience.

At the end of chapter 16 in Genesis we see that Hagar again obeys the Lord. She names her son Ishmael, meaning God hears. I am so thankful that our God hears!!!

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