Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A lesson to learn from Hagar

Last night we were blessed to have Dr. Dan Anderson and his wife Rosalie over for dinner and later on that evening Ms. Rosalie was able to share with the staff wives in a short devo.
She started off by saying, I'm going to share about a lady most of us know little about, we've heard the story but do we really know the repercussions of her life, what God taught her and what she really went through. The Life of Hagar. I really wish I was able to record this Bible study I was GREATLY encouraged!! Let's see if I can do Rosalie justice on what she shared. I really want to share with you what I learned and encourage you as well!
"Who Sees Me and Why Do I Care?"
We immediately are aware of what Hagar's name means, "dragged away", "desolate one." Can you imagine being called "dragged away" your whole life? We look at Genesis 12 when Abraham and Sarah leave Canaan because of a famine in search of food and land in Egypt. we see them lie to save Abram's life and we know Sarah was beautiful and greatly desired. Pharaoh wanted her and gave Abram riches and wealth for Sarah, we also know a great plague came upon Pharaoh's house and the deception was revealed. Sarah returned to Abram taking her slave with her;Hagar (we know Hagar was Sarah's Egyptian handmaid) Gen 16:1. So Hagar's name is first mentioned, "dragged away" was just that dragged away from her home and family in Egypt to serve Sarah.
For 10 years Hagar is not mentioned she is serving Sarah, fulfilling her every last beckon call and desire. Hagar was unseen, unheard of, a slave, not noticed. Many times we are frustrated at being unseen, not thanked, never heard of. Have you ever joined your husband in ministry to a conference or on a trip and hear, "I've never seen you" ", oh, your his wife" "have we ever met before, I've known your husband for years." Unseen, unknown, possibly unheard of. We are at home keeping the house and family running. The other end sometimes we don't want to be seen, or heard of because it would mean more work, more time away from family, more obligations and responsibilities.
But Hagar was unseen until....Sarah offers her to her husband!! Sarah had been barren for 90 years!! 90 years! maybe she offered Hagar b/c she was SURE that Abraham was the "barren" one unable to provide children and it would amount to nothing proving this theory. Who knows the reason why, but Hagar goes from slave status to 2nd wife status in the matter of moments and immediately becomes pregnant. Imagine Sarah at the news of that!!! All of a sudden Hagar is noticed! really noticed. As women we can make or break a ministry by our desire to be noticed and be happy. We stir up discontentment we are ungrateful and think of ourselves first and have a "woe is me" attitude. This discontentment can alter a ministry, cause our husband to leave the ministry and cause tension among other colleagues in the ministry. Without even saying anything our facial expressions and our eyes speak volumes and speak the truth. "Your eyes are the window to your soul." "out of the heart the mouth speaks."
Immediately there is discontentment and strife between Sarah and Hagar, Hagar was valued and noticed and treated Sarah with contempt (disrespect) Sarah got pushed to the back burner for a brief moment and ran to Abraham to complain, Abraham offered no help or wisdom and Sarah sought revenge against Hagar. Gen. 16:4-6. She treated her so roughly that Hagar ran away! Often when things get rough we run away. Often we "seek revenge" as women. Maybe it's ignoring the other women, being unkind to her family, arguing, gossiping, disrespecting. We use the art of "getting even" when we are wronged. Sarah lashed out, "got even" and pushed Hagar away. Hagar ran away, the Lord found her and told her to return! How often do we turn our backs, run away and have to return to the situation and continue on when we should have stayed and finished in the first place which would have been easier! Hagar saw God, vs.13, God spoke to her, told her she would bare a son that would be the father of "more descendants than you can count" his name will be Ishmael which means, "God hears." In the matter of moments Hagar went from "dragged away" "desolate" to "God hears". God would give her a son and she would have a daily reminder through the rest of her life that God hears her. She returned knowing God would always hear her.
Ismael was born, and as he grew up Hagar was reminded daily, God hears me and that her son would give her more descendants than she could count. I can only imagine her attitude towards Sarah about this. I wondered if she flaunted this in Sarah's face. Years pass and we do not hear of Hagar for a few chapters..we do not know what is going on, on a day-to-day basis. We see God come to Abraham and Sarah promising them a son in their old age, Isaac is born and in Genesis 21 we see Hagar mentioned for the last time.
For years Hagar is unseen and unheard of again. But Hagar was raising her son and we see the repercussions of her attitude towards Sarah without it being spelled out for us. Who see us and why do we care?? our kids see us, our co-workers see us, the interns, students, neighbors, they see us, study us, watch us and learn from us. Ishmael was watching his mom, saw the contempt and mirrored her actions to a tee. We see Sarah get pregnant give birth to a son, and can only imagine how the tables turned in that household. Sarah after 90+ years gave birth to a son!! Genesis 21 begins with Isaac's birth and vs. 8 begins our last little tidbit of Hagar's story. Isaac was to be weaned so maybe about 2-3 years old, a HUGE celebration was going on for Isaac a feast was given and as Sarah looks out on her guests she notices Ishmael making fun of Isaac and gets livid! She demands Abraham to cast out "that slave and her son" he was not to benefit from Abraham's inheritance.
You know the saying, "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". Hagar over the years must have held onto that contempt for Sarah, her son watched, learned and copied his mother's actions. He responded the way his mommy had for years and reaped the consequences of his actions harshly. Not only was he cast out but his mom as well, Sarah knew Ishmael learned this attitude from his mommy. Who sees me and Why Do I Care? Sarah saw Hagar for years, saw Ishmael in his moment of truth, and both were cast out into the wilderness. Hagar planted the seed of contempt over Ishmael's 16 years, it grew and came back to bite her. As Hagar was sent away I wonder what was going through her head, regret at her actions? relief being freed of her duties? failure on how she raise her son? we don't know...
We do know as mom's our kids are a mirror reflection of us and the repercussions of our actions now will haunt or bless us for the rest of our lives. They will rise up and bless us or have contempt towards us. Whatever we do now will reflect in our children 10 fold. Our bad attitude at our husband's boss for making him work late, our gossip about other women, complaining about being discontent, being wronged the list is endless, it will mold our children as they grow up by our words, facial expressions, actions and eyes.
We need to strive to remember we are being watched all the time and act and react right and godly the first time.
When we look back on this story we can ask ourselves many questions about our lives in ministry.
Are we surviving or thriving? Are we thankful and grateful or unthankful?
Are we fleeing or flourishing? Are we a good or bad example?
Do we see God as punishing us or blessing us?

We may not understand our situations but we also do not know the half of it, we do not know what God has in store for our future, or for our kids futures, we do not always know what we need to learn, or what we are currently being tested on, we need to focus on the now, flourish where God has placed us, and do it right the first time.

Who Sees You and Why Should You Care?

1 comment:

jennifer said...

Wow this was a good lesson! You did great remembering and retelling. I don't think it could have been a better lesson! I want to share this with some of my friends.
Thanks Tabs